Asphalt shingles contain toxins that can be harmful to plants, wildlife and humans if they are not disposed of properly. If the shingles were manufactured between 1963 and 1977, they also may contain cancer-causing asbestos and require special handling. If you suspect your shingles might contain asbestos, contact a roof-removal professional; otherwise, consider recycling them. New shingles left over from a roofing project can be donated to a charity building organization or a building materials exchange program.
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Recycle for Roads
Recyclers give asphalt shingles a second life as other products, most often as paving material for roads. Unlike recyclers that accept aluminum cans and scrap metal, most asphalt-shingle recyclers don't pay you, and you may have to pay a fee to drop off the shingles. However, that often is less expensive than disposing of them at a landfill, and it is better for the environment. Contact the recycling company before hauling your load to its site to see if there are any special requirements, such as how the load is cleaned and sorted, and whether the hours for accepting asphalt shingles are limited.
To the Dump
If there are no recycling companies in your area, you may have no choice but to dispose of the shingles at the landfill. Depending on the laws in your state, the landfill may need to have a special permit to accept asphalt shingles. Call ahead to verify you can dispose of the shingles at your local landfill and whether there are any special requirements. Some landfills have shortened hours for large loads, and others may require you to separate the shingles from other roofing materials.