Are composite materials sustainable? Here's how we're solving their hidden waste problem

Composites have proved their durability in many applications – from doors and kitchen sinks in your home to wind turbine blades and aeroplanes. But do you know the impact they have on the environment?

Because composite materials are made from binding two or more materials together, they can be difficult to recycle. Only 15% of the 110,000 tonnes of composites produced in the UK each year will be reused or recycled at end-of-life. And common composites such as carbon fibre or glass fibre use lots of fossil-based energy in their production. So, how can we keep using these incredible materials whilst reducing their impact on the planet? Dan Noakes, Grand Challenge Lead for Packaging at CPI, a deep tech innovation organisation in Teesside, UK, explores how we’re helping to make composites more sustainable: 1. Developing separating techniques to enable the raw materials to be recycled 2. Optimising the raw materials for reuse 3. Creating sustainable composites made from biopolymers rather than fossil fuels.

JEC Group is the world's leading company dedicated entirely to the development of information and business connections channels and platforms supporting the growth and promotion of the composite materials industry. Publisher of the JEC Composites Magazine, the industry's reference magazine, JEC Group drives global innovation programs and organizes several events in the world, including JEC World (the foremost and world-leading international exhibition dedicated to composite materials and their applications), which takes place every year in Paris.