A Black Roof Is A “Green” Roof:
EPDM rubber is one of the world’s most recyclable
low-slope roofing products. Since 2006, almost six million sq ft of EPDM have been removed, transported and recycled from buildings all across North America and Canada. This, of course, reduces solid waste
Beyond that, recycled EPDM can have significant impact on a company’s bottom line: more than half of the EPDM recycled nationally has become either cost-neutral or yielded cost savings when compared to traditional landfill disposal. ERA, with the help of its recycling partners Firestone Building Products and Carlisle SynTec, has taken a lead in proving both the practicality and economic viability of recycling for roofing contractors and building owners.
Today, roofing contractors are doing most of the recycling work, with the reroofing market currently driving the low-slope roofing business for installers. This bodes well for EPDM recycling in the near term. Long-term, the new construction market will almost inevitably grow. Today, more and more architects are writing a recycling process into their new roof specifications, and with good reason. Specifiers and facilities managers with foresight see roof recycling as an absolute necessity in the years to come.
A recyclable roofing product specified today should pay
big dividends down the road. The average EPDM roofing membrane installed on a facility in 2011 may be up for
replacement in 20 to 30 years. By that time, roof recycling will most likely be a necessity, not an option, due to a growing number of codes that incorporate sustainability requirements. And the penalties property owners will pay for disposing of nonrecyclable roofing materials three decades from now will likely be heavy indeed.