METSTRADE. By Peter Franklin.
Millions of boats that were built in the 70’s and 80’s from virtually indestructible GRP (fibreglass) are now referred to as ‘end-of-use’ boats. Committing redundant GRP hulls to landfill is not an environmentally acceptable option, as they will still be there in hundreds of years’ time.
The challenge for our industry now, is to create a new sub-sector which can responsibly dispose of them. In this blog we look at how France, USA and Norway are working on a solution by disposing boats the same way as the automotive industry have done for end-of-life cars.
Ambitious plans for boat disposal in France
APER, a non-profit organisation established in 2009 by the French Nautical Industries Federation, has established the first boat dismantling network in Europe. However, only 1 in 10 quotes were being accepted as owners were understandably reluctant to pay for something they would no longer enjoy.
That’s why as of this year, the APER network will become an industry funded ‘Eco-Organisation’, giving boat owners the chance to have their vessel disposed of for free, providing they can get it to one of the dedicated centres at their own cost.
Project manager Ivana Lazarevic told us that they expect to responsibly dispose of 1800 boats this year, with an overall target of 20,000 to 25,000 boats handled in the coming five years via a network of 20 to 30 approved centres.
Regarding the challenges of GRP recycling, Ivana admits that there is work to do, but points out that around 200,000 tons of fibreglass are used for construction purposes every year in France of which only around 5% is used in boats. She therefore believes that working with other industries who have the same end-of-life considerations will provide the solutions.
Continue reading this article, including what they are doing in the USA and Norway, at METSTRADE.