The Indianapolis television station WTHR13 recently published an exposé on the local roofing industry. It showed that there has been a failure to recycle millions of pounds of shingles even though they had frequently made promises to the contrary. Strong storms in the spring and summer, with big hail and strong winds, caused millions in roof damages. When these damaged roofs are replaced, there is a huge amount of shingle waste produced that could be recycled, but for a number of reasons has made its way to landfills instead.
Are Asphalt Shingles Bad For The Environment?
You can’t say enough about the environmental impact of asphalt shingles and to throw these shingles away. Industry experts say that it takes between 300 and 400 years for asphalt shingles to completely break down. Shingles are heavy and take up a lot of space. This means that there is less room for other kinds of trash. They can also leak chemicals into the groundwater that can cause cancer. Let’s have a look at this in more detail:
Shingle Model Failing
The United States is the only place in the world where asphalt shingles are the most common type of roof. Everywhere else, metal, tile, slate, wood shingles, and other strong materials are used to protect homes. Even the thin tin roofs in the slums of South America last longer on average than shingles in the United States. Asphalt shingles are quick and cheap to put on, but they are easily damaged by wind and hail, break down in the sun’s UV light, and must be put on when the weather is right. On average, they last 12 to 15 years in the Midwest. Instead of putting up roofs that last 30, 40, or even 100 years, most Americans replace their shingles every few years, which keeps adding to the waste in landfills.
The Answer Is Metal Roofing
If you don’t want to use asphalt shingles, metal roofing is the best alternative. Unlike slate and tile, metal roofing doesn’t need extra structural support to hold up its heavy weight, which most buildings in the U.S. aren’t ready for. Also, metal roofs are much cheaper than slate, tile, or wood shake roofs, but they can still last for 50 years or more. Metal roofing can be recycled over and over again and is good for the environment. Lastly, some metal roofing systems can be put on wooden batten bars ON TOP OF the existing shingle roof. This means that the shingles don’t have to be taken off, which saves money and space in the landfill.
If you would like to learn more, get in touch with RPS today!