Recently, Indianapolis television station WTHR13 published an exposé on the local roofing industry and the failure to recycle millions of pounds of shingles, despite often making promises to the contrary. The powerful spring and summer storms, bringing large hail and winds, resulting in over $500 million in roofing damages in Indiana1. Replacing these damaged roofs has resulting in tens of millions of pounds of shingle waste, which could be recycled, but due to a variety of factors, are instead being diverted to Indiana landfills.
The environmental impact of putting these shingles into landfills cannot be overstated. Industry experts estimate that asphalt shingles take between 300-400 years to fully decompose. Shingles are dense and take up a lot of room, resulted in loss of space for other types of waste. They also can leech chemicals into ground water supplies that can be carcinogenic. The Metal Roofing Alliance estimates that 20 BILLION pounds of asphalt shingles are dumped in US landfills every year2.