Boeing building
(Copyright © Boeing)

Update: Boeing Wins ‘High Achiever’ Among Sustainability Leaders for Innovating Carbon Fiber Recycling

Originally published on

Update: The National Association of Manufacturers saluted Boeing’s innovative carbon fiber recycling initiative as the highest achiever among sustainability leaders on Thursday at their virtual gala.

“This is a tremendous achievement of this team who turned their vision of recycling carbon fiber into a reality,” said Chris Raymond, Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer. “I applaud all of our Boeing employees who are embracing sustainability efforts and making a difference in our industry and in our communities each and every day.”

Original story from Aug. 13: The National Association of Manufacturers honored Boeing with a prestigious sustainability leadership award Thursday for creating a market for recycled aerospace-grade excess carbon fiber and diverting up to one million pounds of solid waste to landfill annually.

“This recognition demonstrates Boeing’s ability to weave sustainability into all we do by moving from the world’s largest consumer of aerospace-grade composite without a plan for waste to today being the only company able to recycle 100% of its excess carbon fiber,” said Bryan Scott, vice president, Environment, Health & Safety.

Boeing was recognized for sustainability excellence for innovating a way to recycle aerospace-grade carbon composite.Boeing generates revenue by selling the excess, which is transformed into laptop cases, car parts, rail-car undercarriages and other products.

A year after launching a partnership with United Kingdom-based ELG Carbon Fibre to recycle excess aerospace-grade composite, Boeing has trained employees and implemented carbon-fiber recycling at 11 manufacturing sites across the globe. Most of the excess fiber comes from Australia, the Puget Sound region in the Washington state, and Salt Lake City manufacturing sites. Boeing has plans to train companies in its supply chain on the process, starting later in 2020 in Japan.

 “After a decade working with academia and industry through technical excellence, we now have a solution to the excess carbon fiber composite waste challenge. Removing the cured resin without damaging the valuable aerospace-grade carbon fiber frees it up to provide the same performance attributes we value to non-aerospace applications”

–Pete George, associate technical fellow, Product Development

Other large materials industries, such as wood and aluminum, have developed their waste into value-adding materials for secondary markets based on their understanding of their materials, products and technical communities. The same had to be achieved for the reuse of excess carbon fiber to be successful at scale.

“The power of one Boeing means achieving what you thought was impossible at the onset and that is what this award means to me,” said Cindy Chan, environmental engineer, Environment, Health & Safety. “This process is not easy but we worked across the enterprise from operations to engineering to facilities to make our production system more sustainable.”

Boeing is proud to join the recent winners of the Sustainability Leadership Award including Oracle, Dow Chemical, Johnson Controls, Airbus and Cisco.

By Monica Zimmer

Thinking sustainably means thinking about waste as food

Boeing’s Sustainability Leadership Award for recycling aerospace carbon fiber waste is an example of how the circular economy – or circularity – works.

Sustainability experts say that all “waste” should become “food” for another process: either a by-product or recovered resource for another industrial process or as regenerative resources for nature, such as compost. This newer way of thinking shifts away from the traditional economy that has emphasized a different kind of production model, one that has focused on “take, make and dispose.”

Proponents of the circular economy suggest that a sustainable world does not mean a drop in the quality of life for consumers and can be achieved without loss of revenue or extra costs for manufacturers. The argument is that circular business models can be as profitable as linear models, allowing consumers to continue enjoying similar products and services.


Latest News

Video: How Companies Are Ensuring Equity for People With Disabilities

The National Organization on Disability held its annual forum in Washington, D.C. last week, bringing together community leaders, advocates, government officials and corporate leaders and influencers to focus on the advancement of people with disabilities in the workplace. DiversityInc also met up with leaders from Capital One Financial (No. 22…

Validated Allies wallpaper

DiversityInc Announces 2022 Validated Allies

Allyship is a journey rather than a destination. The work of an ally never really ends and allies understand they are not necessarily always working toward a goal, but rather, serving a greater purpose. Each year, as part of our Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc recognizes a…

CDO Series: Sysco’s Adrienne Trimble

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the latest installment of a series of articles…

NOD Forum: Honoring the Disability Rights Movement

The road to disability rights has been a long one. One that started long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was passed. In celebration of 40 years of the National Organization on Disability, disability leaders, supporters and activists gathered in Washington, D.C last week to discuss the…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 29

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Research Outlines Lack…

Humana Ranks Highly in the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility Inclusion Index

Originally published at Humana ranked No. 9 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.   Humana Inc. celebrates the high rankings it recently received in the 2022 Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) Corporate Inclusion Index (CII), a research initiative that measures Hispanic inclusion in the…