Largest roofing recycling project in North America completed by Sika Sarnafil

GM Facility in Michigan Site for Major Vinyl Recycling Effort.

February 15, 2011 |

CANTON, Mass. – In a real-world demonstration of “closed loop” recycling, Sika Sarnafil completed the largest vinyl roofing recycling project in North America last July at a General Motors Customer Care & Aftersales building in Lansing, Michigan. 

This extensive project involved the reroofing of 475,000 sq. ft. of roof, nearly 1,000,000 sq. ft. of recycled vinyl roofing membrane, and was conducted in two phases over a two-year period.  The old vinyl membrane removed in Lansing during phase one was reprocessed and later used in the manufacture of new vinyl membrane. Some of the new vinyl membrane installed at the GM facility during phase two contained recycled vinyl recovered from phase one.

The project was part of GM’s Landfill-Free plant program in which the world’s largest automaker recycles or reuses all waste materials. Currently, GM has 74 manufacturing plants across the globe that do not send waste to landfills. On average, more than 97 percent of waste materials from these plants are recycled or reused and about 3 percent is converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities. 

The GM plant houses automotive parts for distribution to dealerships and remained operational throughout the project.  Each phase of the work required the removal of two layers of roofing membrane.  The recycling of the older roof membrane diverted about 120 tons of waste from local landfills.  

Sika Sarnafil’s energy-efficient vinyl roof membrane was installed during both phases to provide the facility with watertight protection.  The membrane’s white surface reflects the sun’s rays to decrease heat flow through the building envelope and, consequently, reduces the energy consumption required for building air-conditioning.

“Sika Sarnafil is proud to be part of this project that could provide important lessons for the building industry as it relates to waste elimination and environmental commitment,” said Brian J. Whelan, Senior Vice President of Sika Sarnafil. “Sika Sarnafil’s Roof Recycling Program creates a strong bond between the manufacturer, contractors, building owners and the government with a goal to benefit the environment through waste reduction.”

Carl Reinke, project manager for General Motors, said, “Sika Sarnafil was a real benefit because they were the only manufacturer that did the recycling themselves.”

Each phase of the project was completed in total by an authorized Sika Sarnafil contractor —  ChristenDETROIT of Detroit, Michigan was responsible for phase one, and National Roofing and Sheet Metal Co. of Burton, Michigan completed the second phase.   Trucks that delivered the new roofing membrane were available to transport the old roofing material away for recycling, thereby increasing the transportation efficiency and reducing costs.

The elimination of tipping fees normally incurred to dispose of older membrane typically offsets, in large part or in total, any additional costs associated with the handling, storing, and shipping of the recycled membrane.

Todd Sova of National Roofing and Sheet Metal said, “Despite the extra work, I would look forward to doing this again.  When you see the trucks driving away with all this old roofing material that would normally end up in a landfill, it is nice to see it going to be recycled into new roofing. Owners need to understand this benefit, and GM understands it well.”

“GM’s goal is to minimize waste with an aggressive program to recycle and repurpose waste at our manufacturing sites,” said John Bradburn, manager of GM’s waste reduction efforts. “The recycling effort on the Lansing building fits perfectly in extending our stewardship, and I hope it sets an example with the construction and the automotive industry. Sika Sarnafil’s efforts in recycling point to a company that has a good customer relationship and end-of-life solution.” 

About Sika AG

Sika AG, headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, is a globally active company supplying the specialty chemicals market. It is a leader in processing materials used in sealing, bonding, damping, reinforcing and protecting load-bearing structures in construction (buildings and infrastructure construction) and in industry (vehicle, building component and equipment construction). Sika’s product lines feature high-quality concrete admixtures, specialty mortars, sealants and adhesives, damping and reinforcing materials, structural strengthening systems, industrial flooring and roofing and waterproofing membranes. Sika AG has subsidiaries in more than 70 countries worldwide, including Canton, MA and approximately 12,000 employees link customers directly to Sika and guarantee the success of all of its business relationships. With this business structure, Sika generates annual sales of CHF 4.2 billion.

For more information about Sika Sarnafil in the U.S., visit .

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