The GAF Certified Green Roofer (CGR) program recognizes professional roofing contractors for a variety of sustainable business practices, including asphalt

By keeping asphalt shingles out of landfills, the GAF Certified Green Roofer program is giving a boost to roofing contractors’ bottom lines.

shingle recycling. The program has been a big success, in part, due to contractors’ efforts in educating homeowners on roof sustainability. More than 250 professional roofing contractors have signed up since the inception of the program in Jan. 2011, and more join the program every day.

Most CGRs agree that the general public rarely brings up recycling opportunities on their own. Often, homeowners are initially more focused on price than environmental options when replacing their asphalt shingles.

“That’s why we take the time to educate them on what actually happens when their shingles are disposed of,” said Chris Lowe, vice president and owner of Kidd Roofing, a GAF Master Elite contractor and CGR in Austin, Texas. “We will more than likely be taking their shingles to a recycling center, and that really differentiates us from other contractors in the minds of potential customers.”

By keeping asphalt shingles out of landfills, the CGR program is also giving a boost to roofing contractors’ bottom lines. “Recycling is usually cheaper than using a landfill and it’s better for the environment,” agrees Chris Zazo, president and CEO of Aspenmark Roofing, a GAF Master Elite contractor and CGR in Dallas. “We can often measure the savings in avoiding flat tires alone. These recycling centers are typically much cleaner than a dump.”

In addition, a decline in available landfill space in some parts of the country and rising disposal costs have contributed to the viability of asphalt shingle recycling.

Besides the obvious benefits of the GAF program, it’s also become a lot easier to work with shingle recyclers, said Zazo. “Before, recyclers were pretty strict on how the loads had to be separated, but now they are capable of separating the waste on their end instead of on ours. You also need to retrain your subs to realize that recycling is not optional, and there is a financial advantage to doing the right thing.”

Moonworks, another GAF Master Elite contractor in Woonsocket, R.I., recently redesigned its in-home sales presentation around the CGR program. While it’s difficult to say whether the CGR designation has generated more sales for the company, a Moonworks spokesperson said the program “contributes to every sale that we make.”

This kind of educational effort is important because the majority of contractors surveyed by GAF said that homeowners are generally unaware of shingle recycling options.

“However, as awareness of ‘green’ roofing options is publicized, more people are starting to listen,” said CGR Shelly Metzler of Interstate Roofing, Portland, Ore.

From a practical perspective, there are times when shingle recycling will not make sense for a roofing contractor. However, as long as it is convenient and readily available, more and more roofing contractors will start recycling.

“Recycling is very convenient for us and not a hassle at all,” said Lowe. “Plus, as the roofing industry continues to experience potential shortages in asphalt, I don’t think we will have a choice but to recycle.”

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