Called the Rhode Island Fiberglass Vessel Recycling Project and already receiving funding in the U.S., the project is developing a system to turn old, disused fiberglass boats into … concrete to make houses.
The idea is not far-fetched: “The chemicals in fiberglass closely mimic many of the raw materials used in cement, such as silica and calcium, and can be used to create clinker (the “stony stones” that are the basic component for cement production, ed.),” said project manager Evan Ridley. The research was inspired by a German program that proposes recycling fiberglass wind turbine blades by turning them into concrete.
The project is certainly attractive, because there are hundreds of thousands of boats, made from fiberglass since 1967, that are currently disused and still not disposed of.
“Processing and transportation costs have yet to be determined,” said the cautious Ridley, “but there is great curiosity about our research.”
FROM US? HIGH SEA!
While in the States, judging by this initiative, they are organizing for the disposal of “plastic boats,” in Italy the scrapping of fiberglass boats is a chaos. There are no real demolition services for Vtr hulls because the cost of disassembly is greater than the value of the possibly recyclable material, to the point that, as one operator had told us, “unusable boats almost make sense to let them sink” (with very serious damage to the environment).
And, judging from our government’s agenda, it seems that “end-of-life” vessels are not really on the agenda. But if fiberglass recycling became a business for the construction industry, we are sure the tables would turn. Never say never.
TIME TO ACT.
Time to Take Action is the slogan of Medplastic, the project of the Journal of Sailing and Powerboats to safeguard the Mediterranean. Join the MedPlastic Team Facebook group, there you can post news, projects, photodenunciations, videos. Then participate in the NO Plastic Instagram contest (by sending a photo to our instagram inbox – @giornaledellavela – or on the Medplastic Team group, as all the authors of the photos we show you here did): we will award the best testimonials at the 2019 VELAFestival. In addition, if you have structured projects to propose that you think would be useful to the “cause,” please send an email to email@example.com. www.medplastic.org