Asphalt may be made of petroleum, but it is actually a green choice when it comes to paving. This is because asphalt can easily be recycled and reused.

Benefits of Recycling

Old asphalt can take up a lot of space in a landfill. Since asphalt is a petroleum product, that is a lot of oil going to waste, and oil is a finite resource. Drilling for oil and mining the mineral components of asphalt can be tough on the environment, so recycling the asphalt already in circulation can reduce environmental harm in the long run.

There are also economic benefits to asphalt recycling. There is less cost for disposal when the components can be reused, for example. Further, recycled asphalt simply costs less than virgin materials, which can bring down the cost of both private and municipal construction projects. Asphalt is almost infinitely recyclable, so the savings over decades can be quite substantial.

Recycling Possibilities

You may be curious as to what types of asphalt are recyclable. The answer is simple — almost all asphalt can be recycled. Most commonly recycled, perhaps, is asphalt used for paving things like roads and driveways. The full chunks can be taken and recycled into new asphalt for a road or other uses.

Other than roads and paving, asphalt is also used extensively in roofing, either as shingles or asphalt flat roofs. Both of these roofing materials are also recyclable. Shingles aren't recycled in quite the same way as asphalt paving or flat roof materials. The shingles usually contain other components, so instead, they are used to create surface aggregate to mix into roadway asphalt or for use as temporary surfacing material.

Types of Recycling

Asphalt is either recycled onsite or it is sent off for industrial-scale recycling. Onsite methods pulverize the material in an asphalt recycling machine. This pulverized asphalt is then used as the base material for the new paving project. You may see this method being used on both large road repaving projects as well as for smaller home projects, such as a new driveway installation.

Industrial-scale recycling consists of milling the asphalt back down to fine particles. It is then heated to its fluid stage for use in paving. It can be used as-is or it may be mixed with gravel or virgin asphalt before installed into its final form.

Contact an asphalt pavement recycler to learn more about the recycling programs they offer.