According to annual estimates the US accumulates approximately 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste hauled away from construction sites, natural disaster clean ups, or just regular home repairs. Recycling centers exist that convert the shingles into new asphalt, roadway patches, new roofing, and fuel but while roofing contractors in some states have access to such programs elsewhere they don’t.
Meanwhile, though the general public may not have the means to convert shingles back into substances for industrial use there are a variety of ways to utilize them.
First make sure they meet your threshold of not being too old and dirty. Then rinse them off inspecting for anything unusual that would impede further usage. The ones you save have great potential in the following ways:
- A doormat: One way you can do this is take a few asphalt shingles, glue them together, maybe shellac it all around, and paint a big green “WELCOME” on top.
- Oil stain absorber: Many times oil drips from the engine of your car while it’s sitting in the garage. If this happened, you know how difficult it is to remove the stains from concrete or asphalt floor. Use shingles as separations between the floor of your driveway and where the front of your car rests.
- Tiling for an unfinished attic: attics are usually unfinished and sometimes the rickety floor boards move around making passage unsafe. One way to make them more secure and give better traction is to nail down shingles over the planks.
- Are you a drummer? Drummers usually need something under their sets like a rug to make sure the kit stays still while playing, especially the base drum. This may be a little awkward to carry to gigs but for the stationary set asphalt shingles tiled on a platform could work great in the music room.
- Weed stoppers: use old shingles around plants to keep weeds down in the garden. Leave them whole so they don’t disappear in the soil. That way, when you’re ready to dispose of them they can be collected easily.
- Garden paths: instead of buying gravel or other items for your garden paths, asphalt shingles are a perfect substitute. It may not look flashy but you could make a really nice tapered lane that would blend in with the surrounding prism of outdoor colors.
- Winter walkway aide: In the winter when it’s icy outside, why spread sand or salt on the footpath when you can toss down a row of shingles from the gate to the front door giving relief from the slick walking .
- A kitchen sink back-splasher: Instead of retiling behind the sink where water often splatters, size and cut up asphalt shingles, paint or shellac them, and fit them in place. Caulk around edges.
- Sink liners: These could be great liners under dish pans. Cut shingles to fit your sink and make a hole for the drain. Clean it well and shellac before setting in place.
- Art projects for home or school: The truth is there are so many artistic things to do from cutting shingles into different shapes and painting them to scoring and making them into cards for games. If you come across a large collection there’s amazing potential for something really wild.
- Finally, if you have a lot of shingles that are still in good condition donating to low income housing, houses of worship, or other organizations that can redistribute them is also a great way to give them a new life.