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From the Rooftop to the Road, a New Way of Recycling

October 29, 2009

DES MOINES, Iowa - Until now, when roofers replaced shingles the old ones were thrown away in a landfill, but Metro Waste Authority is trying something new: recycling them. Over the past month, MWA employees have been collecting shingles from local roofers that will be used to pave roads, MWA program manager Amanda Steward says.

"You take the wood, metal and plastic out of shingles and sort that out. Then you grind it up. The material can be reused in asphalt roads, and we all can drive on it."

MWA collected enough in the last month to use 300 tons of shingles. The recycled material will be mixed with traditional asphalt and applied during a repaving project on the southeast side of Des Moines today. This process not only cuts down on what ends up in the landfill but reduces demand for foreign oil used in asphalt production, Steward says.

"Asphalt is made out of oil and shingles have 20 percent oil content in them, so this is a good way for us to replace that product."

Steward estimates that MWA can collect 2,000 tons of old shingles for repaving projects. Contractors and drivers will be unable to tell the difference, she adds.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA