April is Earth Month, a time when we focus on ways to reduce our impact on the environment and protect our planet. One of the ways we can do this is by recycling asphalt. While the famous song about paving parking lots might make it seem like asphalt is an environmental villain, the reality is that asphalt recycling is a great way to reduce waste and conserve natural resources.
What is Asphalt Recycling?
Asphalt is a common material used in constructing roads, highways,
and parking lots. While durable and long-lasting, asphalt also has a
limited lifespan and needs to be replaced eventually. This led to a lot
of waste when the old asphalt was just thrown away, and new asphalt was
produced to take its place.
Asphalt, however, is a highly recyclable material. Old asphalt can be removed from a road or parking lot and taken to an asphalt recycling facility, where it is crushed and
processed into new asphalt. Today, recycling is frequently done on-site
to avoid the cost and environmental impact of trucking heavy materials
off-site. This process, called “hot-in-place recycling,” has many
Environmental Benefits of Asphalt Recycling
First and foremost, recycling asphalt conserves natural resources. By reusing old asphalt, we don’t have to produce as much new asphalt, which means we use fewer raw materials and reduce our environmental impact. In fact, it’s estimated that every ton of recycled asphalt saves about 1.5 tons of natural resources.
Second, recycling asphalt also reduces the amount of waste to be disposed of. Instead of filling up landfills with old asphalt, we can reuse it to make new roads and parking lots. This helps to reduce the amount of space we need for landfills and decreases the environmental impact of waste disposal.
In addition, asphalt recycling can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Producing new asphalt requires a lot of energy, usually from fossil fuels. By recycling asphalt, we can reduce the amount of energy needed to produce new asphalt, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps to mitigate climate change.
So the next time you hear that song about paving parking lots, remember that asphalt recycling is actually an environmentally friendly practice. Asphalt recycling is a great way to protect our planet and create sustainable infrastructure by conserving natural resources, reducing waste, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.