Environmental Benefits of Cold-in-Place Recycling

The United States uses approximately 1.3 billion tons of aggregate every year, 58% of which is for road construction. Furthermore, 90% of aggregate used in road construction is virgin aggregate. With the increasing cost of virgin material sand the growing pressure to build more sustainably, the use of recycled materials in roads is becoming increasingly widespread. The triple bottom line of sustainability requires that a project is economically, socially, and environmentally beneficial relative to conventional methods. Cold-in-In-Place Recycling (CIR) is a method for highway resurfacing that has become more widely used in the past decade for its demonstrated benefits to the triple bottom line.

The project objective was to quantify the environmental life cycle benefits associated with using Cold-in-Place Recycling (CIR) for highway resurfacing instead of the conventional Mill and Overlay process. Equipment used and the quantity of materials used for both the CIR process and what would have been used in the Mill and Overlay process for the same project were collected for nine highway projects in Wisconsin. With this information, a life cycle assessment (LCA) tool, Pavement Life-cycle Assessment tool for Environment and Economic Effects (PaLATE) was used to analyze and compare each project’s data.

More information may be found in the following file:

Environmental Benefits of CIR TRB Report