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Did You Know Asphalt Is Recyclable?

11/1/2019
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Asphalt is sure to provide drivers with the smoothest ride in comparison to any other road surface engineered today. Progressively, the asphalt pavement industry has been constantly creating ways to be more environmentally conscious. This stems from repurposing old asphalt pavements and reconfiguring their parts to be optimized in newly developed pavement designs. From the incorporation of recycled materials, to the adoption of energy-saving warm-mix asphalt technologies, asphalt pavement is one of the most time-and-cost-efficient means to a safer, smoother roadway

Asphalt is created by combining a bitumen (a binding material) with an aggregate (rocks, stone, or sand). There are many things that these ingredients can be combined with to make different kinds of asphalt. For instance, if you combine the aggregate with recycled tires, it will create a rubberized asphalt. They are combined with extremely high heat in order to melt the elements down. These materials are easy to recycle because they can be melted down and remixed. As a matter of fact, asphalt is the most recycled material in the United States because it is made of 100% recyclable materials.

In fact, by 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Highway Administration recognized asphalt pavement as the leading recycled product in America. Today, asphalt continues to be repurposed at a greater rate than any other recyclable product in America. It is common to have many different kinds of waste material incorporated into asphalt pavement. For instance, materials like rubber, glass, certain soils, charcoals, and even manure are used; though, the waste materials most incorporated are reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and recycled asphalt shingles (RAS). Since asphalt is one of the most recycled products, it saves more than 60 million cubic yards of waste space each year.

RAP can be recycled into a premium material that outlasts any kind of alternative made from all-virgin materials. Moreover, asphalt pavement can be used again and again as worn asphalt pavement can be dug up and made into new material. Asphalt binder – essentially a fastener of the asphalt into pavement – retains its ability to function as glue or cement, so that it is reused for its original purpose. Earth-bound material – such as rock, gravel, and sand – used in the original pavement are also conserved. The older the asphalt pavement is, the better. The RAP of the original pavement can be repurposed and laid right back down onto the pavement, saving time and money from new construction.

Recycling is always a good habit to get involved in. In 2002, the Federal Highway Administration created a policy stating that asphalt will be recycled and reused any time it is possible. It has made a pretty big impact on the environment, considering nearly 65 million tons of asphalt are produced every single year. Each time asphalt is recycled it requires fewer materials to make it useable for a new project. Using old materials also means that less asphalt will end up in landfills all over the world.

As if creating a better environment wasn’t enough of a reason, it also costs less to use recycled asphalt. The ingredients that asphalt is made with can be quite pricey. Recycling and reusing the materials that already exist will significantly decrease the cost of your current project. Some worry whether recycled asphalt has the same integrity as new asphalt, but there is no need to worry over this – it holds the same quality! It has simply just been melted back down to make it a solid new piece again. What’s more is that asphalt pavement recycling saves the American taxpayer approximately $2.5 billion each year.

Asphalt is the best option for many different types of pavement projects. Give Total Asphalt a call today at (586) 221-3293 to discuss the asphalt needs for your project!

 

Source: Recycling (National Asphalt Pavement Association)