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Method for recycling sports helmets

Helmets recycleLimonenePolystyreneSelective dissolutionZero Waste


The invention regards the recycling process of sports helmets which allows to separate and recycle all components of which the helmets are made of. The invention can have an important environmental and economic impact linked to the non-recycling of sports helmets.

Technical features

Protective helmets generally consist of a layer of expanded polyester and one or more parts in plastic material (PC or ABS), as well as parts in metal and fabric. The helmet’s composite structure makes it impossible to recycle them effectively. Commonly, these are ground and the components separated using automatic recognitions systems. However, the composite structure, containing parts glued or fused together, makes the application of these technologies complex and scarcely efficient.

The proposed system uses solvents (such as limonene) which are able to selectively dissolve the part of expanded polystyrene, leaving the outer shell unaltered. The system thus makes it possible to recycle all components of the helmets, to reduce the costs necessary for disposal and to ensure the recovery of materials (PC, ABS, EPS, PO, PU) with a very high purity, so that they can be reused in similar or other applications.

Possible Applications

  • Processing plants for the recycling of composite materials.


  • Effective recycling of all components;
  • Low energy and low cost process;
  • Reduction of recycling times;
  • Reduction of the environmental impact.