Day 331 – Back on Day 167, I wrote about the waste related to wind energy. I mentioned a study by University of Cambridge (2017) that stated that turbine blades are set to account for 43 million tons of waste by 2050. Most blades end up in landfills, because they are hard to recycle. The article went on to say that there are companies coming out with 100% recyclable blades.
However, what do we do with all the ones currently being used today that are not recyclable?
Well, Denmark has figured out a way to deal with the waste produced by wind energy.
Wind energy makes up 40% of the energy in Denmark and they hope to increase that to 70% by 2030. With the lifespan of a non-biodegradable wind turbine blade around 20 years, the Danish government assigned the recycling task to several companies. They have come up with some very creative ways to deal with these giant structures and keep them out of the landfill.
Two ideas that have been discussed in Denmark are using the blades as bike shelters and footbridges. You can already find bike shelters in parts of the country. Considering there are 675,000 bicycles and just 120,000 cars in just Copenhagen alone (bikes outnumber cars by more than five-to-one), you can imagine there is great need to keep all those bikes protected from the elements.
In Ireland, they are working to reuse old blades in skate parks, stadium bleachers, sound barriers and electric towers.
Every country needs to take a look at the waste they are producing and devise a plan to both reduce and reuse what they have. Dumping it in a whole in the ground, in our waterways or incinerating it, is no longer an option.
Tomorrow, another great option for sustainable straws and cutlery.