is steady at Waterway Materials LLC in Chesapeake,
Virginia. It recycles anywhere from 600 to 1,200 tons
of pavement debris on any given day.
Waterway Materials recycled in excess of 400,000 tons
of material last year, according to Jimmy Sisson,
managing member. Revenues totaled $3.5 million.
Sisson said all of the construction and demolition
debris comes from the local construction market. Waterway
Materials provides a facility to dump the material,
whether it is asphalt or concrete. It arrives by either
truck or barge. “We recycle it, process it,
reprocess it and sell it back to the construction
marketplace,” Sisson said.
Waterway Materials accepts what it defines as clean
concrete and asphalt debris free of charge. It charges
tip fees for pavement with rebar, wire and other debris.
Most of the material that arrives is concrete. Sisson
said that he occasionally gets a lot of asphalt. But
there are three asphalt-paving companies in the area
with around five batch plants. “There are a
lot of them that are closer to any particular job
site than I am,” he said.
Sisson said there are very few places in his region;
however, that accepts concrete debris. “I get
concrete debris from 25 or 30 miles away. Asphalt
debris will typically go to the next closest place
that will accept it for recycling,” Sisson said.
He estimated that the percentage of asphalt received
makes up less than 10 percent of gross annual tonnage.
Waterway Materials recycles the pavement through a
double crushing process. It has a primary jaw and
a secondary rotary-impact crusher to crush the material
down to an inch and a half in size. Sisson described
the end result as “basically gravel.”
The material is eventually used in roadways, parking
lots and “all kinds of other stuff,” Sisson
When Sisson helped launch Waterway Materials in 2000,
he said the company initially faced buyer resistance
for crushed pavement. He said that other manufacturers
in the marketplace were not getting the metals and
debris out of the recycled material.
But Sisson said that perception has now changed. “Today,
I can sell more than I can crush. There is more demand
for my product. On a direct competitive basis, I’m
about eight or nine percent cheaper than natural aggregate
sold here in our area,” he said.
“We are probably a 100 miles from the nearest
aggregate supply. A large portion of the cost of stone
is driven by the cost of transportation cost. That
helps us be able to make a competitive product. We
are well positioned within the geographic center of
our economic region near Norfolk, Virginia. There
is a lot of growth going on,” Sisson said.
Don Turner, director of the National Pavement Contractors
Association based in the Dallas/Ft. Worth region,
said most of the contractors that he represents recycle
the pavement in place. “It’s becoming
more common. It continues to grow because it makes
so much sense. You don’t have to find somewhere
to dump old asphalt,” he said.
Turner said the practice is becoming so common that
homeowners are contacting the association wanting
to know whether it is possible to recycle driveways.
Turner said that due to the size of the machinery,
recycling driveways is not yet practical. But he said
the requests are an indicator of how many people are
becoming familiar with the practice.
“It makes a very good material and you’re
starting to see it more and more on parking lot projects.
The pavement is actually processed right there where
it is. It works real well. It’s a win, win situation.
It’s definitely growing in popularity,”
“Since it is usable, why pay high costs to dispose
of it. You are saving money, because the cost of crushed
rock and conventional base material is far more expensive.
So, why spend all that money. Just use the old pavement
as all or a portion of the base.”
Dave Newcomb, vice president for research and technology
at the National Asphalt Pavement Association in Lanham,
Maryland, said recycling asphalt is a very common
practice across the pavement industry. “It’s
almost a normal part of most operations,” he
said. “It saves money and you’re not using
new resources. You are not paying for landfill fees.
And it performs as well or better than an all-new
Newcomb said that recycling asphalt got its biggest
boost during the oil embargo in the 1970’s.
“The scarcity of asphalt at the point drove
people to look at the alternatives. He said that current
high-cost of oil is also driving interest in recycled
pavement again today. “I would say it’s
probably more important as the price of oil goes up,”
Asphalt pavement is the most recycled product in the
United States according to NAPA. The trade group estimated
that each year the country recycles more than 73 million
tons of reclaimed asphalt pavement – more than
the combined total of 40 million tons of recycled
paper, glass, aluminum and plastics. It estimated
that 80 percent of the asphalt pavement that’s
removed each year during widening and resurfacing
projects is reused.