Environmental Problems of Asphalt Roofing

When considering whether to use asphalt shingles or a metal roof, here are some of the important facts you should know:

Metal roofing materials are 100% recyclable.

Asphalt shingle are one of the most widely used roofing covers in North America because they have a relatively inexpensive up-front cost and are fairly simple to install.

Use of such shingles for habitable structures is virtually unknown (or even outlawed) elsewhere, for example in Europe, although they are used for outhouses.

A 2007 study done for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) titled “Environmental Issues Associated With Asphalt Shingle Recycling” provides the following information:

  • The most common disposal method for asphalt shingles in the US is to dump them into landfills.
  • Approximately 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste is generated each year in the United States.
  • The main environmental concern in recycling asphalt shingles is the rare presence of asbestos in shingles manufactured before 1980. Asbestos was also used in some felt paper, roll roofing, roof paint, roof coating, caulking, and mastic.
  • Asphalt naturally contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) some of which are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and may put recycling workers at risk. Leaching and airborne PAHs have remained below detectable levels in most testing.

By choosing a metal roof, you become part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem with our world’s pollution.

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