19 June 2013

Recycled materials save US authorities billions in road construction

Sustainable highway and road construction practices saved US authorities billions of dollars and an estimated 21.2 million barrels of virgin liquid asphalt binder in 2011, according to a recent survey. Conducted by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), over 200 companies operating 1,091 asphalt production plants across 49 states and Puerto Rico were polled.

Savings were made through use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS). It was also found that RAP and RAS use is on the rise in the US, with nearly 69 million tons of recycled materials going into new pavements. In Europe, the EU GPP criteria for roads are currently under development by the European Commission and will be published in early 2014.

The City of Hamburg (Germany) is saving money by using 100 percent recycled construction material when refurbishing and resurfacing some of its roads and is looking to expand this approach. Hamburg has also taken significant steps to encourage an increase of recycling rates in construction materials by establishing an online exchange for soil, debris and construction materials. Full details of Hamburg’s use of recycled asphalt for road surfacing are available online.

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