How to Recycle Used Asphalt Shingles

Recycle asphalt shingles

Did you know you can recycle your old asphalt shingles?

Many homeowners are becoming more earth-conscious these days and more recycling savvy. It can be distressing to see all that waste from a roof tear-off in a big dumpster to a homeowner who pictures these things ending up buried with other trash for hundreds of years.

However, there are other options now. Many types of asphalt shingles can be recycled. It takes asphalt 400 years to decompose in a landfill. If the asphalt can be reused, that’s far preferable.

New asphalt pavementThanks to their asphalt content, your shingles can be used in other products, like asphalt pavement for roads. Your roof could become a new 200 foot section of highway.

The process involves grinding up shingles that get added to pavement. This improves the quality of newly-made pavement.

Other avenues are being explored. They include things like using the material as an input to make roofing products or road maintenance products or even to produce energy.

How to Recycle Asphalt Shingles

The good news is that if you live in one of the major city areas of the United States, shingle recycling will most likely be available.

You can check online at and or you can call 1-800-CLEANUP. Not every shingle recycling location is listed on these websites.

You can also email one of these places if you aren’t having much luck finding a recycling facility. Don’t give up after one search. Chances are you can find a solution.

Once you have found a facility, call ahead to make sure you find out what that recycler allows, in terms of material separation. Each recycler has specific rules regarding separation of shingles from other materials. In addition, nails do not have to be pulled out. They are separated from shingles by a powerful magnet before the shingles are ground up and they get recycled too.

In some cases, recycling is free but it always costs less than putting them in a landfill. This is especially true if you separate all the materials correctly before sending them to the recycler.

If You Have To Throw Them Away

Some shingles don’t meet the requirements needed to be recycled for other purposes. If your shingles don’t meet the guidelines required by your local recycling facility, you will need to arrange for them to be disposed of properly.

Sometimes asphalt shingles contain harmful substances like asbestos. In that case, special precautions need to be taken and they have to be handled by proper waste control authorities. Your roofing company should be trained and know what to look for. If they see it, they will have to stop to properly remediate and dispose of anything containing asbestos.


Asphalt can be reused for many useful and important things. If you desire a more earth-friendly roof tear-off and replacement, recycling is the way to go. Start looking around for local recycling facilities as you look for contractors and calculate costs. That way you can total up the cost of recycling right along with the cost of your new roof.

If you have requirements for the recycling facility, you can easily add them to your conversation with your contractor. At the end of the day, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t add that huge pile to a landfill.

Do you live in Southeast Michigan and have questions about a new roof? We would be honored to help.

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