Sustainable Composites

Sustainability is fast becoming a global priority with a huge drive for change. As a society, our passion for sustainability from a moral perspective has grown rapidly, and there are now strong zero carbon legislation targets mandated across industries in a bid to reduce their impact on the environment.

Today, composites already support the drive to a carbon neutral future through:

  • light-weighting to reduce emissions 
  • manufacturing higher performance products, such as larger wind turbine blades to generate more renewable energy
  • increasing the lifespan of products by decades, through corrosion resistance and durability.

But there is more that we need to do. Currently, there are a limited number of options to reuse and recycle composites and they often degrade the materials’ performance. As a result, only 15% of the 110,000 tonnes of composites produced in the UK each year will be reused or recycled at end-of-life. Additionally, more than 95% of composites are made from raw materials and resins that are unsustainable.

We need to act now to develop composite materials sustainably for the next generation of lightweight, super efficient planes, cars and ships. This is what the Sustainable Composites partnership has been set up to deliver. The UK now has the opportunity to take the lead in the development of sustainable composites. Globally, end-of-life composite components have the potential to be worth in excess of £2bn per annum, which will grow exponentially with the further adoption of composites across all markets.

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