Introduction to End of Life FRP

For Boatbreakers one of the biggest issues we are always conscious of is what to do with old Fibreglass. The majority of boats we recycle are made from FRP (Fibre Re-enforced Plastic).

But currently there is no market for the material once the boats are broken down. Waste FRP is currently crushed down and sent to landfill.

Over the years we have tried to support as many people as we can who want to try and find solutions for the material. FRP’s biggest strength as a building material is how strong and durable it is. It is also less time consuming to build boats out of FRP instead of wood.

On the other hand the material’s strength is also a problem as it doesn’t rot away or break down. We have seen evidence that it dries out and becomes brittle. Although even when brittle it still retains a fair amount of rigidity.

This issue is only a problem if the material is sent to landfill. If a re-use for the FRP could be found this strength could be a positive.

In this article we will list some of the examples of projects we have supported who have tried to create a re-use solution for fibreglass.

Second hand material website

In early 2019 we were visited by Marion who was an Architecture student from Luxembourg. Her project needed her to find a building material that was currently hard to recycle. Once she had found a product she had to come up with ideas on potential re-uses.

Marion chose Fibreglass from old boats as she had become aware of the need for a solution. After getting in contact with us we invited her down to the scrapyard. We gave her as much FRP as she wanted and let her film the planning and cutting process for a dinghy. She cut the dinghy down into usable sections that could be used as roof tiles.

After Marion’s project was finished she produced an article about her findings and how she had worked with us. Since her visit we have also had more students in the year below her at the same University in London.

Boatbreakers is now listed on a website called Opalis that features materials that can be re-used. We now offer cut sections of second-hand fibreglass to order.

FRP Decorative Tiles

Another student we have spoken to is John from Germany. He is studying Design at the Royal College London and like Marion was tasked with finding a difficult to recycle material for his project.

During his research stage John realised the issues around old FRP. And just how many dead boats there were around to source the material from.

John’s idea is to create decorative tiles that can be used on buildings as an artistic feature. They don’t have to necessarily have any structural importance. Instead they will be arranged into patterns to give walls an interesting layered effect.

This idea won’t solve the whole problem but could reduce large amounts of FRP ending up in landfill. Also if people market the tiles and are able to sell them to designers it could reduce the cost of scrapping for boat owners.

In addition the tiles, thanks to John will be talked about at show in Milan who will be pitching the idea to potential buyers. Hopefully it gains some traction as we think the idea looks great in John’s concept drawings.

FRP Garden Planters

We always get asked for rowing boats and dinghies for garden planters. This is would be a perfect solution to make sure that the whole boat avoids landfill. Because the boat is waterproof they make great planters.

If you want a nice boaty feature for the garden get in contact. The boats aren’t something that we will hang on for too long. So please keep an eye on our social media and if you think there’s a boat you’d like, give us a call.

French Huts

Similarly a really extremely but very cool solution for boat hulls would be to flip the boats to make the hulls into roofs. A village in France has done just that mostly with wooden boats. But FRP would look just as cool and would be much easier to maintain. To read the article about the French village click here.

Mounted Wall Displays

Whilst in Australia Steve has stumbled across an idea that we toyed with for our new office. The bow section of Wild Oats XI is now mounted on the wall of Hamilton Island Yacht Club. If you want a section of boat to mount on a wall here in the UK we’d be happy to help.

Likewise we’ve always thought boats or boat bits look great in themed bars. You often see boat made into the actually bar itself. Boatbreakers took a Victory class sailing yacht up from Portsmouth to Leeds to become the centre piece of their bar.

Items made out of FRP. Book ends, Xmas Dec’s? Photo frames?

Above all we think it’s important that until the governments help us to stop the material going to landfill people need to be creative. Sections of FRP could be cut and made into house hold items like Book ends, Quirky photo frames, door stops, or even Xmas decorations for the treat. Even small ideas could help to bring down the amount of FRP sent to landfill. The solution doesn’t have to solve the whole problem but enough options coming together could make a real difference.

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Finally, if you have a boat that needs to be recycled, use our Scrap Calculator to get in contact.

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