Recycled Asphalt Tear Off Shingles (RAS)

EnergySmart contractors are being encouraged to recycle any tear-off shingle waste from local projects...


Unfortunately, because of increased recycling volume of shingles, lack of space and limited market demand for RAS, Asphalt Specialties has closed down their recycling operations in Erie and at all their other Denver Metro locations as of 5/28/11, until further notice.

At this time, only Brannan Sand and Gravel, at 61st and Pecos, and Owens-Corning/Heritage Environmental at 64th and Pecos, both in Denver, are receiving tear off shingles for recycling.

New Opportunities for the Use and Promotion of RAS

Though Boulder County tear off shingle recycling operations are now largely curtailed by the shutdown of Asphalt Specialties local collection point, there are other encouraging developments for the eventual end use of RAS in large scale paving projects:

*In March of 2011 The Colorado Department of Transportation approved a revision of Section 401, Reclaimed Asphalt Shingles, which modifies CDOTs Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction (in practical terms this means 10,000 to 20,000 tons of RAS may be used in CDOT approved paving projects this year).

*Asphalt Specialties has been awarded a contract to pave portions of State Highway 36 using a recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) and RAS mix design (the RAS portion shall be manufacturer scrap shingle stock in lieu of tear off shingles). More detail is provided below.

* A formal discussion with Lisa Friend and Jeff Callahan of Boulder County Resource Conservation Division and other recycling contractors occurred in April of 2011. This discussion helped with the gathering of initial information for a proposed feasibility study for the opening of a county Construction and Demolition Waste recycling facility which will include RAS and other construction material.

* The Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Action Council brought a group of 40 – 50 members of their business community and local government to Boulder County in April with an aim to learn more about our sustainability practices in the public, private and non-profit sectors. This exchange brought about productive dialogue with our Colorado Springs counter parts and how best practices in Boulder County may be useful models for our neighbors to the south.

Our English & Spanish Videos Help Your Team Learn How To:

*Recycle Asphalt Tear Off Shingles for Road Paving
*Create Physical and Intellectual Infrastructure for a Roof Recycling Enterprise
*Achieve Regulatory Compliance

Your Company Can Benefit From:

*Cost Savings
*Green Marketing Opportunity
*Creating a Profitable Recycling Enterprise
*GHG Reduction, Landfill Diversion
*The Latest Testing and Delivery Protocol

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How Recycling Tear off Shingles (RAS) Will Lead to Recycling Single ply, BUR and Modified Bitumen

The fairly new and emerging story of recycling asphalt tear shingles (RAS) is one of roofers and others rising to the level of expectations in a specific municipal construction culture. How does this come about? Here is RoofCycle’s short story:
After joining the Boulder Green Building Guild in 2004 I instantly recognized the dominant issue in the residential roofing industry as diverting the huge volume of asphalt tear off shingles from local landfills and finding an end use for this material.
Subsequently, Roofs to Roads Colorado was created with the help of our associates and state and county grant funding. This launch, in 2009, resulted in roofer trainings for proper recycling protocol and shingle delivery to qualified collection points and advisory relationships with the Colorado Department of Transportation, local HMA contractors, municipalities and others.
Shortly after its start in 2009, Roofs to Roads Colorado found allies and like minded roofing contractors in Brickey Construction, Colorado Exteriors, Academy Roofing and others and through this partnership we were able to create an important collection point and training center through Brannan Sand and Gravel in the north Denver metro area.
Well over 100 roofers and haulers are now recycling RAS in the Denver area and this not only benefits their bottom line as recycling costs ½ as much as landfill tipping fees but we are seeing significant landfill diversion and the resulting CO2 reduction when RAS replaces a portion of the virgin binder in the pavement mix. And, roofers engaged in the ‘Best Practice’ of recycling are more often preferred by their customers who want responsible stewardship in their roofing contractors.
Asphalt tear off shingles are the material ‘most likely to be used in recycling’ at this point. Clearly, its value as an oil based product in paving mix designs and the huge volume available make it one of the darlings of the C and D waste recycling industry.
However, there is a fledgling market developing for commercial/industrial roofing materials such as modified bitumen, EPDM, TPO, PVC, tar and gravel and others. As interest and resources have been invested over the last decade for the recycling of asphalt tear off shingles, a momentum for other Best Roofing Practice (BRP) and sustainability has been created and subsequently the basic infrastructure is being developed to recycle these other commercial roofing products.
 National Foam Inc. (NFI) has recently developed a basic recycling program to collect EPDM and other single ply membranes as well as roof insulation from commercial roof demolitions. This recycling effort is one of the first of its type in North America and because of the large volume of commercial roofing C and D waste on this continent  there is much opportunity and need for the creation of greater infrastructure to process these materials as this will be a ‘game changer’ for long term sustainability in the commercial roofing industry.
To that end, RoofCycle is partnering with associates in Denver, Colorado to develop a drop off center for commercial roofing materials. At this time the start up for this pilot collection center is dependent on projected state grant funding and other sources to be determined.
Recently, the City of Denver partnered with NFI for the recycling of ballasted EPDM on several City specific projects which had LEED requirements for recycling such material.
 We believe that the recycling of commercial roofing materials, as is evident in the tear shingle recycling initiative, will provide significant cost savings for roofing contractors as they recycle instead of dumping this material. And we will see reduced landfill use and the corresponding reduction in GHGs as these materials are used instead of virgin materials by end users in roof material manufacturing and other industries.
Also, importantly, engagement with local municipalities is a key component in the creation of any roofing material recycling program and the implementation of the other concepts of Best Roofing Practice (BRP). A case in point is the RoofCycle/3R Roofing collaboration with the Boulder County Build Smart Program and the grant support of Boulder County Resource Conservation Division:
To help Boulder County achieve its goals in the Zero Waste Action Plan, in working with Build Smart, RoofCycle has conducted trainings for recycling tear off shingles and BRP at the Boulder County offices over the past year. These trainings are important for creating the cultural shift in handling C and D waste and approaches to BRP that is needed for the ambitious Zero Waste and Co2 reduction goals of Boulder County. 
Well, maybe that was not as short a story as I intended but there are many factors to consider in the newly emerging Best Roofing Practice.
In closing, I encourage you to take a look at Roofpoint: This is a guideline created by the Center for Environmentally Innovative Roofing (CEIR) which is an associate arm of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA).
Roofpoint is a similar approach to Leadership in Environmental and Energy Efficient Design (LEED) as it specifically applies to commercial and residential roofing. These guidelines provide numerous specific approaches to sustainable Best Roofing Practice (BRP): among them is the use of reflective roof membranes and coatings (Energy Star and Cool Roof products) and recycling of demolition materials. Look for CEIR to roll out their new guidelines at the upcoming International Roofing Expo in Las Vegas, February 16-18, 2011.
Next RoofCycle blog: Why Coming Federal DOE Grants for Energy Efficiency Upgrades Need Best Roofing Practice (BRP) Guidelines


  1. This sounds like the future. Now you need to focus on making it economically enticing

  2. Very nice blog. Definitely this technique will be more effective for Colorado springs roofing companies in their roofing process.

  3. Very nice initiative to recycle the asphalt shingles and even EPDM, traditionally not the best candidates, it seems we are on right path towards a greener future.