These sources includes sugar, molasses and rice, corn and potato starches, natural tree and gum resins, natural latex rubber and vegetable oils, lignin, cellulose, palm oil waste, coconut waste, peanut oil waste, canola oil waste, potato starch, dried sewerage effluent and so on. Bitumen can also be made from waste vacuum tower bottoms produced in the process of cleaning used motor oils, which are normally burned or dumped into land fills.
Non-petroleum based bitumen binders can be colored, which can reduce the temperatures of road surfaces and reduce the Urban heat islands.
For millions of people living in and around cities, heat islands are of growing concern. This phenomenon describes urban and suburban temperatures that are 2 to 10°F (1 to 6°C) hotter than nearby rural areas. Elevated temperatures can impact communities by increasing peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution levels, and heat-related illness and mortality. Fortunately, there are common-sense measures that communities can take to reduce the negative effects of heat islands, such as replacing conventional black asphalt road surfaces with the new pigmentable bitumen that gives lighter colors.
Asphalt made with vegetable oil based binders was patented by Colas SA in France in 2004.
A number of homeowners seeking an environmentally-friendly alternative to asphalt for paving have experimented with waste vegetable oil as a binder for driveways and parking areas in single-family applications. The earliest known test occurred in 2002 in Ohio, where the homeowner combined waste vegetable oil with dry aggregate to create a low-cost and non-polluting paving material for his 200-foot driveway. After five years, he reports the driveway is performing as well or better than petroleum-based materials.
Shell Oil Company paved two public roads in Norway in 2007 with vegetable-oil-based asphalt. Results of this study are still premature.