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Old 11-05-2014, 05:45   #1
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The Shrink Wrap Disaster

Shrink wrap. A bit of a pet peeve. How many of us pride ourselves with leaving a clean wake? Or recycle religiously at home? Or minimize our energy consumption? And yet when it comes to the acres of shrink wrap removed from boats each spring, we just let it go into the dumpster.

Some engineer among us could probably figure out how many plastic bottles could be made from the shrink wrap of an average boat, but I betcha its more than a household could recycle in a year.

And there are reasonable alternatives:
1. Dr. Shrink sells a shipping prepaid bag for fifty bucks so you can recycle it with them. Yes, this might buy you a nice lunch but consider how much we spend on our boats each year.
2. Use your cover over again. If you cut it away carefully, you can get at least two winters out of a cover and my friend sometimes gets three. Sure you have to be gentle re-shrinking it and may have to do a little patching.
3. Buy a canvas cover. These are pricey upfront but if you are paying a yard to shrink your boat, you will recoup your investment in a few years. And if you get a full cover, it will protect your fancy awlgrip paint better than shrink wrap. Our canvas cover has lasted 20 years in New England winters with minimal repairs. And it adds to the resale value of your boat.

Please think twice about keeping this plastic disaster out of our landfills.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:00   #2
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Re: The shrink wrap disaster

I must gather you don't live aboard. Our plastic at our club is recycled.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:11   #3
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Re: The shrink wrap disaster

I have not shrink wrapped my boat in over ten years. Though of course this past winter it might have been a bit of a tactical error:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: A WINTERS BOATYARD TALE
I always found the boat a bit grimy in the spring inside and outside requiring extra cleaning when it was shrink wrapped. That said I'm glad others do because I get to recycle some of their shrink wrap for my use. Made a helm cover from it. Also bought some home to cover the deck. Made an crash diaper from it to carry on board. Used for curtains on the head port provides light, privacy and is not hurt by water spray. Use some to catch drips when painting or using epoxy in the cockpit. I find lots of uses for it.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:34   #4
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Re: The shrink wrap disaster

We started reusing the wrap following the first time we shrink wrapped. It just doesn't make since just throwing it away each year. 3 yrs in Michigan weather is about what is average.

The trick is pre-planning. Use several large pieces and leave about 18 inches overlap the first year and use the widest shrink wrap tape you can find to tape up the seams. This will leave about 12 inches the next year and less the next. Two things you have to do is not heat the tape and not shrink tight, just enough to take the bag out.

In the spring just grab the end of the tape and give a quick jerk. You will hear a loud rip but the tape will come off clean most of the time if not heated. We still keep the supply store in dollars every year purchasing the tape that can not be reused. Don't worry if the wrap sticks together just use utility knife and cut it out. The next season you may have to patch small sections in especially around shrouds etc, but again the tape is your friend.

Don't forget to use a permanent marker to mark each section and orientation. This goes a long way the next season. Fold and store like any other cover. The advantage is if marked well the next season you will have a pre formed cover that is ready to tape back together. We usually have to touch up shrink a little each year. We have done this for about 15 years now with improvements each cycle.

Fortunately our yard does recycle when we have to renew the wrap but I always shake my head looking at all the wrap piled up that is used only one year.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:43   #5
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Re: The shrink wrap disaster

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calypso52 View Post

Please think twice about keeping this plastic disaster out of our landfills.
Here in the UK.. each household has at least 4 different waste bins for different products. The council super snoops will FINE you if you dont fill them correctly.

The we find out that several council waste places just mix them all together and dump. Because it became public knowledge, a bit of a fine for them and business continues as normal. Im sure nothing has changed....... it rarely does.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:47   #6
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Re: The shrink wrap disaster

Our yacht club has a recycling point where we store the stuff until it is picked up.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:52   #7
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Re: The shrink wrap disaster

I've always admired those Fairclough covers. " Fits like a glove " is the only way they come.
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:07   #8
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Re: The Shrink Wrap Disaster

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calypso52 View Post
Shrink wrap. ........................
..........Please think twice about keeping this plastic disaster out of our landfills.
Thanks for this interesting thought. Many, like myself, are never at a latitude above around 30* in the winter. I've never seen a boat "wrapped", but the message is clear for our other recyclable debris too!
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:39   #9
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Re: The Shrink Wrap Disaster

Recycling is better than tossing, but it still takes a lot of resources and energy to convert plastic back into something useful. Recycle is the third of the three Rs for that reason. It's the worst best option: Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle.

What does it cost to shrink wrap a 40 foot boat? My custom cover cost me $2500. Fellow club owners have had similar covers for 15 years and still going. I expect our cover (now four years old) will last as long. I think it's a good deal, with a much smaller environmental impact.


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Old 11-05-2014, 09:29   #10
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Re: The Shrink Wrap Disaster

*shrug* Here in lower NY, I don't shrink wrap for the same reason I do winter storage in-water, sans bubbler... yes, you occasionally (most years, not) need to repair some winter-related damage, but the over-all cost savings much more than makes up for it. This year was especially cold, but no damage apart from some scratched off boot stripe paint (ice).
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