The composites sector chain ends with solutions to the end-of-use issue for thermoset composites. Completing the last link in the chain calls for a focus on end-product applications. In this context, waste is synonymous with raw material.
Recycling volumes still seem small; many applications have not yet reached the end of their lifecycle. The social problem is looming, so preparing for it is essential for the sector. Composite processors cannot yet apply their recycling concepts in their current production and product range. The demand for information about actual waste streams is acknowledged. ‘How big is the problem in actual fact?’ Input and insight into which waste streams exist and where they end up for the recyclers business case. In this respect, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment commissioned a report entitled ‘Opzet Monitoringssystematiek Composietsstromen’, or ‘Design for monitoring methodology for composite streams’. (The full report is available for members of CompositesNL.) The research findings can serve as a basis for determining the extent of composite waste streams in the next ten to twenty years.
Recycling has to be sorted out!
The CompositesNL’s sustainability working group can play a role in the following aspects:
• Supporting recycling initiatives in the Netherlands.
• Bringing composite companies together to promote the logistics aspects of collecting composite waste (for instance, through a central collection point for production waste).
• Being a point of contact for major recyclers, government authorities and the media where it concerns the recycling of composites.
• Contacting sector associations and initiatives in this field in other countries.
• Supporting recycling initiatives at university colleges and universities.
The Sustainability Working Group holds meetings with inspirational speakers from the sector who focus on this theme so that together we can find out which conclusions can be drawn.