Australian developer Lendlease is using fungus to break down asphalt shingle waste while creating a reusable by-product.
Lendlease is working with waste company Rubicon, Mycocycle and recycling firm Rockwood on the “mycoremediation” technology, which uses fungi as a decontaminant.
Asphalt roofing shingles were collected from Lendlease’s recent re-roofing project at Fort Campbell Army installation in Kentucky, where the waste product from 214 homes would have normally gone straight to landfill.
Shingle samples were gathered and transported to Rockwood Sustainable Solutions’ facility in Lebanon, Tennessee, where Mycocycle performed what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind pilot study by mixing it with three strains of fungi.
Sara Neff, Lendlease Americas’ head of sustainability, said: “This partnership has the potential to be a template for the future. Of those 11 to 13 million tons of asphalt shingles dumped in landfills each year, only 5-10% are being recycled.
“Taking a product that is no longer viable and combining it with a natural renewable source that results in a new product is a phenomenal outcome that is both beneficial to the environment and bolsters the economy.”