Each year, around 12 million tons of asphalt shingles, which represent the primary type of roofing in the United States, end up in landfills. Standard Industries’ GAF, whose roofs are on roughly one in four American homes, has a plan for keeping them out: A new version of its asphalt shingles that contain 15% recycled materials. It’s spent a good part of the past decade developing the process for making the new shingles, and allocated $100 million toward their research and scale-up.
On Tuesday, the company will install its first recycled shingle roof on the home of a military veteran in Tampa in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County. Its early pilot program will include 500 homes with a variety of non-profit partners, among them Team Rubicon, Rebuilding Together and St. Bernard Parish, in addition to Habitat for Humanity. It expects to launch the recycled shingles commercially soon after, and to begin scaling production from Florida to Texas next year.
While shingle waste has previously been reused for paving of roads, that accounts for just 10% of the 13 million tons of shingle waste produced each year. GAF says that its initiative represents the first shingles to be made from recycled content. Its goal is to divert one million tons of shingle waste from landfills by 2030. That would represent roughly 1% of the total shingle waste produced in that time period, assuming current rates stay steady. “It’s crazy how much landfill is taken up for these materials,” says GAF chief executive Jim Schnepper. “There has to be a concerted effort to push this in the market, and to get people to see the advantage of this.”
The recycled shingles are the latest effort from Standard Industries co-CEOs David Millstone and David Winter, who have pledged to spend $1 billion on industrial innovation. They recently debuted a new solar roof that can be installed like a regular rooftop rather than as panels. But it is the basic asphalt shingle that has been the roofing material of choice in America, in large part because of its cost, just $100 for 100 square feet of material today.