Raw material is the key cost driver of the products we manufacture. We are committed to doing our part in managing our material usage and waste production. We aim to use our materials as efficiently as we can while still meeting the expectations and requirements of our customers. Since the products we build are generally based on our customers’ designs, the materials used to build them are generally determined by our customers. We currently track the materials used in our manufacturing processes through our product lifecycle management system and enterprise resource planning system. Approximately one percent of materials used in 2022 were from renewable resources, balsa wood, and approximately two percent were from recycled sources, polyethylene terephthalate (PET). In addition, all facilities have chemical and hazardous waste management systems in accordance with laws and regulations in their respective regions.
Wind turbines are 85% to 90% recyclable, with the wind blade material constituting the remaining percentage that cannot be easily recycled, due to the nature of thermoset composites.1 Wind and composite industry leaders, such as TPI, are focused on closing this recycling gap in order to reduce landfilling of wind energy waste. TPI is actively working toward creating sustainable end-of-life solutions by developing alternative uses for composite products reaching their end of life. During this past year, we have led numerous projects to convert decommissioned wind blades into a variety of alternative uses including concrete products, recycled fiberglass yarns, construction panels, and structural flooring applications.
In addition to repurposing end-of-life composite products, TPI is working closely with industry and academic leaders to develop and implement solutions to enable circularity for thermoset composites. These solutions will allow for the recovery of high-quality composite materials such as glass fiber, carbon and core which can be reused in building wind blades, and other thermoset composite products.
We remain highly engaged in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions from our manufacturing operations, reduce waste, and implement pathways available for the reuse of as much of the waste we generate as possible.
Mitigating and managing waste generated from production is a key objective for TPI. Our facilities manage the waste generated according to local regulations. Our waste data is collected monthly using invoices from disposal facilities and haulers. All waste data is verified by on-site EHS supervisors and through annual audits conducted at our ISO 14001 certified facilities. These processes allow TPI to understand the volume and cost of waste produced to ensure waste reduction remains a priority.
We formed waste continuous improvement teams at each location, which completed waste stream analyses and developed waste reduction projects. In a continuation of our program, in 2022, we achieved our waste rate reduction goal (5% reduction during the year) by focusing our projects on optimizing direct material usage.
This year, we had 59,881 metric tons of waste, of which 9,763 metric tons was hazardous and 50,118 metric tons was nonhazardous waste. Landfilled hazardous waste is disposed of through controlled confinement in a landfill that is lined, monitored, and in compliance with government regulations.
1 Circular Economy: Blade recycling is a top priority for the wind industry | Wind Europe
14Hazardous waste disposal methods are confirmed by hazardous waste manifests. Non-hazardous waste disposal methods are confirmed based on vendor reports. Waste is reported based on shipment dates from our facilities. The other category includes waste disposed from cafeteria grease traps and using the U.S. EPA H141 code that is stored by the waste vendor and the disposal method is not provided to TPI.