What to Know About Asphalt Recycling

September 25, 2019

Asphalt isn’t just used for paving roads—it’s also used for tennis courts, fish hatcheries, roofing shingles and many other types of projects. This is because asphalt is one of the most recycled materials in the nation. According to details from the Federal Highway Administration, about 81 percent of asphalt that gets removed from the roadways each year gets recycled and repurposed for other projects, largely due to the ease with which it is possible to turn asphalt back into the aggregate used for the creation of new asphalt materials.

To understand how asphalt gets recycled, you first need to know exactly what asphalt is. Here’s some information from an asphalt contractor in Montgomery County, MD.

How is asphalt made?

Asphalt is created through the combination of an aggregate (like rock, sand or stone) with a binding material. The aggregate usually comes from leftover crude oil—materials that get left behind during the refining process. However, there are ways the aggregate can be made from plant material. It can also be combined with recycled tires to make a rubberized form of asphalt.

Asphalt has been used in various forms for thousands of years. The ancient Mesopotamians, for example, used a form of asphalt to seal off baths and aqueducts, as well as ships and water tanks. The ancient Babylonians began using it in the practice of paving roadways, and that process was refined in Scotland in the 1800s. After the experimentation with asphalt in Scotland, the popularity of the material began to soar in Europe in an increasingly industrialized world.

Today you’ll find asphalt used for roads, driveways, airport runways, playgrounds, tennis courts, race tracks and so much more, not to mention other items like roofing shingles.

Recycling asphalt

Recycling asphalt is highly beneficial because of its environmental friendliness. Because it is made with materials that are byproducts of the oil refining process, recycling that asphalt means getting more out of the oil, reducing the emissions that have to be released to create it. Plus, recycling asphalt simply saves money.

How exactly is it done? Generally you can work with the contractors who are in charge of your project to ensure the materials that get taken from it get sent elsewhere to be recycled. Contractors will have the best access to construction and demolition recycling facilities, so it’s better to rely on them than to try to take all the materials to a recycling facility yourself. Otherwise, if you have been taking on your own project, you can check for where there is an asphalt recycling facility in your area.

Some such facilities will only accept certain types of asphalt. They might, for example, only take asphalt paving materials and not asphalt shingles. Make sure you check with the facility before choosing to recycle with them.

For more information about the asphalt recycling process and its benefits, or to meet with an asphalt contractor in Montgomery County, MD, we encourage you to reach out to the team at Maryland Asphalt LLC today.

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