Where Sustainability Meets Performance
Asphalt has been a tried and true road pavement material for over 100 years. However, with today’s increased attention toward environmental stewardship, the sustainability and green benefits of asphalt may be surprising to some. Eaton Asphalt recognized this trend and embraced emerging technologies and products that make our asphalt safer to manufacture and more sustainable for the environment.
Asphalt is Recyclable
Asphalt pavement is the most recycled material in the United States with a 99% recycling rate. Recycled Asphalt Pavement (commonly referred to as RAP) positively impacts the environment. This is a major factor that impacts both commercial and municipal customers who are conscious of their environmental footprint. Asphalt is one of the only materials that can be reclaimed from a job site, processed, remanufactured and put into the roadway that same week.
Asphalt recycling (commonly referred to as RAP or Recycled Asphalt Pavement) positively impacts the environment: at least 73 million tons of old asphalt pavement is crushed and recycled into new asphalt annually. At Eaton Asphalt, we recycle 100% of the asphalt removed from job sites, in addition, we accept recyclable material from other contractors.
Recycled Asphalt Pavement Defined
Asphalt materials are commonly removed during resurfacing, rehabilitation, and reconstruction operations. This is done by a milling machine that essentially shaves off a predetermined depth of the top layer of asphalt. Once this layer is removed and processed, the pavement materials become reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP). This material contains valuable asphalt binder and aggregate. RAP is a valuable, high-quality material that can replace more expensive virgin aggregates and binders. This reduces the need to invest additional petroleum products during the production process as we are recycling the binder. The most economical use of RAP is in the intermediate and surface layers of flexible pavements where the less expensive binder from RAP can replace a portion of the more expensive virgin binder. While RAP has been used for decades, there is a current interest in using higher RAP contents in asphalt mixes.
RAP Use Today
In 2007, the typical hot mix asphalt (HMA) mixture contained about 12 percent RAP. From 2007 to 2009, 27 states increased the amount of RAP permitted in asphalt mixtures. As of 2009, 23 States had experience with high RAP mixtures. As of 2011, the majority of State highway agencies (more than 40) allow more than 30 percent RAP; however, only 11 report actually using 25 percent RAP or more.
RAP Additional Information
In the first major effort, the Federal Highway Administration partnered with AASHTO and the National Asphalt Pavement Association to create Designing HMA Mixtures with High RAP Content: A Practical Guide, which provides guidance for designing high RAP mixtures. As a follow-up the Transportation Research Board conducted a webinar Design and Production of High Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement Mixes.
To learn more about Recycled Asphalt Pavement please visit some of the helpful links below:
- USDOT – FHWA – Recycled Asphalt Pavement – Best Practices
- National Center for Asphalt Technology – Recycled Asphalt Pavement – Best Practices
- USDOT – FHWA – Recycled Asphalt Pavements – Recycling Guidelines
Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA)
Warm mix asphalt is a truly green asphalt solution. It provides lower energy consumption, lesser fumes, minor odors, decreased emissions and easier placement, making this one of the most environmentally friendly types of asphalt pavement available. In addition to being a green product it also allows better compaction on the road, extending our paving season and increasing our hauling distances. As an added bonus, this product can help you earn LEED® credits.
If you are interested in learning more about Warm Mix Asphalt, please visit NAPA’s (National Asphalt Pavement Association) website dedicated to Warm Mix Asphalt.