What can we do with old fiberglass boats?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Ike, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

  2. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Even the industry has issues. In my single foam core build; the amount of waste is incredible.

    glass scraps
    Peelply
    Foam offcuts
    Breather media
    Vac bags (get about 3 cycles when careful)..
    The list goes on
    Sandpaper hundreds of sheets
    Paint cans and paint waste.
     
  3. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I would propose a clearinghouse or methods, but the idea is impractical

    Core can be ground to small bits and made into a great thixotropic mix.

    Glass could be reground.

    But a small builder like me lacks resources to reduce.

    And worse, I sent two junk poly boats to landfills.
     
  4. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Captain Jim’s Marine Salvage and Nautical Antiquities in Portland, Maine recycles boats. We talked to Captain Jim Hawkins as he was loading a worn out O'Day daysailer with a keel, probably a Rhodes 19 which was headed to "boat heaven". Fuel is drained and cleaned. Diesel is used to heat their building. Gasoline is used in yard equipment. The hulls are stripped and anything of value goes to the used and antique parts showroom. Other metal is sent for recycling. Hulls are cut at the waterline before being crushed. Crushed fiberglass without bottom paint goes to concrete company which uses it as a reinforcing addative in concrete. Crushed fiberglass with bottom paint goes to a company which burns it in power generating boilers. Captain Jim expects the supply of boats for recycling to continue.
    https://www.marinesalvagemaine.com/marine-salvage.html
    Boat Recycler https://maineboats.com/print/issue-151/boat-recycler
    Boat recycling master - Ocean Navigator - September/October 2017 http://www.oceannavigator.com/September-October-2017/Boat-recycling-master/
     
  5. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    I live about twenty miles from an eroding coast.From time to time a barge loaded with Norwegian granite comes over and deposits a few thousand tons of rock.It helps a bit but the erosion continues between the defences.Would it be so hard to drag a few unwanted boats into position and pump them full of concrete?There must be other places with the same problem.
     
  6. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    I posted this because it was obvious to me that the author hadn't done a lot of research on fiberglass recycling.
     
  7. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Recycling is expensive. There are a variety of solutions, but oil is so cheap that only goodwill and legislation can make it work.
     
  8. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Captain Jim's in Portland, Maine, USA (see post above) gets some revenue from selling components and some metal, lead and bronze in particular, for recycling. Some boats they buy from the owners; for other boats the owner pays for the boat to be removed.

    Crushed fiberglass by itself may have negative value.
     
  9. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    Grinding up old fiberglass is difficult to do economically. The glass is so abrasive it wears down the equipment rapidly. Many places have tried it over the years, but few have succeeded.

    The cost of transporting also becomes a big factor, the glass being recycled tends to be bulcky, but not dense, so you end up shipping a lot of air.
     
  10. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Without the lead and bronze and sh store they would not cover the man hours to cut the boats up and drive them to the guys doing the postprocessing. I even doubt they could be economically viable if that would be the sole source of their second hand stuff. There is a reason shipbreaking is primarily done in low wage areas.

    Shredding to aggregate or burning fiberglass are the lowest cost "recycling" options and only work because of existing nearby infrastructure. Building that infrastructure from scratch just for fiberglass is expensive. The guys burning captain Jims boats have a high temperature oven, it was buildt for stuff deemed too toxic for landfill, not for FRP recycling.
    Cement kilns can economically burn fiberglass (and tires) if there is a ready supply nearby. If it has to be trucked long distance it's not different than any other fuel source and might even be more expensive with the necessary preprocessing.
    There are also more expensive options for recycling, like making synthetic fuel or other chemicals out of fiberglass, but they are only viable if oil prices are high. If it's low, there is no economic benefit to do it and legislation must compell people to it.

    My favorite example are rotor blades from wind farms. Nice carbon fibre laminations that mostly go to the landfill instead of beeing redone into something usefull for boats. Our grandchildren will have a good time mining our current landfills.
     
  11. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    My understanding is Captain Jim receives payment for removing and disposing of most of the boats he deals with. I don't know how much income he makes from sale of the salvaged parts. He does keep costs down by having the store open only on Saturdays for six hours, and by not advertising.

    There is a cement kiln about 75 miles from Captain Jim's which burns a variety of "alternative fuels" including asphalt roof shingles, carpeting and padding, and recycled plastics.The plant has tested a variety of materials. Conveyor belt material jammed their shredder and waste from a plant which makes composites for aerospace and industrial applications was too dusty. I have not seen anything about the cement kiln burning fiberglass.

    I helped salvage and dispose of a 420 sailboat hull last year which was floating near shore in a rocky area. The concern was that if the hull went onto the rocks in a storm it would break up into smaller pieces which would be difficult or impossible to remove. The hull had probably been stored near the water and floated away in a storm. It had holes in the bow and stern and had lost most but not quite all of it's floatation foam. It was cut into pieces and hauled to a land fill. Probably not the ideal way to dispose of it in a perfect world but the priority was to get it out of the water and not leave it exposed on land.
     
  12. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    Yeah, that was my impression.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    -Will (Dragonfly)
     
  13. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

  14. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member


  15. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

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