One of the less pleasant smells associated with the changing seasons comes shortly after winter thaw and spring rains – the extended summer season of highway repair and driveway installation. As you're driving by, trying to ignore the dark fumes, it's hard to think of asphalt as a particularly “green” substance.
However, it is! Environmentally friendly asphalt is much better for the planet than most people assume. It's a fine choice if you're looking for a paving material that does as little damage to the earth as possible.
Asphalt is fully recyclable!
Asphalt is actually one of the most-recycled products in the country, and it can be reused over and over, with very little loss, simply through re-heating. Most of that, in fact, goes into our road system. The asphalt you drive on every day is possibly decades-old, in terms of when it was first made.
Asphalt incorporates other wastes!
Waste oil, concrete, and several other hard-to-dispose of materials often found at demolition sites also go into the creation of recycled environmentally friendly asphalt. It makes a very nice, self-sustaining solution for renewable building within cities that minimizes the waste of sometimes-toxic materials.
Perpetual pavement prevents needless repairs!
One of the big problems with any paving project, of course, is the disruption to the road and the wildlife around it. Major road projects can tear up huge amounts of land with the heavy equipment needed. Perpetual pavement, on the other hand, is a form of green asphalt where most of it never gets replaced. Only the top layer is maintained, vastly reducing repairs.
Porous asphalt works with the water cycle!
Hard paved surfaces can create significant problems with runoff, especially when they tend to collect toxic chemicals over time. Porous asphalt is just as strong and long-lasting as normal asphalt, but this asphalt allows water to pass through it, just as regular soil would. There's no accumulation, and the water goes straight into nature's own recycling system.
Local contractors are part of the system!
When you hire a construction firm to clean up a site or prepare it to lay down new asphalt, pick a company that recycles its own materials. Not all of them do, but those who do are both realizing cost-savings on their own projects while directly helping to ensure we minimize the damage done by construction work.