Did you know that the asphalt industry reuses and recycles nearly 100 million tons of its own product every year? 99% of all asphalt in the USA removed is recycled! This makes it America’s number one recycled product. It says billions of dollars and thousands of acres of landfill space. RAP (Recycled or Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement) is asphalt that has been removed from existing asphalt roadways, parking lots, and driveways. It is either removed by most commonly a milling machine, or excavated with skid loader or backhoe. Once removed it is then ground/processed (if not already done so by the milling machine) into small aggregate size pieces. It can then be used in the production of new asphalt.
West Contracting has been pushing the envelope in Missouri as a leader in the recycling efforts of asphalt pavement. As a St Louis Road Construction Company we own and operate three Wirtgen Milling Machines which reclaim and recycle existing asphalt surfaces daily throughout the entire state!
Our technical Manager, PE, Steve Jackson has also been instrumental in working with MODOT to develop MODOT approved mix designs for MODOT projects at our Asphalt Plants in Pacific, House Springs, and Sullivan, Missouri.These new mix designs nearing 50% RAP are called “High RAP” mixes.
What is the driving force behind high RAP mixes you may ask? The answer is highway transportation funding. Decreasing highway funding throughout the country is forcing DOT’s to find ways to maintain their existing roadways and build new infrastructure systems with less money.
Recycled asphalt pavements save money because the existing asphalt binder (the black liquid) in the RAP can be reused as part of the binder, so the total “virgin” asphalt liquid binder content is less than a traditional mix that only contains “virgin” asphalt liquid binder. Also the aggregate rock is reused, needing less rock that would traditionally come from a quarry. Not only does RAP save $$$$ but think GREEN as in our environment! Asphalt can be recycled again and again, unlike concrete that can only be crushed and used as a base material. The Asphalt Industry is also exploring and producing high quality asphalt mixes that recycle other industries waste products into it! Some of the most common products recycled into asphalt pavements are rubber from used tires, glass, asphalt roofing shingles, and blast furnace slag. What other industry can you say takes on others trash and recycles it into a high quality product every American uses every day!!!!