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Asphalt: The Environmentally Conscious Choice

by | May 20, 2019

If you’ve been following the news over the past year, you know that the recycling industry is in flux all around the world. China has tightened regulations, and U.S. recyclers are having trouble figuring out what to with the materials flowing into our blue and yellow bins each day.

But there is one product that has been and will continue to be universally recycled with incredible environmental and energy benefits to show for it: Asphalt. 

Asphalt Reclamation, Past and Present

Even as far back as 1993, the Federal Highway Administration and the United States Environmental Protection Agency found that over 90 million tons of asphalt pavement was being reclaimed each year, with over 80% of that total recycled into new pavement. 

Today the picture is even better. For the past ten years surveys have found that more than 99% of the asphalt pavement removed from road and parking lot demolition projects was reclaimed, and most of that was put right back into service as fresh new pavement. And there’s no end point for this cycle! Reclaimed asphalt pavement can be manufactured to the same or even higher standards than virgin pavement materials, and a single quantity can be recycled over and over again without losing its value or wearing out.

How does this all work?

Asphalt is formed as a heated mixture of asphalt cement (or binder), which holds the mix together, and solid aggregates like sand, rock, and gravel. Both are ground up together and the liquid binder is reactivated. When the product is heated, it’s ready to be paved just like any other asphalt—and you’d never be able to tell the difference. 

In fact, this process has advanced in sophistication so much that many pavements over 20 years old are worth more as recyclable materials today than they were as brand new pavement when originally set down.

Recycled asphalt is also a boon to the larger recycling system, as reclaimed asphalt mixes will commonly incorporate old asphalt shingles, rubber from worn out tires, glass, and even blast furnace slag. All of this reuse saves taxpayers over $2 billion dollars in waste management, conserves an estimated 50 million cubic yards of landfill space every year, and cuts down on the need to harvest natural products due to the widespread availability of reclaimed asphalt materials.

The Best Pavement Choice for Holland, Michigan

Asphalt is a flexible, smooth, and beautiful paving solution that yields exciting ecological and environmental benefits. If you’re in need of paving services in Holland, MI or the surrounding communities, contact a team with the right tools and expertise: Stripe A Lot. 

We’re the leader in West Michigan asphalt paving and repair and offer you, our friends and neighbors, one-stop shop services for all your paving needs. Contact us today at 616-772-2559 to get started.

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