Recycling: The Circle of Asphalt!


You may have seen the big machines clawing up the asphalt pavement surface of a highway.

You may also have driven on milled pavement.

But did you know that you were witnessing part of the biggest recycling operation in America?

Well, it’s true. It’s what you might call the Circle of Asphalt.

Every year, about 100 million tons of pavement material is reclaimed, and about 95 percent of the total is returned to use in roads and highways. This makes asphalt pavement America’s most recycled material. Some of the reclaimed material is recycled into shoulders and road base, but by far the lion’s share is reused for its original purpose.

You see, asphalt cement – the black, sticky stuff that holds the pavement together – can be reactivated by heating. When asphalt is milled up, it is taken to a facility where it can be crushed into manageable chunks. Next, it is put through an asphalt plant, where it is mixed with virgin materials to make new pavement. The quality of mix with reclaimed materials is just as good as, or even better than, pavements made from all-new materials.

The process is completed when the pavement material is placed on the road and drivers get a smooth, quiet new surface. That’s the Circle of Asphalt.

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