How Do You Recycle Asphalt Paving?


Quick Answer

Recycle asphalt paving by taking used materials to a reclamation plant instead of a landfill. At the plant, the recycler places the used asphalt chunks in a large tumbler and heats them to form new asphalt for use on roadways. Asphalt has been the leading material recycled in the United States since 1993, and over 99 percent of asphalt is recycled.

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Reclamation plants usually charge a fee for dumping used materials; however, it is less than the cost of taking it to a landfill. Some of these plants also take other types of materials for use in manufacturing new paving asphalt. Examples include used shingles and rubble from concrete destruction. These heavy materials do not decompose in landfills, and without this type of recycling it is sometimes difficult to find a place for dumping. Some large paving companies operate their own recycling plants, which eliminates most of their needs for disposal fees and increases their profits.

Recycling asphalt benefits the environment by keeping 75 million tons of the material out of landfills, as of 2015. It simultaneously reduces quarrying, mining and oil consumption. Production of recycled asphalt also requires less energy consumption than the production of virgin materials. The life expectancy of the recycled materials is the same as with virgin materials, and it is highly dependent on proper preparation of the road and application of the material.

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