Towards closing the loop on glass fibres recycled from end-of-life and waste GRP

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The recovery and reuse of end-of-life GRP in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective manner is one of the most important challenges facing the composites industry. In 2015 the global consumption of reinforcement grade glass fibre (GF) exceeded 5 million tons. Associated with this global GF consumption is the production of 0.5-1 million tons of GF manufacturing waste most of which is landfilled. Furthermore, approximately 70% of reinforcement GF is used to manufacture thermoset based composites (GRP) which also produces approximately 15% manufacturing waste. Consequently it can be shown that there is actually sufficient GF available in current manufacturing waste and end-of-life GRP to meet approximately 50% of the global demand for GF reinforcements. However, such GF and GRP materials (both end-of-life and manufacturing waste) are difficult to recycle in an efficient manner and have historically also been disposed of in landfills. Such landfilling is rapidly becoming untenable due to legislative and landfill pricing developments.

A number of processes for recycling GRP are available or under development. However, nearly all options deliver recycled glass fibres (RGF) which are not cost-performance competitive due to the huge drop in performance of RGF compared to its original state. A breakthrough in the regeneration of RGF performance has the potential to totally transform the economics of recycling GRP waste and end-of-life composites. The Advanced Composite Group at the University of Strathclyde has been working on this challenge for over a decade. This presentation will review the status of the ReCoVeR project which is focussed on enabling cost-effective regeneration of the performance and value of glass fibres obtained from thermal recycling of end-of-life GRP and GRP manufacturing waste. Highlights of our latest results will be presented with emphasis on our breakthrough treatments to regenerate the properties of thermally recycled glass fibres and their reuse as a composite reinforcement.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2019
EventSociety for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering: Sustaining Composites Growth in Adverse Environments - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jun 20196 Jun 2019


ConferenceSociety for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • composites
  • glass fibres
  • recycling


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