The hot mix asphalt industry has been leading the nation’s recycling charge. In fact, RAP – Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement – ranks as America’s most recycled and reused material. Asphalt is 100 percent recyclable, and more than 100 million tons of asphalt pavement are reclaimed every year. To put that in perspective, that’s approximately twice the tonnage of the amount of recycled paper, glass, plastic and aluminum combined!
Reclaiming and reusing existing asphalt pavement reduces the amount of virgin asphalt cement needed for the construction of new roadways. Other industries’ waste products such as rubber, roof shingles and foundry sand can also be incorporated into the asphalt mixes.
West Contracting has invested heavily in ensuring that we preserve our resources and protect the environment. West Contracting operates three rotomilling machines. This removes existing asphalt pavement from roadways. The asphalt is ground into a small size that then can be used by our asphalt plants to produce recycled pavement products.
All three of West Contracting’s Asphalt Plants use RAP as well as RAS (recycled asphalt shingles) in our asphalt mixes, giving our customers a quality product while protecting the environment.
Recycling asphalt pavement makes environmental sense and economic cents. Recycled asphalt pavement reduces the use of virgin materials and preserves landfill space. Taxpayers benefit by stretching tax dollars, and this allows state and local governments to keep more roads in better condition.
Did you know . . .
- Unlike asphalt, concrete pavement cannot be reclaimed and reused since the cement binder cannot be re-hydrated after its initial use. Concrete pavement can only be recycled into an aggregate, which is often used as a base under an asphalt overlay.
- Asphalt is by far the most reused and recycled pavement material in America. About 100 million tons of asphalt pavement is reclaimed every year, and more than 95 percent of the reclaimed material is reused or recycled.
- Producing and placing asphalt pavements consumes 40 percent less energy than continuously reinforced concrete pavements.
- When RAP is reused in asphalt pavements, the asphalt cement is reactivated and becomes part of the binder (or glue) for the new pavement. This reduces the amount of virgin cement that is required.
- Between 1970 and 1999, the asphalt industry increased production by 250 percent while reducing total emissions by 97 percent.
- Because asphalt is 100 percent recyclable, existing asphalt pavements constitute a treasury of material. Both the asphalt cement and the aggregate in RAP can be swapped one for one allowing for maximum economic benefit.
SOURCE: Asphalt Pavement Alliance