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Old 25-05-2018, 13:17   #1
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Fiberglass Recycling?

Ok so I saw this article, may have been here, about these Swedish girls who are stripping down the parts, then cutting and chipping up old motor boats to be incinerated. And it got me thinking.

I was driving to the VOR race this past weekend so I had some time with hubby on what would fiberglass recycling look like in the USA. He said that the amount of energy you would need to incinerate the fiberglass would make it cost prohibitive. He said you would be better off shredding it up and making a secondary product out of it. But what would that be.

I guess on the west coast there was someone taking old windmill blades and doing this and making it into planks used for decks and fences. I can't find if he is still in business as his web page goes no where. The problem with this is that fiberglass degrades and those product only have a lifetime of about 10 years. Then there was flagstones or concrete? I guess it was used in countertops to strengthen the structure.

The problem with all these things is that it just pushes it down the line 10 more years and doesn't really get rid of the issue, though it can make it a smaller chunk to deal with.

Then today I found this
https://www.unols.org/sites/default/...glassBoats.pdf

Interesting.

This whole idea has me thinking of my future boat purchase. And whether I should chose a more enviornmentally friendly hull. I have never been on an aluminum boat before. we are going to Dusseldorf this coming January to look at all that is out there. I am still waiting on child number three to enter college, though there is talk of going to the Merchant Marine Academy like his dad

In the mean time I may have as many as five years to...recycle
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Old 25-05-2018, 16:43   #2
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Fiberglass Recycling?

Fiberglass fibers have been used for years to strengthen concrete.
It may even be recycled fiberglass.

Besides itís my opinion that if you really want to be environmentally friendly, the best way is not to recycle, but to refurbish.
Do you really need a new car every five years? How long can a quality fiberglass Boat last anyway? I suspect longer than most people live, but people want new.
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Old 25-05-2018, 17:06   #3
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Re: Fiberglass Recycling?

the more you read into this the more frustrating it becomes. I can seriously see why no one is doing this in the USA. In countries where there is more support for reducing waste and recycling there seems to be a route for encouraging people to invest in the ground up fiberglass, but basically it is more expensive than some natural solutions for cement. Yes they use it. I have even seen where they were selling it on amazon for counter top strengtheners but to do it on a large scale seems to be not cost effective. Burning it leaves 50-70% of it behind in minerals that need to go to the land fill.

Seriously this is an issue. I am not just talking about old sailboats, but dinghies, motor boats, housing materials and car parts. I guess some of the big name manufactures are recycling some of it.

This is a bee in my bonnet. Maybe I need to get a job and leave this to someone smarter than me
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Old 25-05-2018, 17:27   #4
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Fiberglass Recycling?

Iíd guess that the amount of material in plastic pleasure boat hulls represents an insignificantly small fraction of our waste problem. Its not up to me where you devote your enthusiasm but I personally spend more time worrying about throw away plastic bottles or shopping bags.

And stuffing recycled fiberglass reinforced plastic into various building products doesnít sound great to me, its a very hazardous material when you start cutting it up and putting glass dust in the air.

(But thinking about the impact of your toys and the materials they are made of is awesome so I should probably just butt out.)
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Old 25-05-2018, 17:45   #5
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Re: Fiberglass Recycling?

Chris I agree with you on the plastic. I lived in Angola for five years and there was no trash pick up, those plastic bags were everywhere. Then I lived in Amsterdam where can't get one at the market even if you wanted it, they only sell reusable bags, and you had to pay for them. I personally use reusable bags, and water bottles. I understand this plight but it seems to be one that there is a lot of focus on, many people working on it,

I agree that it probably is a small section of the overall waste problem but one as some of us (wanna be) boat owners contribute to. I am not innocent in this. Last year I put a beat up, broken Opti in a dumpster, because I was moving and no one would take it.

Fiberglass in general is nasty stuff. I hung out at the local Snipe builder shop in college. I always left with a headache. I am sure it is not something to breathe in and it itches like crazy.

