08 February 2020

Wind turbine blades can't be recycled

As explained at Bloomberg:
The municipal landfill in Casper, Wyoming, is the final resting place of 870 blades whose days making renewable energy have come to end...

Tens of thousands of aging blades are coming down from steel towers around the world and most have nowhere to go but landfills. In the U.S. alone, about 8,000 will be removed in each of the next four years. Europe, which has been dealing with the problem longer, has about 3,800 coming down annually through at least 2022, according to BloombergNEF. It’s going to get worse: Most were built more than a decade ago, when installations were less than a fifth of what they are now...

Wind power is carbon-free and about 85% of turbine components, including steel, copper wire, electronics and gearing can be recycled or reused. But the fiberglass blades remain difficult to dispose of. With some as long as a football field, big rigs can only carry one at a time, making transportation costs prohibitive for long-distance hauls...

On social media, posters derided the inability to recycle something advertised as good for the planet, and offered suggestions of reusing them as links in a border wall or roofing for a homeless shelter.
More at the link, via Kottke.


  1. couldn't they chip them and use the chips in concrete manufacture?

  2. Guess what energy source is probably going to be needed to chop up massive fiberglass blades?

  3. There are ways to recycle fiberglass and since transportation is the problem they just need a mobile grinder to get rid of the existing blades and in the future make them out of something fully recyclable. Wind power needs work for sure, but the way I figure it if we give them about 70 years of subsidies like we have nuclear I bet they can really cut down on the negative aspects.
    Maybe with a few decades of stiff competition we can get nuclear power companies to work out thorium reactors, which they should have done already.

  4. sink them as artificial reefs?


  5. To the naysayers, wind turbines are still 85% recyclable. Can't say that for most things in our throw away society. And the blades are recyclable too, it's just cost prohibitive at present. But wouldn't expect any knee jerk naysayer to ever think critically.


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