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Asphalt: the Most Recycled Material in Ohio

Columbus, OH— When asked what the most recycled material is, most Americans would guess aluminum, glass, plastic or paper. But they would be wrong.

The most recycled material is asphalt. Although people drive on asphalt roads every day, few are aware that asphalt is in fact the most recycled material in America.

A report from the Federal Highway Administration shows that 80 percent of the asphalt pavement that's removed during widening and resurfacing projects is reused. That is substantially higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recycling rates for other materials.

Ironically, in a survey of 1,009 adults commissioned by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), Americans ranked asphalt pavement as the material they thought was the least recycled.

Pete Alex, president of The Osterland Company, is involved in asphalt recycling in the Northeast Ohio area. "All of the new asphalt roads around here contain recycled asphalt pavement (RAP)," said Alex. "We recycle everything we can because it saves us money, it saves our customers money and it saves huge amounts of space in landfills."

"Last year, Ohio asphalt contractors recycled about 2.6 million tons of RAP," said Fred Frecker, president and executive director of Flexible Pavements of Ohio, the trade association for the state's asphalt industry. "This saved in the neighborhood of $42 million, not to mention the fact that our landfill space would be overwhelmed if it weren't for large-scale recycling of industrial products such as asphalt pavement.

"Years ago, asphalt recycling was not widely practiced," said Frecker. "Worn out asphalt pavement was discarded in landfills. In the 1970s asphalt recycling was developed as a necessity during the oil embargo. Recycling proved to offer so many advantages that it's become an everyday business practice."

Using RAP has additional economic benefits. Less aggregate quarries and mining operations are required, which saves our natural areas. Less Asphalt cement is used, allowing precious crude oil to be saved for other things.






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