So what is it we do with these things that give us such great pleasure so they don't take away from those that follow?
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Old 26-05-2018, 01:34   #6
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Re: Fiberglass Recycling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brookiesailor View Post

So what is it we do with these things that give us such great pleasure so they don't take away from those that follow?


Yeah, great way of putting it.

For me the answer is enjoy the hell out of it and keep up with the maintenance so its a good boat for the next folks. Reusing takes so much less energy than recycling.

Someone in the yard once described ownership of my boat, a pretty but demanding old boat, as simply signing up to be caretaker for a time.
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Old 26-05-2018, 11:46   #7
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Re: Fiberglass Recycling?

To recycle FRP, consider first what the material is. There are glass fibers, which cannot be removed intact from the resin (which may be polyester, maybe be epoxy, may have any number of additives mixed in). If you try to melt out the resin...eh, that's a fine line between melt and burn or otherwise break down, and that will vary with the unknown blend and additives. The end product needs consistency to be commercially viable.

I think it would be far more effective to simply grind up the material, making stable FRP "sand" out of it, which then could be used as a sand filler in a variety of products. Perhaps in the concrete and paving industries, where clean (unsalted) sand actually is in global short supply. Then of course you have to worry about hazmat leakage, making sure any bottom paint is not in the mix, etc. And you have to ensure a steady supply of wrecked hulls, which also means a breaking yard or folks able to strip off literally everything from the FRP. No metal hardware, nothing else to get into the mix.

Not impossible...but the phrase "not economically feasible" comes to mind. At least, not in the developed world, which is where the scrap boats tend to be.

The good news is that with rising sea levels, crushed mixed stable landfill will be in demand in coming years.
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Old 26-05-2018, 12:58   #8
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Re: Fiberglass Recycling?

Chris,
You are a great steward to aspire to. I was encouraged by the number of people in Newport that were tucked in little spaces here and there working on old fiberglass boats.

HelloSailor,
This is exactly the issue. We spent the whole car ride thinking of something you could manufacture yourself on small scale that would make recycling worth while. A production that could be turned on and off with supply availability and something that would be useful. One of the main issues was the weight. The stuff is darn heavy.

And as you mention, how do you get a pure enough product to make it reusable?
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Old 27-05-2018, 18:43   #9
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Re: Fiberglass Recycling?

This is a good post because YES we all should take a look at how we waste stuff and abuse the evironment.


===== Before I get beat up for working in the Oil Industry, I REALY DO try to do my part in this area to the extent that I can. Honestly! And I don't always work int the oil industry.

=====


Recycling in general provides a unique opportunity for amananufacturer from a standpoint that in general people are receptive and want to do the right thing. People will gladly spend some money to give you something to recycle. I'll dirive here and there, or sort my stuff, to donate recycling materials,



The biggest problem is what do we make of it, it's free material.



The biggest issue is COLOR and STRUCTURAL PROPERTIES. That being said, particular to plastics; what would consumers buy that had no STRUCTURAL constraints, and they didn't care what COLOR it was.



Some materials such as Aluminum and Steel are readily recyclable and you actually get paid to bring them in.



When you recycle most products it turns into a mismash of structural properties, impurities, and like mixing 10 different colors of paint. What do you make? It's cheap, but what is it that you can sell or give away?


Being non structural, it could be filler material in non structural concrete, core material, etc? It's the same problem with old tires (tyres for some)



Not that I have the answers, but we all need to think of things that can utilize these cheap left over and discgarded materials that don't redily biodegrade, and don't make gas for future generations.



I've done a few project which we've been able to utilize recycled material but its not as many as I'd like.


I'm pretty proud to have been an engineer getting this project qualified to FAA standards. runwaysafe.com Recycled glass as an aircraft arrestor bed material. Look down the next time you fly into Chicago.


I'll give this idea up to whoever wants to run with it. Make a Lego like product that utilizes recycled plastic. It's the holy grail I'm telling you: Kids don't care about color, and you can never have too much lego!
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