United Kingdom – The use of composites is growing and the global market for composite products is expected to top US$ 95 billion by the year 2020, according to a new report from trade association Composites UK. The figure would represent an increase of 40% from 2014.
Inevitably, this substantial hike will result in more waste. ‘End-of-life waste for carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) is still small,’ researchers say. Production waste can be 30-50% of production volumes where prepreg processes are used, resulting in an estimated 2000 to 3000 tonnes per annum of CFRP waste in the UK.
Glass-reinforced polymer (GRP) manufacturing waste has been estimated at around 15 000 tonnes per annum in the UK (approximately 10% of manufactured parts, estimated to be 150 000 tonnes in 2014 for the UK and Ireland).
GRP waste is likely to amount to around 50 000-60 000 tonnes annually. ‘However, waste classification does not distinguish between FRP and other material so no accurate figure is available,’ researchers note.
There is a large volume of dry fibre waste, mostly from offcuts, converters making fabrics and veils, and from the fibre manufacturers themselves. In the UK, this could be around 15 000 tonnes, the biggest share of which is glass fibre. The report was jointly written by the three UK universities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Manchester.
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