Can wind turbines be recycled?

When wind turbines eventually reach the end of their lifespan, 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, and we’re working on 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 – mostly 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 fiberglass or carbon fiber, 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.

Ørsted's landfill ban

In June 2021, Ørsted committed never to send turbine blades to landfill, instead reusing, recycling or otherwise recovering 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. 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 to save them from landfill.

Illustration of wind turbine blades on shore and an offshore wind turbine at sea shows how turbines can be recycled.

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 into fiber 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.1
Blue illustration of an offshore wind turbine showing that 85-9% of the components used in wind turbines can be recycled.
Will Skipjack Wind 2 turbines be recycled?
A modern wind farm like Skipjack 2 is designed to provide at least 25 years of reliable service at sea. When turbines reaches their end-of-life, Ørsted has established recycling processes for up to 95% of the materials. However, as blades are still a challenge, Ørsted has committed to not landfill these, and is working together with the rest the industry to find feasible solutions.
Blue pictogram of a rounded arrow around the number 25+, representing the lifecycle of Ørsted's Skipjack Wind 2 turbines.
An offshore wind turbine by an onshore factory emitting carbon represent the limited carbon footprint of offshore wind.
What is the carbon footprint of offshore wind?
Emissions from building turbines are vastly outweighed by those saved through generating clean power.
Offshore wind turbines juxtaposed with homes on shore represent the limited impact of offshore wind on property values.
Do wind farms impact property value?
Studies reveal that offshore wind has little to no influence on property prices.
Offshore wind turbines overlooking beach towels and umbrellas represent the limited impact of offshore wind on tourism.
Do offshore wind farms harm tourism?
Offshore wind has only recently arrived in the U.S. But from what we know so far, there is no reason to fear that it puts tourists off visiting the ocean.
Several offshore wind turbines juxtaposed with onshore energy sources, showing the reliability of offshore wind energy.
Is offshore wind power reliable?
Offshore wind is a highly reliable energy source. Wind turbines are able to generate clean energy out at sea, even when it seems calm from the shore.
A fishing boat and fish pass by offshore wind turbines, showing how offshore wind can coexist with commercial fishing.
Can offshore wind and commercial fishing coexist?
We work closely with the fishing industry when planning, building and operating our wind farms, ensuring peaceful coexistence.
A bird resting on a tree branch facing offshore wind turbines shows how seabirds can coexist safely with offshore wind.
Do wind turbines hurt birds?
Wind turbines pose only a tiny danger to birdlife. Far greater is climate change, which threatens many species with extinction.
Close-up of an Ørsted offshore wind turbine, explaining how to reliably transform offshore wind into clean electricity.
What is offshore wind power?

Offshore wind power explained

How we capture the power of the wind at sea to produce clean, reliable electricity