Yachts, a mine of recyclable resources abandoned in harbours

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

Electric and electronic devices, paint, steel and fibreglass can be recovered from leisure crafts.

About 6 to 9 thousand yachts and other leisure boats are abandoned in Europe every year. These are the estimates by Mirna Cieniewicz, the European Boating Industry delegate at the Yacht Recycling Conference in Amsterdam. “Right now – explains Cieniewicz – there are no mandatory recycling rules for small vessels; the Hong Kong Convention only includes big ships.”

Yachts contain electric and electronic devices, but also a multitude of materials such as paint, steel and fibreglass. “We must not underestimate this source of secondary raw materials”, says Cieniewicz. According to Roberto Perocchio of ICOMIA Marinas Group, about 10% of boats in European marinas are not in regular use, while 2% of all boats go out of use every year, ending up in the so-called boat graveyards. “Sending vessels to landfill is complicated and very expensive – says Perocchio – We need a solution.

About 40 million leisure boats can be found in harbours globally. “There are 72.500 end-of-life boats in the Netherlands – says Geert Dijks of the Dutch maritime organisation HISWA. “This equals 14% of the total fleet.”

A possible circular approach would be to reintegrate the components in the production cycle, suggests Carla Demaria, from the Italian marine industry association UCINA. She compares the situation to the automotive industry, but acknowledges that the yacht sector is much smaller: “Take Renault for example: it remanufactured over 200 thousand parts at a site in France in 2013. The quality was the same as the original parts, and that operation saw a turnover of 100 million Euro that year.”

France dismantled 4 thousand boats since 2009, while a governmental programme in Japan led to the recycling of over 6 thousand leisure boats between 2005 and 2015.

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