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Old 04-07-2014, 06:54   #1
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Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

I was a bit shocked when my wife read me the following passage from Lin and Larry Pardey's "Care And Feeding Of The Offshore Crew" regarding trash.

"After twenty four days at sea you feel you are sailing on forever, leaving a trail of cans, bottles, and boxes to mark your path. I find myself feeling guilty about all of this. Cans, organic garbage, paper, and bottles will all sink or be eaten if they are tipped overboard individually at sea. But plastics is always a problem. One solution is to put any plastic bags inside bottles or jars you are jettisoning, then fill the jars completely with water so that the jar and plastic sink to the bottom."

Really?

Gee, thanks older generation. Thanks for getting yours while the getting was good. Thanks for leaving the world a better place than you found it. Nice work.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:01   #2
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

We have been cruising as a couple for over 23 years and have done offshore passages over multiple days. The trash has accumulated at times, but it NEVER went over the side. In remote areas, we have taken the trash ashore and dug a pit, burned it and then buried it. At times there was no other option. Mostly we get rid of a great deal of trash before we leave for long voyages. If there is no other choice, the trash bags are stored in the dinghy or aft deck until we reach shore again. It's very much in the planning that keeps the problem to a minimum. Chuck
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:01   #3
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

No way.

The amount of rubbish on the seabed in some of the more popular anchorages in Greece is quite horrifying. At the beginning of the season the seabed is clean with healthy grass and fish, by the end of the summer there's often a blanket of toilet paper studded with cans and plastic rafts in harbour corners.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:06   #4
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

anything organic can be dumped overboard. plastics, cans glass etc should be kept until you can dispose of it properly ashore.

People who dump sh*t like that overboard should be fined and locked up - no excuse for that kind of pollution.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:13   #5
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pirate Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

Traveling coastal everything but cans and food gets bagged and stuck in the skip at the next port.. the cans I sink with the knowledge a few tiny fish are gonna have somewhere to hide.. same with glass bottles.. fill and sink..
Long crossings anything edible/bio-degradable goes over the side with the tins/cans.. plastic etc gets crushed and bagged for disposal after landing.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:16   #6
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

Gee, if we did that most of corporate America would be in jail, and maybe should be.

In their defense that was written in a different time.

As for ourselves we don't dump anything that doesn't degrade naturally, certainly no plastics.

We find it hard when we go for a walk yo not stop and pick up trash along the way.

For the way back crowd.....where I grew up every town had some kind of street guy or wino who would ride around on a bike and collect cans and bottles for recycling, to get the deposit. Then the glass companies lobbied to get the deposits removed and that put those guys out of business.

I think we should have a dollar per beer can, bottle, and two dollars per plastic bag deposit.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:46   #7
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

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In their defense that was written in a different time.
Really? This book was published two years after Love Canal was evacuated. 1980 was the year Superfund legislation was enacted. The crying indian commercial was almost ten years old at this point.

A coworker of mine just spent a week canoeing on a river in Georgia. One of his comments was regarding the amount of beer can pull tabs he saw in the river which of course prompted me to recall an occasion picking up a boat in Maryland a couple years ago when I spotted a styrofoam McDonald's container drifting down the river towards the sea.

FFS when was the last time you saw a beer can pull-tab or a styrofoam burger container? Twenty years ago? well you're just not looking in the right spots.

My parents weren't hippies, just regular Americans. As a small child, even I knew it was wrong to put trash into the water when we went sailing, and the year was 1980.

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Old 04-07-2014, 08:16   #8
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

A bit of perspective is needed on this topic.

Offshore, we toss food scraps, bottles and cans. We would never toss plastics or similar non-elemental things. Paper stuffs are questionable - most are treated with polymers that do not let them degrade and they float anyway. We keep a lot of our paper trash onboard. Bottles are environmentally inert and made of sand anyway. Cans corrode and disappear in very little time. They too are environmentally inert.

Once on-shore (in our cruising grounds), we burn the plastics, paper and similar burnables on shore. This is actually more environmentally bad than dumping bottles and cans offshore, but not as bad as dumping them in the ocean.

However - here is the perspective: no place we visit have any facilities for handling trash. None at all. If you take your trash ashore, and can find a facility to put it in, it will simply be taken into the mangroves and dumped into a pile with everyone else's trash. At best, they will pour gasoline over it and burn it anyway - leaving the non-burnables lying in place on the land.

When we provision, it is usually in a place that does have reasonable trash handling facilities, so we remove as much packaging trash as possible before taking it onboard.

And offshore means offshore - >1,000' and typically out of sight of land. We would never dump stuff in an anchorage or bay, although we do feed the fish under our boat our food scraps (they seem to be highly in favor of this practice). One cannot equate offshore sinking with inshore tossing of garbage in streams, etc.

One also cannot live on land and question offshore dumping of bottles and cans while tossing theirs in the garbage and forgetting that those end up in big piles on land covered in dirt. And if one thinks putting them in the recycling bin matters, then one is fooling themselves.

And if one thinks that keeping all trash on board and taking it onto land in remote cruising grounds is a better solution, then they do not know what they are talking about.

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Old 04-07-2014, 08:38   #9
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
I was a bit shocked when my wife read me the following passage from Lin and Larry Pardey's "Care And Feeding Of The Offshore Crew" regarding trash.
We (big we - people) have known for a very long time that putting plastic in the ocean is bad. There is no excuse for such behavior.

