The blades of giant wind turbines are as long as football fields and as strong as linebackers.
“They’re designed not to break,” Julie Angulo told CBS News. “So when your job is to break them, it’s obviously hard.”
Angulo’s company, Veolia, stores windmill blades in a quarry in Louisiana, Missouri, before cutting and shredding the used blades to size.
Cement manufacturers use shredded windmill blades as fuel instead of burning coal, reducing global warming carbon emissions at cement plants by nearly 30%.
What happens to windmill blades that are not recycled?
“Unfortunately, many of them end up in landfills,” says Angulo.
Most of the windmill blades used are buried in the ground because they are cheap. According to a study by the University of Cambridge, by 2050 the global wind industry is expected to generate more than 47 million tons of blade waste each year.
Finding ways to recycle windmill blades and used solar panels is fueling the industry. At his solar panel recycling plant in Yuma, Arizona, he can process 7,500 panels a day. Solar is the fastest growing energy source in the United States. Panels can be used for 25-30 years, but more than 90% of his used panels end up in landfills.
“There was no plan to dispose of the waste,” says We Recycle Solar’s Adam Saghei. “It was just going to the dumpster, and it’s just causing a bigger problem that doesn’t need to be there.”
But a tsunami of renewable waste is coming, and recyclers are desperate to ride it.
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https://www.cbsnews.com/news/renewable-energy-waste-solar-panels-wind-turbines/ As renewable energy becomes more prevalent, it becomes more urgent to find ways to recycle renewable waste.