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Glass Fibre Reinforced Thermosets are Recyclable and Compliant with EU Legislation

05 July 2011

The European Plastics Converters (EuPC), the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) and the European Composite Recycling Service Company (ECRC) welcome the End-of-Life of Vehicles Directive and the Waste Framework Directive.

These directives outline that glass fibre reinforced thermosets are both material and energy recyclable through the cement kiln route and compliant with the EU legislation.

According to EuCIA, the recycling of glass fibre reinforced thermosets parts has been studied extensively for many years and three recycling technologies yield potential waste management solutions:


? Material recycling which involves grounding of glass fibre reinforced thermoset parts to a recyclate that can be used as a new raw material with reinforcing properties in composite parts and in other products that need reinforcement. It can also be used as filler.

? Chemical recycling which involves chemically dissolving polyester and re-using it in new polyester. Fibres can be used for reinforcing purposes.

? Co-processing where waste materials from the Cement Industry are used as a substitute for fossil fuels and natural resources. Co-processing is both material and energy recycling. EuCIA state that this is the best option for glass fibre reinforced thermosets recycling.

According to EuCIA, the Composites Industry supported and founded several projects which showed that glass fibre reinforced thermosets parts are recyclable and can successfully be fed into a cement kiln as a substitute for other raw materials and for primary fuel. With the developed cement kiln route, the waste parts are co-processed into valuable new material finding its way in the final cement. The cement kiln route is a recycling process compliant with the recycling definition in the Waste Framework Directive.

EuCIA states that following the outcomes of the recycling technologies developed so far, the European composites industry considers the cement kiln route to be the most sustainable solution for waste management of glass fibre reinforced thermoset parts.






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