Report: 95 percent of RAP reused in new pavement

By |  January 26, 2023
According to NAPA, 82 million tons of RAP, along with 1.05 million tons of RAS, were used in 389.3 million tons of new asphalt pavement mixes in the U.S. in 2018. Photo by Kevin Yanik

The use of reclaimed asphalt pavement continues to grow nationwide, according to the National Asphalt Pavement Association. Photo: P&Q Staff

A survey conducted by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) examining the use of recycled materials and warm-mix asphalt in paving reveals that 95 percent of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) is reused in new pavement.

The average percentage of RAP used in mixtures was nearly 22 percent in 2021, compared with 15.6 percent in 2009, the first year of the survey.

The survey, which also evaluated greenhouse gas emissions, found that annual RAP use saved 2.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent – equal to removing 570,000 passenger vehicles from the road.

According to the survey, producers used 94.6 million tons of RAP in asphalt production in 2021 and conserved 26 million barrels of asphalt binder while replacing more than 89 million tons of virgin aggregates. Combined with the savings realized with using 630,000 tons of reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS), the study estimates that producers saved more than $3.5 billion last year while freeing up nearly 62 million cu. yd. of landfill space.

“The latest ‘Asphalt Pavement Industry Survey on Recycled Materials and Warm-Mix Asphalt Usage’ has new data but a familiar conclusion: Our industry takes sustainability seriously,” says James Mitchell, CEO of Superior Paving Corp. who also serves NAPA as chairman. “Quantifying our impact in this way began in 2009 through partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, and each year it reveals that the asphalt pavement industry is a leader in connecting the country while keeping waste out of landfills.”

Using data from 261 companies, the NAPA survey tracks use of another 1.3 million tons of other recycled materials incorporated into nearly 9.2 million tons of asphalt pavement mixtures, including recycled tire rubber, blast furnace slag, steel slag and cellulose fibers.

In addition to RAP and RAS, the NAPA survey documents the use of warm-mix asphalt, a technique used to produce 177.9 million tons of mix or roughly 41 percent of the total estimated asphalt mixture market in 2021. While this represents a 5 percent reduction from the 186.4 million tons of warm-mix asphalt reported in 2020, the authors note that tonnage is up almost tenfold from 2009.

“NAPA members have led the way in reusing pavements and engineering innovations like warm-mix asphalt,” says Audrey Copeland, NAPA president and CEO. “The increased implementation of these technological solutions demonstrates how our industry continually works together with suppliers, road owners and the best available science to find and implement climate-friendly innovations that work for the public good.”

Nearly 1,400 production plants representing 261 companies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia were surveyed. Data was gathered between January 2022 and August 2022.

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or

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