Industry strives to increase post-consumer numbers
November 14, 2023—According to the U.S. EPA, an estimated 332 billion pounds of construction and demolition waste are generated annually. Reroofing projects can generate tremendous amounts of material that can and should be diverted from the waste stream. PVC (vinyl) roofing membrane has an inherent advantage when it comes to recycling, as it can readily be heated and reprocessed without loss of key physical properties.
It has long been a vinyl roofing industry best practice to reintroduce production trimmings and scrap as raw material into vinyl roofing membrane manufacturing processes. Some roofing manufacturers even collect and process their customers’ scrap as well as the general purpose scrap of other vinyl fabricators. In 2022, the member manufacturers of the Chemical Fabrics & Film Association (CFFA) Vinyl Roofing Division recycled a combined 19.2 million pounds of pre-consumer materials.
The industry continues to make strides in increasing this recycled content in its products, and is committed to combining post-consumer recycling technologies to add to these numbers. Currently, roughly one million pounds of post-consumer material are recycled each year at the end of a PVC roof’s useful life. Estimates indicate approximately 19 million pounds of PVC roofing membranes are currently available for recycling, based on historical volumes of installed roofs and average life cycle of the material. The CFFA’s goal is to increase the number of PVC roof membrane recovery projects each year, resulting in an increased amount of material being diverted from the landfill.
PVC roofing that has reached the end of its use phase can be repurposed into new roofing material or other vinyl-based products. Post-consumer recycling of PVC roofing began in 1999 in the United States. Working in tandem with a vinyl membrane manufacturer, a Massachusetts recycling company produced a highway cold patching material made from old vinyl roofing membranes and other recovered plastics. As state-of-the-art grinding equipment evolved so that it could separate polyester scrim reinforcement and felt backing from the vinyl polymer, retired roofing membrane became feedstock for new products such as roofing walkway pads, commercial-grade flooring, and concrete expansion joints.
The Vinyl Roofing Division of the CFFA is committed to doing all it can to limit the environmental burden posed by construction materials.
For more information on PVC roofing, visit https://vinylroofs.org/.