Sustainable composite materials


Over the last twenty years, the aerospace industry has been moving away from aluminium and towards carbon fibre composite materials. Although lighter, these new composites are very difficult to recycle. Boeing pioneered a closed-loop recycling process to reclaim the full value of its aluminium, and now aims to drive the development of carbon fibre recycling. It asked Innovia Technology to conduct a learning exchange with non-aerospace organisations to unearth key insights and processes for achieving material sustainability in different industries.


We worked with various organisations. One was Jaguar Land Rover, which not only recycles waste aluminium from its own manufacturing process but also is starting to use recycled aluminium from vehicles and drinks cans in its cars. Another was Interface, the world’s largest commercial carpet tile manufacturer, which recycles nylon from both its own carpets and from discarded fishing nets into new carpet tiles.


Boeing is using our insights to develop a material sustainability strategy for the carbon fibre composites used in its aircraft.