Should I Recycle My Old Roof?

April 21, 2015

Recycling roof tear-off has become a hot topic recently and with RCI Inc. estimating more than 3 billion square feet of commercial reroofing each year, it’s no mystery why. As concerns about the vast amount of landfill waste generated during construction projects mount, the industry has responded.

We sat down with Todd Kaska, Senior Vice President Technical Services, D. C. Taylor Co., Atlanta, GA, to discuss construction and demolition waste management on reroofing projects.

Why would a company want to recycle their old roof?
Many companies have sustainability goals aimed at recycling, reducing their carbon footprint, and eliminating waste to the landfill. They want to be good stewards of the environment. We can estimate the equivalent amount of CO2 that customers will save using a conversion calculator.

Can the entire roof system be recycled?
Not always. Built-up roofs and some types of insulation cannot be recycled. Most other products can be, though, including metal, single-ply membrane, foam insulations, aggregate, and concrete. Beyond just demolition waste, a significant portion of the packaging for new materials brought to the site (i.e. pallets, plastic wraps, pails, and cardboard) can be recycled. An experienced contractor will help evaluate materials and estimate quantities for reclamation.

Can recycling be done on every roofing project?
Yes. The first thing that needs to be done is an evaluation of the waste streams of existing roof system materials that will be removed and the packaging that will be coming to the site. An experienced roofing contractor will then identify resources for recycling, repurposing, or reuse. All projects have some percentage that can be diverted from the landfill.

Is there an added cost to recycle an old roof system?
It can be a net zero proposition, however, additional costs may result from the increased labor required to sort materials or higher hauling fees if the roofing project is at a facility in a remote location. Many times though, what the contractor would pay for landfill disposal is the same as the cost to recycle.

Contact us today for more information on our Construction & Demolition (C&D) Waste Management Planning capabilities.