For me the ethically easiest thing to do is comply with MARPOL requirements. Until recently that meant everything EXCEPT plastic could go over the side 12 nm or more offshore. The most recent updates to Annex V of MARPOL changed that. Now only food waste goes over the side. This overview may help.

I can't think of the last time I dumped any food items larger than 25mm over the side. I am thinking of installing a macerator in one of my sink drains (think garbage disposal) to be sure everything complies.

Compliance with the new requirements has meant some more process on our boat. Cans and bottles get washed carefully in sea water before being stowed. There must be a place, right? After all if I carried the container full I should be able to carry them empty. Still, they better be clean or smell and insects become a problem.

Minimizing packing material before leaving the dock is the biggest help.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:07   #10
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

About 6 posts (didn't count) of knee-jerk not thinking at all, until the first reasoned response. I'm in the recycling/environmental industry, have designed and built world-scale facilities, and still I can see the ocean as an acceptable place for some things. The thing to remember is that waste handling practices vary and recycling industries generally don't exist.

Yes, recycling is nice, but unless that infrastructure exists, it's just going on a pile. When something leaches from the waste, it will contaminates drinking water, which is certainly a scare resource. Perhaps cancer risk goes up. Perhaps they burn some of it and cancer risk goes up. On the other hand...

* A steel can will rust and return to iron ore.
* A glass bottle is inert, becoming a home for something. It is in a class of visual litter, only harmful to human sensibilities.
* Food scraps. I've never seen a long distance cruiser waste anything material. This is a non-category.
* Plastic. We all agreed to keep that on board.
* Paper. Again, not much of that on boats. Some will burn it, but in all honesty it is no different from a few sticks or leaves from trees.
* Oils and chemicals. I don't think we were talking about these. Any maintenance at sea is probably emergency. But just to get you thinking, I've visited a number of islands on a mission to encourage used oil and solvent collection. Guess where it goes? On Jamaica, for example, some goes in a pit in the ground at each "recycler" and some goes in the drain (the harbor in Kingston is nasty). So shore-side recycling is not always so good. Why don't they burn the oil for fuel at least? because they burn cheap 6% sulfur fuel oil, nearly 10x as dirty as can be burned in the US.

Also there is an implication that a "ship" will visit a port were proper management exists. For the Pardeys that was not the case.

I think it is a matter of smart sorting, but assuming that there is less impact on land is a knee jerk reach, not a reasoned decision. Further more, most cruisers--certainly the Pardeys--have FAR less impact on the environment than the typical consumer using 250 gallons of water per day, mounds of energy and consumer good (that the water use and waste they cause), and driving all over.

Just keep your plastic and figure out that sailors are inherently low impact, because we must be low usage.

(No, I don't dump waste or holding tank; I'm a coastal cruiser and good shore-side facilities are common. I can wait.)
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:53   #11
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

I cruise in Newfoundland, a no dump zone.

I can tell you EXACTLY the number of pump out facilities - zero.

To their credit St. John's is tying to get their sewage facility up and running. Some days it works, some days not. Not too difficult to tell which days the are.

That's a population of about 200,000.

Not picking sides here, I pretty much align with thinwater's approach. Just reporting what I observe.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:12   #12
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

Never anything that wasn't biodegradable over the side except steel cans.
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:12   #13
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

Delancey, in the 80's the world was a much bigger place. There were no webcams on Mt. Everest or the Antarctic stations and things were done differently.

We were taught to throw cans overboard because they would sink and rust and quickly decay, and those new aluminum cans would come apart even faster. We were taught to throw food waste overboard since the fish or crabs would eat it. We kept plastic, since otherwise it might float all the way to France and why give it to them for free?

Paper plates, like Chinet, and packaging, wore torn into coin-sized pieces and thrown overboard to get soggy and break back down into plant pulp, the same stuff that washes into the sea every day from every shore.

So?

By the late 90's we learned that cans don't break down in anoxic bottom-waters and that trawlers get pissed about pulling out the garbage.

You've got to put a context on things. What you call trash, someone else calls valuable fertilizer or resources. Take a look at the copyright date on that Pardey book, and put it in context. *1980* publication, which means it was written in the 1970's.

When there were no disposable plastic water bottles to be found, either. Ever bought one of those?
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:13   #14
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

I rigorously follow the written waste disposal plan aboard my boat. That plan states "all trash will be bagged and removed upon reaching land and will be transported to the home of Udo Nettner (the PO now deceased)." I trust that Udo doesn't mind as I have never received a complaint.
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:37   #15
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Re: Do You Dump Your Trash Over Board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
I was a bit shocked when my wife read me the following passage from Lin and Larry Pardey's "Care And Feeding Of The Offshore Crew" regarding trash.

Really?

Gee, thanks older generation. Thanks for getting yours while the getting was good. Thanks for leaving the world a better place than you found it. Nice work.
It's not an older generational thing. We actually see the younger, entitled folks just throwing trash out their car windows where we live in the city. Never the older folks.

Regarding trash on board. My wife drives me nuts, her and her sister describe themselves as "avid recyclers," and find it somewhat stressful when they can't always get to a recycling bin in other countries. But onboard, the trash can pile up for 3-4 days bagged in the dinghy, then is all taken to shore for proper disposal. On passages lasting longer (which are very few) food becomes fish food, cans are filled with water and sunk, glass too if there is any (which is rare), but all plastic is saved and taken ashore. It is disheartening to see all the plastic bags drifting close to shore while sailing, but I think that the vast majority of them blow into sewer drains on land and are then washed out to sea with the rain... or they blow into the water.

Ken
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