Tennessee Shingle Recycling helps the environment by collecting used asphalt shingles and repurposing them for road paving. "Last year we kept 5,000 tons of shingles out of landfills in Rutherford County," co-owner Bo Teague said. Roofing contractors pay to deposit their waste, which is sorted and then reused.
TRIUNE – Tennessee Shingle Recycling turns one man's trash into another's treasure. The company, located on Franklin Road outside of Murfreesboro, takes used asphalt shingles and grinds them into a product that can be used in road paving, co-owner Bo Teague said. "Last year we kept 5,000 tons of shingles out of landfills in Rutherford County," Teague, 37, said. The idea was born from a childhood on a farm and a career in the roofing industry, he said. As a senior claims specialist with Quality Exteriors, Teague said he saw load after load of used shingles being taken directly to the construction and demolition waste landfill in Rutherford County.
In 2010, Teague said he got to thinking about ways to reduce the cost of disposing of shingles and possibly recycling the waste, which is made from asphalt, fiberglass and rock. "I immediately thought about roads," he said. Having grown up on a farm in Bedford County, Teague has seen many country roads in his 37 years. Many of those are what is called tar-and-chip or chipseal roads, which combine layers of asphalt with layers of gravel. Turns out recycled shingles are perfect for these types of paving jobs, according to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association. Ground-up asphalt shingles can be added to pavement for road maintenance and paving projects, the manufacturing association said.
The recycled product can cut costs because it is cheaper than new asphalt, which is a byproduct of refining oil. Teague saw an opportunity but, at the time, the Tennessee Department of Transportation didn't use recycled shingles in projects. "We had to develop an end-user before we could do anything," Teague said. So he took his idea to state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, who is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Tracy then took the idea to the TDOT and asked the agency to look into it. An MTSU graduate in agri-business, Teague learned all he could about the paving industry. He even took classes on how it works to help bolster his work with TDOT. TDOT researched the product for a few years and approved it for using paving projects last year, Tracy said. "If we can save them from the landfill and save the taxpayers money, it's a win-win," Tracy said. Now that TDOT and commercial paving companies are using recycled shingles about a handful of shingle-recycling businesses have sprouted up across the state.
The senator said Teague is a good example of a citizen having an idea that is both good business and good for the community and getting involved to make a change. "Not all good ideas come from Nashville …" Tracy said. "The government took a citizen's idea and utilized it." After TDOT approved the product, Teague partnered with Jordan Howell, president of Quality Exteriors, to form Tennessee Shingle Recycling. Howell said he liked the idea right away because it saves his company money in disposing of the waste. The average asphalt-shingle roof weighs between three and four tons. At a disposal cost of $30 per ton, it costs between $100 and $150 to dump a used roof in the landfill, Teague said. Howell said he also likes that it saves space in the landfill. "Shingles can make up 10 percent of the weight in a landfill," Howell said. "When you can divert that much weight, it's huge." When Teague thought of recycling the shingles, all of the waste from re-roofing a building—shingles, felt, nails, wood, metal vent covers and flashing—was going to the landfill, he said.
Now almost all of the waste Quality Exteriors produces is recycled. At Tennessee Shingle Recycling, crews from Quality Exteriors and other roofing contractors pay a fee to bring in their waste, where they sort shingles from metal vent covers, satellite dishes and trash. Howell said the metal is recycled, and the shingles are ground up by a shingle grinder, which is like a giant wood chipper. "It even has a giant magnet that pulls out nails, so they can be recycled too," Howell said. Teague said he is most proud that he is being a good steward by reusing what was trash. "My grandfather said, 'you can't measure everything in money, boy.' This is part of that," Teague said. He did that by turning part of the waste stream into a revenue stream. Contact Michelle Willard at 1-770-675-7650 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @MichWillard. FYI Tennessee Shingle Recycling 10704 Franklin Rd. Murfreesboro, Tenn. 1-770-675-7650 TNShingleRecycling.com