In a bid to combat the growing issue of wind turbine blade waste, Ohio-based startup Canvus is leading a unique initiative to repurpose retired blades into aesthetically pleasing park benches, planters, and picnic tables. With an average of 9,000 blades to be retired annually by 2026, the US Department of Energy’s concerns about landfill accumulation are being addressed through Canvus’s innovative approach.
Canvus, established in April 2022, has garnered support from major wind turbine manufacturers like Vestas, GE, and Avangrid. The company’s factory processes these retired blades, converting them into functional art pieces for public spaces across the United States. Collaborating with nonprofits and civic organizations, Canvus ensures that these transformed blades find a new purpose in the form of park benches, tables, and planters.
The creative touch doesn’t end with repurposing; Canvus engages a network of artists in its “primed and ready” program. These artists are commissioned to add unique paintings to the recycled products. Brian Donahue, Canvus’s vice president of corporate affairs, revealed that the company has successfully sold “hundreds if not thousands” of these creative products to communities nationwide.
The blades are processed in 40-foot sections using a rope saw to enhance the sustainability factor and finished with epoxy paint. Canvus also incorporates recycled materials from various industries, including old tires, shoes, and plastic waste, ensuring a holistic approach to waste reduction.
Canvus’s business model adds an extra layer of creativity. Communities create wish lists of desired Canvus products, with sponsors covering the costs. This sponsorship process, resembling a wedding gift registry, involves individuals or businesses supporting the creation of these functional art pieces. Each sponsored item, with an average price of approximately $6,000, features a QR code that provides information about the sponsor, creating a unique connection between the product and its supporter.
For example, Westerville, Ohio, has included nine Canvus benches and hybrid/bench planters in its wish list for the Ohio to Erie trail. The sponsorship model has allowed four benches to find sponsors, while the remaining five are still available for sponsorship. The city’s wish list includes the Faye Classic Hybrid, priced at $3,781, featuring seating made from recycled tires and shoes and recycled aluminum feet.
Canvus’s commitment to sustainable innovation is evident not only in its products but also in its business model. While their products are exclusively available through sponsorship, this approach ensures that each creation finds a purpose and establishes a meaningful connection between sponsors and the community.
In a clever play on words, it’s not just Canvus; it’s Canv-US, creatively addressing the issue of wind turbine blade waste.