Many businesses want to climb onto the “green” bandwagon. It's a pretty lucrative one, after all because businesses that claim to be “green” can oftentimes charge a premium price for their eco-friendly practices. In the roofing industry, one way that roofers promote their “green-ness” is by saying that they recycle shingles. Recycling shingles is a great idea! It prevents tons of slowly-decaying material from end-ing up in the landfills. It turns an otherwise useless waste product into to road-base, trail-base, and playground surfaces. I'm all for recycling shingles.
The problem is that it is against the State of Colorado's policy. Sorry... no “green” roofing in Colorful Colorado.
Shingles NOT Recyclable In Colorado
Prior to September, 2015 Homestead Roofing, and dozens of other local roofing contractors used a shingle recycling facility on the east side of town, just off Marksheffel Rd. It was a great situation because it kept the cost for shingle disposal really low compared to taking it all to the dump. The added benefit was that it prevented all that asphalt and tar from being left for several future generations to have to live with or on top of. Then we got word that the facility that processed these waste shingles was not allowed to accept any more material. We had to return to taking everything to the landfill and our prices for disposal tripled or quadrupled! What happened? Why were we not able to recycle them any more?
On September 10, 2015 The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment adopted a policy that states that asphalt roofing shingles are no longer considered a recyclable material in Colorado. Recycling is permitted in other states, but not in Colorado. Their reasoning was actually pretty sound. 2014 saw 107,000 tons of waste asphalt shingles sitting at registered recycling facilities throughout the state. Of that 107,000 tons, only 15 tons were actually recycled. The number was so low because there just wasn't enough demand for the recycled material. Since only one one-hundredth of one percent of waste shingles were actually being recycled, the State decided that posed an environmental risk and revoked the recycling of shingles.
The State continued to allow existing facilities (such as the one pictured) which had material to continue to recycle them, but they were not allowed to receive any more shingles as of September 10, 2015. No facilities were able to receive new permits for recycling after that date.
What This Means To Homeowners
Believe it or not, this actually has a bearing on Colorado homeowners – aside from the fact that there are thousands of tons of asphalt being buried in your “backyard,” polluting the environment and potentially the ground water. We recently saw an ad in a direct mail piece from a competing roofer that promoted the fact that they recycle their shingles and called themselves “Green.” Any company, however, that claims that they can recycle shingles is either making a false claim or is using a non-permitted facility.
Beware of roofing contractors, especially the door-to-door canvassers, who claim to be “green” by recycling shingles. They are probably just pulling the wool over your eyes so they can separate you from some of your “green.”