When deciding on a “green” option for paving your parking lot, Asphalt is not as much of a burden on the environment as some may think. Asphalt is made from bitumen and aggregate. In other words, crushed stone mixed with the sticky leftovers from refined petroleum makes the asphalt used for parking lots, driveways and roads. The mix is heated, poured, leveled and compacted to make a hard, smooth, durable surface. Because of the petroleum content, some think asphalt isn’t the greenest paving option.
Oil (or liquid asphalt) makes up only 5% of the asphalt pavement material. The other 95% is aggregate. Calculating the carbon footprint takes more than just the materials that go into it. The petroleum required for asphalt is a leftover; a by-product that would otherwise be discarded in a landfill of some sort. When old asphalt is eventually replaced, the material removed is reused to make new asphalt.
Asphalt pavements are America’s most recycled product. According to a recent survey by the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the asphalt industry recycles asphalt pavements at a rate of over 99%. Reduce, reuse and recycle. With asphalt, you’re reducing the need to consume more resources because the pavement lasts longer. Old materials are saved for reuse, and recycled into new asphalt.