An estimated 9 million pounds of residential roofing materials go into Calgary landfills each and every year. Why, in such a green oriented time, does this go un-noticed? And why aren’t these materials recycled?
Thanks to some of Calgary’s innovative local businesses, such as Eccopave, roofing companies can recycle 99% of all roofing materials right here, right now, today. And in many cases the recycle fee’s are exactly the same as the landfill dump fees. Asphalt shingles can be melted down and re-used in road construction. Tar paper can be melted down and used in the same way. Roofing metals can be melted down using the same process as old automobiles from the wreckers. Wooden shakes from roof systems can be mulched up and re-used in a variety of different products from insulation boards to animal bedding at the farm.
The fact is, there’s no good reason why roofing companies don’t recycle their waste. They just don’t. But it’s starting to catch on. It’s a slow process, but someday, trillions of pounds of roofing materials across Canada will be recycled and brought back to market instead of tossed away, covered and wasted. The buzz of “going green” is in the air, in the papers and on the TV. One step at a time roofing companies will convert to green processes along with the rest of the trades.
The good news is, as with everything, the power of change lies with individuals. The choice to allow change lies with the consumer, with the roofing contractor, with all who have a stake in the roof replacement project. As a consumer, such as a home owner ready to replace a roof, one can request for the old roofing materials to be recycled. Doing so significantly helps the process of converting ‘old school’ roofers into new age recyclers. Remember, recycling old roofing materials is usually free, and in the most complicated situations costing around an extra $500 bucks on the averaged sized roof.
Every year the equivalent of more than 2,000 trees can be saved simply by recycling wood roof shakes from residential roofs in Calgary. Thousands of barrels of oil can be re-used instead of pumped from the ground. And the equivalent weight of 20 automobiles can be re-used from recycling roofing metals. All this simply from Calgary’s building materials which are currently being tossed away.
Some roofing products incorporate recycled materials. Innovative concepts such as rubber roofing use old tires moulded into roofing tiles use up to %80 of recycled content. Recycled plastics are re-shaped into roofing products nearly identical to wood shakes, using up to 75% of recycled materials and lasting twice as long as a wood roof. And the new Green Roof concept uses real dirt and vegetation to cover a roof top.
Combined with new methods of recycling old roof systems, it’s possible for today’s residential roofs to be an estimated 95% environmentally friendly. The means are here, the pressure is on, and the choice is left to the home owner.