From Scrap to Sustainability: Recycling Composite Trailer Panels

Great Dane Recycling Composite Trailer Panels

To promote a more sustainable future, Great Dane is leading the charge to find innovative recycling solutions for trailer panels. By recycling HDPE and steel, we not only extend the life of these panels but also significantly reduce waste and environmental impact.

This article delves into:

  • Our commitment to sustainability through the “Recycle, reprocess, reuse” approach highlights how this dedication prevents scrap from overflowing landfills.
  • The efficient supply chain practices ensure that even damaged materials are reprocessed into new, usable panels, showcasing the cyclical nature of composite panel materials.

Continue reading to learn how we are actively reducing waste and increasing efficiency through recycling composite trailer panels.

Where do trailers go when they’ve reached the end of their life? Unfortunately, they’re all too often sold for scrap. At Great Dane, we are working hard to find solutions in our supply chain to use potential scrap products and extend their life. “It’s all about avoiding the landfill and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Rob Jansky, Executive Director of Procurement for Great Dane.

Understanding a trailer’s composite paneling is a great place to start. The paneling is essentially “two pieces of steel that sandwich the HDPE (high-density polyethylene) between them,” Jansky explained.

That HDPE layer is basically the same material as food-grade plastics, which is one of the easiest types of plastic to recycle. This type of material is processed and used to create a rigid HDPE sheet to support the steel sidewalls. The supplier then cuts those to length and ships them to us at Great Dane, where we fabricate them into trailer walls.

Jansky says both the steel and the HDPE materials generally have more to offer. “The great news is that there’s a lot of recyclability,” Jansky says.

“The supplier we work with has developed a process to separate the steel and the lining. The steel is sold for scrap, while the lining is recycled on-site into new lining material.” The panels are then used throughout the lifetime of a Great Dane trailer.

The Three ‘Rs’: Recycle, Reprocess, Reuse

There’s a cyclical nature to these products. The plastic, which has already served one purpose, is recycled and used in the fabrication of new composite trailer panels. Once those panels have served a second purpose, the supplier can reuse them in new panels, extending their lifetime and helping to reduce overall waste.

“Most domestic recycling places will not recycle trailer panels because they consider the linings contaminated, so you’d typically have to pay to have it scrapped and sent to a landfill,” Jansky says. “But in this case, even damaged materials aren’t wasted,” he said. Instead, they’re taken back, reprocessed, and made into a fresh, usable panel.

Right now, these panels are available across Great Dane’s line of composite trailers, each one underscoring our commitment to sustainability. Currently, there are many parts of a trailer that cannot be given new life, but we are working with suppliers to investigate more recycling opportunities. At the end of the day our goal is to reuse as much material as possible and prevent more scrap from releasing toxins in overflowing landfills.



Great Dane Sustainability: From equipment innovation, technology advancements to corporate initiatives Our commitment to safe and efficient goods mobility underscores our dedication to safeguarding the environment and supporting the communities where we live and work.

We focus on equipment innovations, technological advancements, and corporate practices that emphasize environmental protection and resource conservation.

These efforts aim to promote a greener future while ensuring responsible and efficient operations.

For more detailed information, you can visit Great Dane Sustainability.

Sustainability is a trend transforming our industry. Explore additional articles on sustainability by accessing the complete collection of ETT magazines.