How to Dispose of Tar Roofing Material

Some components of tar roofing material are considered hazardous and therefore there are rules to ensure you dispose of it safely.There are different procedures to dispose of tar roofing material that depend on what county or city you live in, and you may need a permit before you begin a roof removal project.

Tar roofing removal does not have to be left to the experts.


Contact local construction companies for advice on how and where to dispose of tar roofing materials.


Roofing adhesives may be hazardous and you should use protective wear when handling. According to the EPA, "Shingle recycling may require siting, waste handling and/or processing permits, thus recyclers should work closely with their state and local environmental agencies to acquire proper permits and to ensure adequate handling for and testing of potential haz-mats."


  1. Research your county's solid waste guidelines to find the specific disposal regulations by going onto the county's waste management website. Find out if the county has a recycling facility for used roofing materials and what the guidelines are for recycling them. If your county does not have have a recycling program for used roofing materials, search construction recycling facilities in your area online through websites such as recycle.net or the Construction Materials Recycling Association website.

  2. Put on breathing mask, gloves and safety glasses before handling any roofing material.

  3. Prepare your work area by gathering your wheelbarrow, tarps, utility knife and nail magnet.

Separating and Sorting

  1. Separate roofing materials by tearing apart tar paper from shingles and putting them in separate piles.

  2. Use the claw to grab the nail and pull.
  3. Pull out the nails from the shingles by working the nails back and forth with your fingers until they come out, or by using the claw of a hammer to grab onto the nail head and pull it out. Place nails in a pile.

  4. Folding utility knife
  5. Sort through the shingle pile and cut all shingles down to less that 8 inches by turning each oversized shingle onto its smooth side and cutting it into smaller pieces with your utility knife.

  6. Grab your nail magnet by the handle and glide the magnetic bottom across the ground surrounding your pile as well as throughout your sorted piles for nails or staples you may have missed. Set the nails and staples aside for recycling.