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Business Supporting Member Focus: LEED Recycling

Farmers are no strangers to the benefits of recycling. Now, one of Farm Bureau’s newest Business Supporting members is offering a recycled product that many in the rural areas of San Diego County could find very useful and cost-effective as a road surface for their farming operations.

LEED Recycling processes recycled asphalt roofing waste, an oil-based product that has typically been going into local landfills, to the detriment of our environment. By grinding down the shingles, which have a 30 percent liquid asphalt content, LEED produces a highly durable, low-maintenance, dust-free road surface that is easily compacted by the sun’s heat and pressure from vehicle traffic. Once compacted, it is almost impervious to water and performs like asphalt paving at a fraction of the price of hot-mix asphalt pavement. It will not turn into mud, track onto roads, or distribute dust. It’s even portable—you can scrape it up and reinstall it in another location, and it will still retain most of its durable properties.

“Asphalt has been used for road surfaces for thousands of years,” explained LEED Recycling co-owner Lee Buby (pronounced “be-u-be”), who is also developing another end market for the product with CalTrans and local municipalities to use as an additive to hot-mix asphalt in public road projects. “It’s been done in other states for decades, but it’s still a somewhat new concept to California.”

LEED’s recycled asphalt shingles, at $30 per ton or less (depending upon volume purchased), is not only less expensive than hot-mix asphalt, it is also a more cost-effective option than recycled asphalt pavement (RAP), to which some people try to compare his product, said Buby. That’s because RAP, which runs as low as $10 per ton, contains only 5 percent liquid asphalt, even less if it’s been mixed with other pavements and aggregates—and behaves more like pulverized gravel than asphalt. That’s an important distinction, because the 30 percent liquid asphalt content from ground shingles is the key to the desirable road surface and dust-free characteristics that LEED’s product offers. And, when you consider that RAP weighs about 2.5 times as much as ground shingles to cover the same area, it becomes obvious which one is a better option.

LEED Recycling opened its doors just last year, in June 2009, after Buby, a CPA and corporate consultant specializing in process design, and old friend, Edward Clare III, who has spent much of his working life in the roofing and roof tear-off industry, shared a revelation. One day several years ago as the two were talking, Buby shared with Clare his aspiration to get more involved in the recycling industry. Clare mentioned his long-held frustration that most of his shingle tear-off projects end up in landfills. Soon after, Clare began researching the recycled asphalt roofing concept; the two sat down and evaluated the numbers, mapped out a business plan, and decided to start LEED Recycling.

“The primary objective of recycling is to send a waste material through the simplest process possible and make it desirable in another use as cheaply as you can,” said Buby, who hopes to expand the operation into more Southern California counties in the coming years.

LEED Recycling is increasing capacity to meet the growing demand of their product and offers Farm Bureau members a 15 percent discount. LEED Recycling, which can be reached at (858) 550-0919, can also refer customers to a third party contractor who can install the road, if needed.