Can wind turbines be recycled?

When wind turbines eventually reach the end of their lifespan after at least 25 years, we recycle up to 95% of what they’re made of. We’ve made a commitment to find the right recycling solutions for the final 5%, too. 



Are landfill sites filling up with old wind turbines? If so, isn’t the problem only going to get worse?



Up to 95% of a wind turbine can currently be recycled. We’re working hard to find the right recycling solutions for the last 5%.

A small but significant challenge 

The wind will keep blowing forever, but the turbines used to turn the wind into renewable energy do eventually wear out and need replacing. When we decommission a wind farm, we are currently able to recycle between 85 and 95% of the materials that make up the turbines – which are mostly made up of steel.  

The turbine blades, however, are more difficult to dispose of. They’re designed to be lightweight but highly durable and are usually made or fibreglass or carbon fibre, held together with resin. This cannot be easily or efficiently broken down for recycling.  

Nonetheless, with the one wind farm Ørsted has decommissioned so far, Vindeby in Denmark, 98% of the composite material was either recycled or used for research or exhibition, including all the turbine blades. 

Recycling onshore win turbines

Ørsted’s landfill ban 

In June 2021, we committed to reuse, recycle, or otherwise recover all blades from newly decommissioned onshore and offshore wind farms.  

We’re following new recycling innovations closely and working with commercial and academic partners to develop our own approach. If it takes longer than anticipated to find recycling solutions that are both environmentally sustainable and commercially viable, we will store any decommissioned blades temporarily instead of sending them to be landfilled. 

Solutions on the horizon 

With many of the earliest wind farms around the world approaching decommissioning, blade recycling is a high priority for the wind industry. Technologies are already emerging for recycling existing types of blades – for example turning them into fibre boards for flooring and walls.  

Meanwhile, blade manufacturers like Siemens Gamesa have recently begun deploying new materials in their blades, making them more easily recyclable in the first place.   
Share of onshore wind turbines which can be recycled
What is offshore wind power?

What is onshore wind power? 

Onshore wind power explained