For composite material as a relative new material group no market for recycled material exists. But with increasing use in structures this will hopefully change. Recycling of composites is also more complicated compared to recycling of traditional structural materials as steel and aluminium since they contain a mixture of fibre and polymeric materials. It is therefore important to identify all conditions that will influence the recycling and recovery of composite materials. These conditions can be divided into internal and external factors.
Internal factors are knowledge necessary for implementing the technique and to receive a good result in the end. These factors can be identified through a recently completed project with the aim to form guidelines for material recycling and energy recovery of different composite materials. Here also the economy and the environmental effects for the different recycling alternatives were studied. The results pointed out material recycling as the best alternative for almost all included materials. Examples of internal factors necessary for energy recovery are methods for cutting up the waste, material size before incineration, appropriate incineration temperature and heat value.
Before deciding for material recycling or energy recovery there are other types of factors that will influence the choice. These external factors, also known as push and pull factors, are discussed in this paper. Examples are amount of waste, laws and regulations, age of product and type of design.