It’s never the first to come to mind, but asphalt is actually the most recycled material in America. Aluminum cans, glass & plastic bottles, and newspapers are recycled for a combined weight of 58.5 million tons each year. In comparison, 89.2 million tons of asphalt are recycled annually. And unlike glass or plastic which are often turned into a completely different product that cannot be recycled again – 93% of recycled asphalt is put back to use in new pavement, and the remaining 7% is used to make unbound aggregate bases for other civil engineering projects.
There are two main recycled products, recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) and recycled asphalt shingles (RAS). Commonly, RAP is milled up from old roads or other paved areas that are being replaced and brought to production facilities to be recycled and reused. As for RAS, when someone gets a new roof the asphalt industry doesn’t dispose of that material into a landfill – instead those shingles are processed and transformed into usable asphalt. In some circumstances even recycled tires and recycled plastic may be used as well.
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