Earth Day (April 22) always raises everyone’s environmental awareness for a brief moment, but landfills continue to rise throughout the rest of the year. The state of Maine alone creates more than 100,000 tons of re-roofing waste annually. When Horch Roofing calculated that they were contributing 500 tons to that pile every year, they made a drastic change in policy that has paid off in more ways than one.
As part of their commitment to green roofing and eco friendly construction, Horch Roofing began their Reroof and Recycle program in the spring of 2010. In honor of Earth Day, the company set an ambitious goal to recycle 100 percent of their roofing waste. Since then, Horch Roofing has recycled 5,601,247 pounds of roofing debris and materials from thousands of projects. In addition to reducing landfill waste, the program has impacted the business and its customers.
Business owner and founder Peter Horch cites an epiphany he had during a visit to the local Camden dump. Upon seeing the mountain of trash produced by his company, he vowed to clean up his operation. “We realized that our company alone was generating about 2 tons of waste each day, accounting for over 1 million pounds a year,” Horch explains. “We wanted to do something about our share.”
After attending the 2009 Juice Conference, a national leadership event held in Camden, Horch developed the idea for his Reroof and Recycle program. He quickly discovered that his customers, which include residential and commercial clients, were just as interested in protecting their environment as he was. Horch recounts receiving a phone call from an individual who was concerned about the environmental impact of demolishing a barn and burning the asphalt shingles. Fortunately, he had educated himself and knew how to help.
Horch partners with two other Maine businesses, Doug Fales Selective Cutting and CPRC Group, to transport and convert waste into recycled goods. CPRC Group separates the roofing waste using massive magnets to remove the nails from shingles. Cleaned nails are sold as metal scrap, and pulverized shingles are combined with other waste materials to create aggregates used in making roads and parking lots.
As part of CPRC Group’s Ton-to-Ton exchange program, Horch Roofing receives one ton of recycled material for each ton of roofing waste they turn in. Some of that recycled material is now part of the company’s three-acre parking lot, which has significantly reduced rain runoff.
Horch claims recycling has now become part of company culture. That commitment starts in the office, which means you had better drop your empty soda cans in the correct bin. Eco friendly construction benefits everyone, which is why Horch proudly proclaims, “I sincerely hope that other local construction and roofing contractors are motivated to follow in our footsteps to make every day Earth Day.”