The National Association of Manufacturers has recognised Boeing’s aerospace carbon fibre recycling scheme with a 2020 Sustainability Leadership Award. The aircraft OEM has partnered with UK-based ELG Carbon Fibre since 2018 for the scheme, whereby Boeing collects the scrap material, and ELG removes binding agents by treating it in a furnace. The resulting material can be sold to third parties for use in electronic accessory and automotive equipment manufacturing.
“Boeing is demonstrating that you can be environmentally sustainable in a cost-effective way,” said Bryan Scott, vice president of environment, health and safety at Boeing. “We are the largest consumer of aerospace-grade composite and the only company able to recycle 100% of it.”
The carbon fibre recycling process has now been implemented at 11 of Boeing’s global aircraft manufacturing sites. Most excess carbon fibre comes from sites in Australia, the Puget Sound region of Washington state, and Salt Lake City, Utah. Boeing will train companies on the recycling process, beginning with its supply chain.
“Creating commercially viable solutions for recycling carbon fibre composites is good for the industry and good for the environment – it’s a win-win,” said Tia Benson Tolle, director of advanced materials and product development at Boeing.
Boeing is working to achieve several environmental goals by 2025, which include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25%, water use and solid waste to landfill by 20%, energy use by10%, and hazardous waste at worksites by 5%.