As sustainability pressures rise across markets, it’s become increasingly important to determine how to handle aircraft interior components at the aircraft’s end of life. While traditionally not a top concern, this has become especially imperative as more aircraft are now being retired. With as many as 12,000 predicted in upcoming years, according to Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association, it’s a good idea to ensure your aircraft interiors are ready for their end of life.
What’s Being Done Today to Address Aircraft Interiors’ End of Life?
Currently, aircraft interior construction uses a lot of plastics, metals and composites. These multi-material components pose a challenge when trying to recycle them. To address this, an initiative has formed to break apart all components into single-component, reusable and recyclable parts.
For example, seat covers are now being reused for yarn and carpeting applications as well as others outside of the aerospace industry. This is because certain components have not lost their value, even though the aircraft has been decommissioned. They can be turned into other usable items as opposed to being recycled or even discarded into landfills.
While not all aspects of an aircraft or its interior can be recycled or reused at this time, efforts are being made to increase this percentage.
What Can Manufacturers Do to Prepare for Tomorrow’s Aircraft Interiors’ End of Life?
- Design with End of Life in Mind
When manufacturing an aircraft, it’s important to design with end of life in mind. In other words, think about if and how the component will be able to be reused or recycled once that aircraft is retired. Ensuring material compatibility is one aspect to consider in the design process.
- Know the Material Types
Know what types of materials are being used in manufacturing. For example, there are many types of plastics that go into aircraft interiors. Ensure each type is properly labeled for enhanced end of life recycling. Otherwise, cross-contamination can occur, making recycling a challenge.
- Consult with an Expert
Bostik formulates innovative aircraft interiors and can customize a solution that meets specific needs. Working with an expert at the start of aircraft interior designing can ensure end of life concerns are addressed upfront. For more information, contact a Bostik expert today.