What’s the most recycled product in the United States? Look down because you might be standing on it.
According to the National Asphalt Paving Association, more than 70 million tons of asphalt are re-claimed each year, and almost all of it is recycled or reused. Recycling asphalt saves both the environment and budgets from strain. The ability to recycle the material is hardly the only environmentally friendly feature of asphalt.
Since 1960 the production of asphalt in the U.S. has increased by more than 250 percent. Despite the increases in production, the emissions from the operations fell by nearly 100 percent. Fewer emissions in the production of the asphalt are not the only way that asphalt is allowing for cleaner air. Smoother and better asphalt surfaces mean that vehicles do not emit as much exhaust. The development of warm-mix asphalt has reduced fuel consumption, cut back on greenhouse gas emissions and improved the quality of pavement.
One other area that asphalt has been able to help the environment has been in wastewater management. Traditional pavement typically causes water displacement. Street surface area pushed the water around rather than absorbing it like soil. The development of porous asphalt has allowed engineers to control the spread of polluted water into lakes, rivers and streams.
New asphalt construction techniques are resulting in cleaner air and water without sacrificing pavement quality.