The manufacture of glass fibre resins and glass strands has a low environmental impact when compared to other products such as steel and some plastics. There are times, however, when a GRP product comes to the end of its useful life and needs to be disposed of. Recycling by breaking down the product in to component parts can be very costly. A simple plant container doesn't have any additional materials added but a boat or a wind turbine will have timber, screws, metals and possibly glass components and these will need to be removed manually before the basic fibreglass parts are left.
It is now possible to use the fibreglass waste components in the production of cement. The resin in the fibreglass is used as part of the fuel for the very high temperatures needed for cement production and the glass in fibreglass is utilised as a proportion of the silica or sand required. Developed by two German companies, Zajons and Holcim (now Largfargeholcim), CompoCycle uses a patented process to convert fibreglass waste into a raw material and with the addition of other products to produce cement, there is no waste left over. http://www.holcim.com/referenceprojects/disused-rotor-blades-can-now-be-utilized-in-cement-production.html
The University Of Strathclyde is currently developing another method of glassfibre recycling: http://www.strath.ac.uk/rkes/fly/recycledglassfibreforcost-effectivecomposites/ and there is a New Zealand company that recycles: http://www.frpgreen.com/wa.asp?idWebPage=54642&idDetails=170
Discovering new methods to recycle difficult materials is admirable but it's much more desirable to make the materials more recyclable in the first place. Bio-resins have been developed using natural, sustainable sources that use less energy in production and produce less harmful waste on disposal and Eco-resins are products made in an environmentally friendly way with recycled materials. A Netherlands based company uses eco-resins for the production of beautifully shaped planters a few of which can be seen below. Call us at plantcontainershop.com for further details.