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Trek Bicycle adopts carbon fibre recycling

USA – After a trial with Materials Innovation Technologies (MIT), fellow US firm Trek Bicycle is now recycling carbon fibre trimmings, non-compliant moulded parts and reclaimed warranty bike frames. The business has instituted a programme at its manufacturing facility in Waterloo, Wisconsin, through which it is now recycling all scrap carbon fibre.

Through a partnership with MIT of North Carolina and its wholly-owned subsidiary MIT-RCF, a South Carolina carbon fibre reclamation facility, Trek undertook the three-month trial to determine the viability of adopting recycling as part of the manufacturing process. ‘Throughout the trial period, we worked with Trek to show them how beneficial carbon recycling can be to their overall business practices,’ says MIT’s President and CEO Jim Stike. ‘Working with a world leader like Trek to help them become the first bicycle company to begin recycling carbon fibre is very exciting for us.’
Throughout the manufacturing process, Trek collects excess trimmings and non-compliant moulded parts, combining them with reclaimed warranty frames to send to MIT’s South Carolina facility for reclamation. Reclaimed carbon fibre is being used in reinforced thermoplastic applications, while research and development is on-going for its use in automotive, aerospace, medical and recreational applications.
‘One of the company’s major initiatives is that we will work to drive more eco-friendly processes into everything that we do,’ says Trek’s Senior Composites Manufacturing Engineer James Colegrove. ‘Carbon fibre recycling holds massive potential, not just for Trek but the entire industry.’

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