5 Ways Roofers Can Celebrate Earth Day, Everyday

By Annie Crawford 04-19-2022
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Your work lives in the public eye, protecting families from the elements through the roofing systems you install. As a roofer, you can have just as much of an impact on protecting the planet as you do protecting homes. With a few simple strategies, you can help protect the earth, save yourself money, and build your company's reputation in sustainability. Consider adopting these five money- and environment-saving practices which can help further your efforts to protect the planet on Earth Day and beyond.

1. Swap Out Single-Use Plastic

Save money and the planet at the same time by limiting single-use plastics such as disposable water bottles. Up to 50% of single-use plastic is only in use for minutes before being thrown away, and much of it can't be recycled. Currently, more than 340 million tons of plastic are dumped in the ocean per year—roughly equivalent to one garbage truck per minute.

Your roofing company can make a difference by providing refillable water bottles. Swap out disposable plastic water bottles for a refillable water cooler strapped to your truck. The cost of multiple cases of plastic water bottles adds up quickly. A money-saving alternative is to provide your crew with company-branded water bottles they can refill from the water cooler throughout the day. This one-time expense can help save you money over time and reduces the stress on local landfills.

2. Bring Two Bins

Carry a bin for garbage and a bin for recycling in trucks. Rather than throwing recyclables into a single-use plastic garbage bag slated for the dump, designate a reusable bin for recyclables from the jobsite. Use a second bin to collect garbage. This system saves on purchasing garbage bags and reduces single-use plastic waste.

3. Save on Gas

Work trucks require plenty of fuel, which is why efficient gas use makes both financial and environmental sense.

Here's how to cut down on fuel costs and pollution:

  • Plan ahead for materials: Making multiple supply runs for one jobsite wastes time and gas. Sometimes an extra trip is unavoidable, but checking that all required items are in place can help curb extra driving.
  • Limit truck idling: Encourage your crew to avoid idling trucks for long periods of time, such as during lunch breaks. Idling uses fuel, creating unnecessary emissions and raising fuel costs. The planet—and surrounding jobsite neighbors—will thank you.

4. Recycle Asphalt Shingles

Imagine if the asphalt shingles you tear off during a reroof could be repurposed into new shingles rather than piling up in the dump. You don't have to—it's already possible.

Each year, roofers remove about 13 million tons of asphalt material. Approximately 10% of that becomes part of projects such as road paving. The remaining material represents a lot of garbage with a lot of potential.

The GAF RoofCycle™ Process plans to tap into that potential. GAF is able to use about 90 percent of the post-consumer shingle waste it collects and reintroduce it into the shingle manufacturing process. If scaled, this could put a lot of asphalt waste back to work—reducing both the need for virgin materials and the burden on landfills.

By routing used shingles into the system and educating customers about sustainable shingle options, roofers can play a key role in the future of asphalt recycling. Learn more and receive updates when the program becomes available in your area.

5. Promote Green Roofing

Customers are increasingly committed to helping the environment—71% of consumers are willing to pay more for a socially or environmentally friendly product. Take the opportunity when selling a roof to educate customers about green roofing options:

  • Talk solar shingles: Help customers explore the difference between the Timberline Solar™ roofing system and a traditional asphalt shingle roof. Homes may benefit from solar shingles, which can eliminate the need for a secondary solar panel contractor and highlight the streamlined aesthetic of architectural asphalt shingles.
  • Introduce asphalt recycling: Share the concept of asphalt recycling with customers so that they know their roof may have the potential to be repurposed into the circular roofing economy in the future.
  • Hype Your Efforts: Share how your company's policies—such as reducing single-use plastic—positively impact the world. Don't let your good efforts go unnoticed.

It's never too late to implement individual changes that can have a big impact. Strategies such as ditching single-use plastic can help save money, and using shingles that contain recycled material when they become available in your area can help build goodwill in your community. All of this can help keep our planet healthy.

It doesn't have to be Earth Day for you to think about how you can get involved in more sustainable roofing practices. Get inspired and learn more about how GAF is investing in the shared future of our planet by visiting gaf.com/sustainability.

Annie Crawford is a freelance writer in Oakland, CA, covering travel, style, and home improvement. Find more of her work at annielcrawford.com.
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