PVC recycling is now a reality

The converging influences of economic pressure and increasing environmental awareness have been key drivers behind the dramatic growth of recycling initiatives in various North American manufacturing sectors. Skyrocketing raw material costs, rising disposal fees and ever more competitive market prices are squeezing the bottom line in many industries. Improving yields and finding ways to recapture whatever value they can from any scrap or off-spec material produced are critical to many companies' profitability. And, of course, there are several ecological benefits of doing so.

The situation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated 136 million tons of building construction- and demolition-related debris are generated annually. And the U.S. Green Building Council says these waste streams account for about 40 percent of all solid waste in the U.S. Roofing materials represent a significant portion of that total.

According to a study done in Wisconsin by consulting firm Camp, Dresser & McKee Inc., Cambridge, Mass., though roofing materials represent only 4 percent of construction waste (from new construction and renovation) in the state, they represent 26 percent of demolition waste. The potential effect of recycling roofing materials at the end of their service lives is tremendous.