SECOND LIFE FOR SHINGLES: A new pavement program will save significant space in our landfills. (Photo: John-Morgan/Flickr)
In conjunction with the recent opening of Southwind RAS (an asphalt shingle recycling facility) in Peoria, Ill., Governor Quinn signed a bill last week at the facility that will significantly decrease the amount of construction material entering the landfill.
House Bill 1326 will also put some shiny coins back in the state coffer. The legislation legalizes the use of old asphalt shingles as part of a hot mix sold to pave roads, a process that will save the state upwards of $8 million per year, with some estimates hitting as high as $40 million. That's quite a savings for a program that will mandate that a percentage of the asphalt used by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is prepared with asbestos-free roofing shingles discarded either through the manufacturing process or household construction projects.
While the bill also contains incentives for recyclers to help meet EPA quotas, it will force Illinois to cut down on waste disposal and in the process create jobs. In addition to the Peoria facility, Southwind plans to open nine more recycling centers state wide.
The use of recycled shingles as road material is relatively new to Illinois, but has been rolled out in other states. The Illinois Tollway partnered with the EPA and researchers at the Iowa State University to develop guidelines for the use of RAS asphalt, holding a workshop in Chicago to reveal their learnings and open a discussion among industry leaders on the possibility of RAS in future works.
According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, asphalt itself is "America's most recycled product," with a staggering 100 million tons of it torn up each year and 95 million tons of that product either reused or recycled.
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