Due to increasing environmental demands, especially on treatment of products end of life phase, product manufacturers and designers must consider the future disposal of their products. For conventional materials like steel and aluminium well organized methods for recycling exists. This is not yet the circumstances polymer composite materials, used more extensively, especially for transporting structures. Several techniques do exist but they are not yet commercially available. The current disposal methods of polymer composites are landfill and incineration.
Here, disposal of a composite sandwich bus structure is studied, using an information model for assessing possible techniques for polymer composite material waste. This model is based on internal factors, which are related to the waste and to the processes. To implement the model relevant waste properties must be identified in order to fulfil the conditions set by the required processes involved.
The result from using the information model shows that several methods are possible. Since three different core materials are used in the structure these must for some of the waste treatments be separated dependent on the use of the recycled material. For mechanical material recycling separation of the core material is recommended. Material recycling by cement manufacturing does not allow material containing PVC, which then must be separated. For several methods, the waste property CHEM, chemical composition, heat value and ash content must be analyzed. These methods are incineration with energy recovery, material recycling and energy/chemical recovery by fluidized bed or pyrolysis, material recycling by cement manufacturing and hydrolysis.
A recommendation for design of the bus structure to facilitate the disposal treatment is to use the same type of core material through the structure and to decrease the use of PVC-core, since it needs specific consideration.