A landfill in northwest Iowa is the latest in the state to expand its recycling efforts to include roofing shingles. The old shingles, collected at the landfill near LeMars, are ground up into a powder to be used in asphalt for roadways.

Mark Kunkel, manager for the Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency, says between 1,200 and 1,500 tons of roofing tar shingles from the county will be purchased by the Iowa Department of Transportation this year. “After they’re ground up…they’re screened down to gradation size for the Iowa D.O.T. And once that’s all met with a little moisture content in it, they can be used in the asphalt roads,” Kunkel said.

The process extends the life of the roofing shingles while clearing up space in the landfill. Kunkel says the recycled shingles are popular with road paving companies. “The shingles have a binder type oil in them and it works really good on the roads. That way, they don’t have to add as much of this product and they use about a third less oil when they use this,” Kunkel said.

The effort is backed by a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Kunkel says the landfill also recycles the nails that are in the shingles. The Iowa D.O.T. reports similar shingle recycling programs are in place in Des Moines, Davenport and Marion.

By Dennis Morrice, KLEM, LeMars