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Recycling boats becomes possible with Composite Recycling

Composite Recycling developed an innovative technology to close the loop on glass fibre reinforced plastics, common in boats, planes, trains, and wind turbines.

Composite Recycling team

Could you explain what your startup does in a few sentences?

Composite Recycling has developed a process to recycle glass fibre composites, like those found in boat hulls or wind turbine blades, sustainably and profitably. We use a recycling process designed specifically for composite materials to separate the plastic resin from the glass fibres and a post-treatment process to recover the properties of the glass fibre to near virgin quality. To treat the bulky waste, we deploy mobilized recycling units and capture energy from the process to self-power so we require no external energy source. We sell the recyclates in the form of a glass fibre mat and a pyrolysis oil to make new plastics and composites, closing the loop.


How did your idea come about? The founding team of Composite Recycling are all recreational sailors and nature lovers. We were frustrated that our beautiful sailboats were made of non-recyclable plastic with practically no end-of-life solution other than landfill. Looking into recycling composites, we realized it was much bigger than just boats and that it had been tried for many years but was never economically feasible. We immediately started looking at the existing infrastructure for the collection and deconstruction of boats and made strategic compromises to develop a profitable solution to recycle the boat hulls which fit their needs.


What is the most innovative part of your startup? And what kind of impact are you aiming to create?

Composite Recycling has several key innovations. The first is a unique patent-pending pyrolysis reactor, specifically designed to recycle glass fibre composites while maintaining the quality of the recovered glass fibres. The second is a mobile recycling unit designed to treat waste at the source, such as a boat deconstruction site and a decommisioned wind farm, which can quickly and easily be redeployed to new sites as needed. Lastly, we have a post-processing process for the recovered glass fibres which returns them to near virgin quality.


What’s in the pipeline for Composite Recycling?

We currently have a lot in the pipeline. Most importantly, we are scaling up our demonstrator unit to our first industrial 2 tonne/day reactor to be completed Q1 2023 and we are working on a strategic partnership to develop the infrastructure to treat and sell the recovered glass fibres in industrial quantities. In addtion, we have hired new staff to develop a recyclability certification for our clients and to set up B-Corp certification and have started running the recycling demonstrator out of our new workshop in Ecublens.