asphalt and environment

Asphalt and the Environment

Most people are well educated on asphalt and the paving application, however in my opinion information regarding how environmentally friendly the paving business has become is still lacking for consumers.

Over the past three decades more and more effort has been put forth by government officials to incorporate Recycled Asphalt Products or RAP into new materials. In the past a virgin asphalt was used for every paving application, which meant that all old asphalt needed to be disposed of somewhere. Today that same old asphalt is removed and refined back into an aggregate and re used as the aggregate component of new asphalt. With the Recycled Asphalt Product now readily available on-site at hot mix asphalt plants, there is less of a requirement for transporting in new materials, ultimately reducing the CO2 emissions that would have been involved with the extraction and transportation of new materials in the past and a massive reduction of materials being sent to landfills. Since 2010, in Ontario alone 2.3 million tonnes of the Recycled Asphalt Products have been used in asphalt applications big and small.

The Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association lists the following benefits for using RAP.

  • Reduces road building costs by significantly reducing the need for virgin material.
  • Saves and reuses precious, non-renewable aggregate and petroleum resources.
  • Reduces the CO2 generated by the extraction and transportation of virgin aggregates and asphalt cement.
  • Keeps large volumes of materials out of already overloaded landfills.
  • Ensures a premium quality aggregate supply for paving projects.
  • Significantly contributes to provincial and municipal recycling obligations.
Today, the asphalt we drive on is 100% recyclable in fact asphalt is said to be recycled more than aluminum, paper or plastic!
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