Last year before I sold my house I had to replace a section of the roof. The shingles came off and went into the back of a truck I assumed went to the landfill. You can now insist your roofing be recycled.
Commercial roofing is typically EPDM, which is commonly referred to as rubber roofing, and comes in big sheets. Two items can be recycled in this case. Most times the sheet is held down with rock which can be reused over the new roof or removed and used for many purposes: landscaping, driveways, etc.
The EPDM sheets can be sent to a manufacturer like Firestone and recycled to become the backing or walkway pads on the roof. Or turned into rubber crumbs for climbing walls.
Asphalt shingles can be recycled too. Nearly 10 million tons of shingles are removed annually. According to my semi-scientific calculations, that would fill 10 to 15 801 Grand high rises with shingles. Things like nails need to be removed with magnets at the recycler, but in my case half the nails ended up in my yard.
Asphalt shingles can be recycled for many other things such as new shingles, asphalt pavement, and pothole patches.
Next time you see a reroof project, pass the info along. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org