How to Recycle a GRP boat?

GRP: from construction to recycling

Strong and durable: salvation and curse

GRP, which stands for glass reinforced plastic and also known simply as fibreglass, is indeed strong and durable, light and flexible. It was the perfect material for mass productions of boats which by itself has contributed greatly to democratisation of sailing and motorboating in the 1970s and early 1980s.

As you can imagine, the same qualities of the material are becoming its curse when the life of the boats built abundantly 30 and 40 years ago, is approaching its end. While disposal of GRP is a pressing need in many industries, actual GRP recycling is a technologically evolved and complicated task. 

Recycling process

To further build up the complexity of recycling of end-of-life GRP boats, a single boat is actually a complex mixture of different materials - GRP hulls and deck, wooden interior and deck core, engine and tanks, potentially full of hazardous oils, alloy spars and rigging. On top of that the hulls are frequently painted with harmful anti-foul paints. 

Our process of boat disposal consists of a series of comprehensive solutions, aimed to provide the green treatment of the decommissioned vessels, and GRP recycling is only one of many steps.

Delivering GRP boats for recycling


For any recycling to take place, the boats should be first delivered to our facilities: either by land to Tavistock, or by water to Tamar river. From there on, we become the caregivers to the end of life vessels.

If needed we can also arrange the collection of a boat directly from your property.

Decontamination of GRP hulls


At the next stage, we remove all the contaminants from the boat: engine and the tanks, and most importantly the anti-fouling paint.  It is a must before sending GRP for recycling.

The above is hazardous and is treated accordingly via our waste management partners.

Selling bits of disposed boats

Reusing bits

We remove all of potentially reusable materials and bits, like chandlery items, rigs and a metal keel.

The reclaimed bits and engines are then sold on electronic marketplaces, while scrap metals go directly to scraping.

Sorting materials: GRP, metal, etc


Everything we get out of a boat gets sorted out to separate for reuse, scrapping and GRP recycling, the latter will continue its way to Waste-to-Energy incinerators.

Shredding fibreglass for recycling


The GRP separated from the other materials is shredded into smaller pieces to facilitate the fibreglass recycling.

Waste-to-Energy for GRP recycling


At the final stage, the GRP is incinerated at specialised facility, processing waste at elevated temperatures to produce maximum energy and diminish the potential polution.

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