Asphalt for Recycling and Energy Reduction

Asphalt pavements are America’s most recycled product. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Highway Administration, about 80 million tons of asphalt pavement is reclaimed each year, and nearly 100 percent of that total is recycled.

 

Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) can be recycled into pavement that is as high, or even higher, in quality as pavements made of all-virgin materials. And, the same material can be recycled again and again; it never loses its value. The asphalt cement — the glue that holds the pavement together — retains its ability to function as glue or cement, so that it is reused for its original purpose. The aggregates (rocks, sand, and gravel) in the original pavement are also conserved. Many pavements that are more than 20 years old are actually worth more than they were when originally constructed.

 

It is estimated that recycling of asphalt pavements saves the American taxpayer more than $2.5 billion per year. It also saves thousands of acre-feet of landfill space each year.

 

Materials from other industries are routinely recycled into asphalt pavements instead of going into landfills. Some of the most common are rubber from used tires, asphalt roofing shingles, and steel and blast furnace slags.

 

Asphalt plants also recycle the fine mineral particles that are generated in the process of producing asphalt pavement material. This routine recycling of co-generated material helps to conserve natural resources.