Movers & Shakers 2010: Shane Ducholke, president of Environmental Processors

He's shaking up the norm with asphalt shingle recycling operations

Did you know that an estimated 1.25 million metric tons of asphalt shingles are thrown away in Canada each year?

About 35,000 metric tons of that comes from the Edmonton area.

Did you know that if all the hot mix asphalt projects in Canada over the course of a year were to use just five per cent recycled shingles in the mix, there could be a 90,000-ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions?

Shane Ducholke does. Plus he can recite a plethora of other statistics related to the same subject.

Ducholke is president of Environmental Processors Inc., a small company - "We're seven people but we're growing" - that bills itself as the only closed looped shingle processing facility in Alberta. In other words, it receives, sorts and processes waste asphalt shingles and then sells the recycled material to be used by asphalt producers in hot mix asphalt cement.

There's no question this is a niche industry. But it's one Ducholke believes has a lot of potential - not to mention environmental benefits.

"What we do now is not going to make a difference in our lifetime," he says. "It's for our kids [and] the next generations."

Roofers drop off their old or unused shingles - separating plastic wrapping, wood scraps and scrap metal in bins - which is then loaded into a specialized grinding machine and ground up once a month.

"Ninety-nine per cent of what you see came from roofers," Ducholke says, pointing to three huge piles of old asphalt shingles at his company's southeast Edmonton location.

Environmental Processors charges companies to drop off their old shingles. "It's half the price of the landfill," Ducholke says. And it sells the ground asphalt to companies for use in hot mix product.

Ducholke, who spent more than 15 years in the trash and recycling businesses before setting out on his own, believes that the secret to success is to focus on one thing.

"We specialize in shingle recycling," he says matter-of-factly. "Unless you have people in one area of recycling, you won't be successful."

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