America Recycles Day is scheduled for November 15, 2019.  On this day, people will organize events to help educate people on recycling many different household items. However, BR has played an important role in recycling something you can’t find in your home, but what you drive on. Since the early 1970’s, BR has been incorporating recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) into newly produced asphalt mixtures. When mixed with recycled asphalt, the new mixtures can be as high, or even higher, in quality as pavements made of virgin materials. When you look at it this way, it never loses its value.  This sustainability practice has many economic, environmental and societal impacts.

When an asphalt parking lot or roadway is scheduled to be rehabilitated, the pavement material is removed in chunks or ground up onsite using a milling machine. The RAP chunks and millings are then taken to the asphalt plant, crushed, and mixed with virgin materials to produce new asphalt mixtures.  The result is an asphalt mix containing recycled pavement material, used to build new parking lots, roads and pathways.

The National Asphalt Pavement Association reports that during the 2018 construction season, “on average, 82.2 million tons of RAP was used in asphalt mixtures.”  This relates to more than 4.1 million tons (or 23 million barrels) of asphalt binder conserved.  

Why is this important, you may ask?  There are many benefits to recycling asphalt.  Here are just a few:

Saving Tax Payers Money: By recycling asphalt pavement, it saves the American taxpayers more than $2.9 billion per year.

Freeing Up Landfill Space: When recycling asphalt pavement, the old asphalt materials are NOT getting thrown in landfills. It’s estimated that in 2018, 61.4 million cubic yards of landfill space was saved by recycling asphalt pavement.

Conserving Natural Resources: During the recycling process, the original rocks, sand, and gravel from the recycled asphalt are also retained. Therefore, when producing new asphalt mix with recycled pavement materials, plants mine less aggregate material conserving natural resources. In 2018, more than 78 million tons of virgin aggregate were replaced with recycled material.

Reducing Transportation Needs: Because there is less of a need to mine materials, there are less trucks on the road.  Less trucks on the roads means a reduced opportunity for accidents, as well as a decreased need for fuel. 

The need to be an environmental steward is critical, now more than ever.  BR will continue to utilize the asphalt recycling process while reviewing other recycling strategies into the future. For more information on the study referenced above, please visit:  www.asphaltpavement.org.

Contact Us Today:

For more than 70 years, BR has been an industry leader providing customers the best outcome for their pavement project needs. We are dedicated to quality, safety, continual improvement, environmental stewardship, innovation and most importantly, customer service. If you are in need of an asphalt contractor, contact us today at 651-686-7001 or complete a Request a Consultation Form (https://bitroads.com/Request-a-Consultation).

For more information on America Recycles Day, please visit www.americarecyclesday.org.