Recycling: old myths and new methods

News on topics such as recycling, waste management, energy from waste or sustainability are almost everywhere. We do not have a planet B, thus, we have to protect our limited resources on earth and apply the raw materials mindfully.
Published in Sustainability

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Clearly, our only solution is to utilize them rationally and design efficient and cost-effective procedures to re-use them. In the old days, all processed raw materials were discarded as waste at the end of their lifetime. Today, their potential contributions to economic, social and environmental sustainability are more frequently recognized.

Carbon waste, electric and electronic waste, municipal waste and packaging waste are increasing which indicate the necessity of a move towards a circular economy. Worldwide each nation tries to be a recycling champion while the often-forgotten fact is the value of recycling without dire consequences for the environment. 

In their article for SN Applied Sciences, Dr. Gopalraj and Dr. Kärki from the Fibre Composite Laboratory in Finland provide a full overview on cost-effective and environmentally friendly methods for recycling of carbon fibres and glass fibre composites. While these materials continue to play a key role in the growth and development of many sensitive industries.

This review paper provides a valuable platform for researchers and decision makers working in the field of carbon fibres and glass fibres by providing a clear picture of the options available to recycle these materials and the methods of developing value-added products using their waste. It also emphasizes the intrinsic recyclability and energy recovery options of these materials and opens new perspectives on the topic. 

 Last but not  least, the authors successfully identified the research gaps of the field by highlighting the needs in closing the life-cycle loop of these valuable fibres into re-manufactured composites. 

A review on the recycling of waste carbon fibre/glass fibre‑reinforced composites: fibre recovery, properties and life‑cycle analysis

Sankar Karuppannan Gopalraj, Timo Kärk

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