When the word “asphalt” comes to mind, many people think of roads, parking lots and sidewalks. Sustainability is not something commonly associated with this construction material. However, as of December 2021, asphalt was the most recycled material on Earth. Asphalt has the potential to be recycled into the items mentioned above but also for roof shingles as well as for waterproof sources.
Asphalt, also known as bitumen, is refined, solid-state petroleum made from distilling crude oil. It is valued for its binding capabilities, structural strength as well as its resistance to drastic temperatures. Asphalt is a 100% renewable construction resource and its life cycle is circular. Once asphalt has reached the end of its lids, it is picked up by a recycling company where it is subject to an extraction process. The process removes the usable asphalt from extraneous waste and the recovered materials are resold to a variety of crews for paving, shingling, waterproofing and more.
The benefits of asphalt recycling are abundant. Close to 99% of all asphalt pavement is recovered every year, protecting people, property and our planet. Recycled asphalt saves American taxpayers more than 1.8 billion dollars. In addition, recycling this material reduces our country’s dependence on foregin oil sources by up to 7.86 million barrels per day. Learn more about the economy of asphalt and its sustainable capabilities in the infographic below.