Recycling has entered a number of construction sectors during the past decade, and the roofing industry is certainly one of them. Most construction sectors have taken the first step and developed a way to recycle materials. But the real test is making a recycling process available on a wide scale and within reasonable expectations of cost efficiency to create a viable, ongoing recycling network.
Those involved with the ongoing project to recycle EPDM roof membranes successfully have reached this stage. After launching a recycling initiative in 2006, the EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) with Firestone Building Products Co. LLC, Indianapolis, and Carlisle SynTec Inc., Carlisle, Pa., has seen its recycling project expand from the pilot phase to the point where nearly 5 million square feet of post-consumer EPDM roof membranes have been recycled during the past three years, making it the leading recycled low-slope roof membrane material in North America. In all, roughly 1.25 million pounds of reclaimed EPDM membrane have been diverted from landfills.
With the active participation of roofing professionals throughout the U.S. and portions of Canada, recycling EPDM roof membranes has moved from the "potential" stage to a cost-efficient, environmentally sound reality.
Steps to success