Going Green

We’re also supporting the environment with GREEN Technology!

Recycling Your Roofing Shingles

At one time, roofing shingles and construction materials made up almost 40% of the United States landfill composition. Thanks to efforts by companies like Nico Roofing, however, this amount has dropped by nearly 50% in recent years.


In Illinois, there are continuous efforts to improve green roofing with roofing shingles recycling programs in place for just about all types of roofing shingles. Aluminum and steel are both recycled very easily, while materials like concrete can be broken down and used for road bedding. While aluminum and steel are easily recycled, they are less commonly used in roofing, in general, meaning they are recycled less often.


Concrete roofing is not as prevalent in Illinois either, in fact, and it’s also a very long-lasting material. In fact, the roofing shingles which are most commonly recycled are asphalt shingles. If not for these new, green recycling programs, asphalt would easily fill up the landfills in the state.


Asphalt roofing shingles are not always the easiest material to re-use or recycle. In Illinois, several tests have been run on broken-down asphalt shingles. These studies have shown that asphalt contains a lot of toxic materials, including arsenic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These poisonous metals present a significant hazard to humans and threaten the environment. Certain types of PAH and arsenic, in fact, have proven to be carcinogenic to humans, even in the levels present in roofing materials. Using this material in a recycled form can be extremely dangerous to humans, if inhaled. Both wind and rain can transfer this material directly into water sources too, which can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, recyclers have to get a solid waste permit or a Beneficial Use Determination to prove that they will only use the recycled material in a way that doesn’t allow for dangerous and toxic contamination.


After addressing the primary safety concerns of reusing roofing shingles, ground asphalt can actually be safely used for a number of things, including:

  • Road Construction: Asphalt can be recycled into road bedding, which forms the foundation for new roadways throughout the state or on gravel paths.
  • Patch Additive: It can also be used as a filler in hot and cold patch asphalt. These forms of asphalt are immobile, which means it is safe for humans. In fact, this form of recycling is not susceptible to such stringent solid waste standards either.
  • Driveways: Asphalt is a great option for unpaved driveways.
  • Miscellaneous: Asphalt debris is a popular choice for horse arenas, landscaping, animal bedding, walking trails, and more!


When you’re hiring a professional roofer to re-roof your home or add new roofing shingles, learn about their solid waste handling procedures first. During this evaluation, try not to factor in the price point, since their waste disposal is a vital factor in keeping your family healthy and safe. If the waste materials end up polluting landfills or adding toxicity to ground water, it can cause a great deal of damage. Before you begin work, be sure to discuss the options with your roofing contractor.


To replace and recycle your shingle roof call now at 773.319.6306
We offer an estimate for all of our roofing services.