Many of us are familiar with the three R’s of sustainability, but did you know they apply to asphalt as well? The three R’s were created as goals to aid the environment by lessening waste, and limiting the amount of natural resources consumed regularly.
Recycling asphalt reduces waste, as well as the new materials that will need to be harvested, produced, and carted to and from paving sites. RAP saves a lot of money, as well increasing the durability of projects. That’s right - RAP is more durable and stronger than traditional asphalt.
Asphalt is 100% reusable - how many materials can say that? Old asphalt can be milled and reused instead of being placed in landfills. Asphalt millings are crushed into gravel, and can be used as a sub base for paving projects, or used in place of traditional gravel.
Unlike other similar substances, asphalt binder - or glue - doesn’t undergo a chemical change through use. Without a change in properties, it returns to its normal form, allowing for it to be used for multiple projects.
Year after year, asphalt is the number one recycled material in United States. The Virginia Asphalt Association reports that at least 100 million tons of asphalt is recycled and reused each year. Asphalt is also generally considered the number one recycled material in the world. Recycling asphalt lowers costs and greenhouse gases. It also preserves natural resources, and the energy that would be required to mine them.
You can even recycle other materials into asphalt to keep them from ending up in landfills. Used tired and asbestos, for example, are often included in asphalt material.
Wastes from the paving process can also be recycled - including natural waste from demolition needed to clear area.
The three R’s of asphalt sustainability clearly show why asphalt is commonly touted as the most environmental friendly of paving options.