The term “End-of-Life-Boats” is not generally used in the US where we are more likely to use the broader term “Abandoned and Derelict Vessels (ADV)”.
ADV’s include a variety of boats; trawlers and barges for example, as well as aging fiberglass boats that are seen as an additional challenge and compounding the problem.
They are getting attention, but it’s at the state and regional level rather than the national level.
“First generation fiberglass boats are now obsolete but there is no environmentally responsible way of disposing of them,” is how Professor Dennis Nixon, Rhode Island Sea Grant Director, sums up that challenge.
Run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sea Grant was created to harness the intellectual capacity of the nation’s universities to solve ocean, coastal, Great Lakes and island (hereby referred to as coastal) problems.
Professor Nixon has been investigating boat recycling and says: ‘I have learned so far that boat recycling will have to be subsidized in some way or owners will continue to use the cheapest methods possible: abandonment or disposal in landfills.
Although fiberglass is burned in waste-to-energy incinerators in France, and cement kilns in Germany, air quality rules in the US make that very unlikely here.”
He thinks that the best hope for shredded fiberglass is use in encapsulated insulation products, like the sheets commonly attached to the outside of building foundations.
But the cost of grinding, and then the cost of transporting the product to the manufacturing site, makes the business case pretty difficult.
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