Much of the structure of a wind turbine can be reused, but not the massive blades. And figuring out what to do with those will be a huge problem, according to a recent National Public Radio article entitled “Wind Energy Has a Waste Problem: Disposing of the Turbines.”

Some facts from the article:

  • Blades comprise resin and fiberglass
  • Used blades currently have no value, recyclable or otherwise
  • Used blades are enormous, from 100 to 300 feet long
  • They can’t be transported without being cut up onsite, and it takes specialized equipment to haul them away (all of which is enormously expensive)
  • Landfills don’t really have the space for them, either
  • Obtaining new landfill permitting is also very expensive
  • In the next 20 years, the U.S. will have over 720,000 tons of waste blade material