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Recycling asphalt paving materials is safe when appropriately planned and implemented
A three-year study conducted in Denmark has examined the impact of replacing asphalt paving materials with recycled asphalt from old roads on the quality, safety and durability of new roads. YIT participated in the Danish study as an asphalt production expert.
Tens of per cent of the materials used to produce asphalt paving can be replaced with recycled asphalt collected from old roads without compromising on the new road’s quality, safety or durability. This fact, which has already been demonstrated in practice in Finland, has just been backed by scientific evidence from a 3-year research project conducted in Denmark.
The study was carried out by YIT, the Danish Technological Institute and the Danish Road Directorate as part of the Environmental Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (MUDP) funded by the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food.
In the study, comprehensive data was produced on the characteristics of wearing course of asphalt where 30 per cent of the material was replaced by recycled asphalt from old roads. Recycled asphalt currently represents only about 10 per cent of the asphalt wearing course’s raw material used in Denmark.
YIT offered the research project access to its comprehensive laboratory testing programme and served as an asphalt production expert. YIT was also responsible for the milling and processing of recycled asphalt as well as the development of recycled asphalt recipes. YIT also produced a two-kilometre asphalt research area on the motorway between Herning and Holstebro.
The project included a comprehensive life-cycle analysis of recycled asphalt to assess its environmental benefits. According to the results of the study, the increased use of recycling can achieve a significant reduction (approx. 14–22%) in the carbon dioxide emissions of asphalt production. The calculations produced in Denmark indicate that the asphalt industry could reduce CO2emissions by as much as 24,000 tonnes annually by increasing the use of recycled asphalt in the wearing course of roads.
“In Finland, recycled asphalt has been used in wearing course at levels as high as 50% with good results. With appropriate planning and implementation, these paving materials are highly functional,” notes Research Director Vesa Laitinen from YIT’s Finnish asphalt laboratory.
According to Laitinen, the scientific evidence produced in Denmark has great potential for use in Finland as well.
“Having more empirical data is always a good thing. What makes the Danish study particularly valuable is its three-year duration as well as the wide range of laboratory and field testing that was carried out,” Laitinen explains.
YIT believes sustainable development will take on an increasingly important role in paving in the next few years as low-temperature asphalt reduces energy consumption and emissions. In the future, asphalt can be 100% recycled and roads can be made more sustainable. Replacing bitumen in asphalt is a long-term goal. (Read more about YIT’s Future of Roads vision)
Danish Minister for Environment and Food Jacob Ellemann-Jensen has responded to the outcome of the research by encouraging the asphalt industry and municipalities to take the results of the study into consideration in practice.
“Thanks to this study, we finally have empirical data about the quality and environmental benefits of recycled asphalt. We have waited for the results for a long time. Now that we have them, it is hard to justify not using recycled asphalt,” says Lotte Josephsen, head of YIT’s asphalt laboratory in Denmark.
- Asphalt consists mainly of stone and the binding agent bitumen.
- As we reuse old asphalt, we conserve both solid rock and oil used for the production of bitumen.
- The use of recycled asphalt reduces the carbon footprint of paving.
For further information, please contact:
Vesa Laitinen, Director of Research and Product Development, YIT Paving, tel. +358 40 519 0059, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pauliina Pykälä, Communication Business Partner, Paving, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 40 354 3360, email@example.com
YIT is the largest Finnish and significant North European construction company. We develop and build apartments and living services, business premises and entire areas. We are also specialised in demanding infrastructure construction and paving. Together with our customers, our almost 10,000 professionals are creating more functional, more attractive and more sustainable cities and environments. We work in 11 countries: Finland, Russia, Scandinavia, the Baltic Countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The new YIT was born when over 100-year-old YIT Corporation and Lemminkäinen Corporation merged on February 1, 2018. Our pro forma revenue for 2018 was approximately EUR 3.8 billion. YIT Corporation's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy. www.yitgroup.com