Malarkey Roofing Products honors Earth Day, every day at all of our facilities, and we encourage our business partners to act sustainably as well. As a family company based in Oregon, we are especially focused on maintaining the quality of our business and environment for future generations. Over our six decades, we have continually sought to improve product performance and service life, while limiting impact on the environment. While we have always been focused on building a better roofing shingle, we also created innovative ways to do so more sustainably. Today, the key ingredient, the ‘super glue’ used in all of our roofing shingles is NEX™ polymer modified asphalt – made with polymers from upcycled materials. This is just one of the many ways we honor Earth Day, every day at Malarkey Roofing Products.
History of Earth Day
In the spring of 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to force environmental issues onto the national stage. Twenty million Americans demonstrated across the country, and by December of that year congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Earth Day now includes events in more than 193 countries, coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network. The Earth Day Network works year-round to solve climate change, to end plastic pollution, to protect endangered species, and to broaden, educate, and activate the environmental movement across the globe.
Choosing Polymers Over Pollutants
Shortly after the creation of Earth Day, Malarkey Roofing Products began researching the use of polymers in roofing products to address problems with oxidized asphalt roofing shingles. Our research and development team identified additional, specialized polymers which can be utilized in the asphalt to improve flexibility without sacrificing other attributes. Their findings then yielded a specific formula for the asphalt’s modification. By 1976, this blend became the popular Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene (SBS) polymer modified asphalt. These SBS polymers also provided the company a way to make asphalt roofing shingles without the creation of air pollutants from the asphalt oxidation process.
The Problem of Plastics
Malarkey Roofing Products recognizes the problems with rubber and single-use plastics dominating our waste stream and littering our planet. Single-use plastics and rubber are among the primary materials found in landfills (and oceans) across the world. Reported in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, a recent study has found that, “of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled.”
While the scale of the plastic problem can be daunting, it also presents an opportunity. Through our research, Malarkey has learned that certain plastics contain valuable polymers for roofing shingles. We have also coordinated for the extraction of these polymers from waste material to upcycle them into our high-performance, polymer modified asphalt. These valuable polymers are now included in all of our NEX™ roofing shingle lines.
Whereas recycling is the process of turning waste into a reusable material, upcycling is a specific form of recycling that turns waste into a material or product that is of a higher quality. Modifying the asphalt with upcycled polymers improves the roofing shingle’s durability and performance for a longer period. Since synthetic polymers available for the asphalt modification are diverse in construction and characteristics, many of the most valuable polymers for roofing shingles can be found in upcycled materials like plastics and rubber. Malarkey adds polymers to, among other things, elevate the softening point of the asphalt, making it more flexible and resistant to UV degradation. This improvement also extends the roofing shingle’s durability and performance in a variety of conditions, such as cold weather installation.
At the beginning of this year, in each manufacturing facility, Malarkey uses upcycled materials for NEX™ polymer modified asphalt is in all Malarkey roofing shingles. At this scale of production, the reduction of environmental impact is substantial:
- For every ton of recycled plastic used, 4 barrels of oil and 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space are saved.
- Additionally, for every pound of recycled tire rubber used, one pound of carbon dioxide is prevented from being released into the atmosphere.
This means Malarkey is building durable, performance driven roofing products with limited impact on natural resources.
For the homeowner, with an average-sized roof of roughly 3,000 square feet (30 roofing squares) with NEX™ shingles, the reclaimed quality material equates to roughly 5.5 tires and 350 milk jugs.
Furthermore, at the end of their service lives, asphalt roofing shingles themselves can be ground up and repurposed into material for road paving. The reduction in environmental impact is dramatic, but the focus has always been to create a better roofing shingle.
In closing, Malarkey Roofing Products manufactures performance-driven shingles that withstand extreme weather conditions with an extended service life on the roof. Today, we’re doing so with sustainability in mind, using polymers from upcycled materials. Simply put, it is the NEX™ step in our continuous innovation to manufacture premium quality roofing shingles. It is the same goal we’ve had since 1956, and the same goal we’ll pursue tomorrow.