ECO-Friendly  HDPE

The problems:

South-East Asia has a huge plastic problem.

Seventy-five per cent of globally exported waste ends up in Asia. Southeast Asia in particular has become a dumping ground for wealthier countries’ waste. After China’s ban, the amount of plastic waste imported to countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia more than doubled. Thailand and Vietnam recently restricted plastic waste imports, with a complete ban planned for in the coming years. These countries’ waste management is also woefully inadequate. Recycling rates throughout the world, but especially in Southeast Asia, remain low. Policymakers in Southeast Asia have yet to prioritise waste management. They need to significantly invest in improving waste infrastructure and facilities. Ultimately, manufacturers need to make products that can be better recycled. (1

End of life boats

Recreational craft that are at the end of their useful life need to be disposed of in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. This is no small problem. It is claimed that Europe has one of the largest concentrations of recreational craft in the world, with over 6 million in the European Union alone (NVDR: 12 million in the United States right now). It is estimated that as many as 95% of these are made from Fibre Reinforced Plastic.  

Because Fibre Reinforced Plastic is highly durable, end-of-life disposal has not been a major issue so far. However, the time is coming when even these boats will reach the end of their lives and will have to be disposed of. The consensus among delegates attending a “Sustainability at The Marine Industry” conference held last November in conjunction with METS is that, worldwide somewhere between 35 to 40 million boats are now approaching the end of their life. As regulation is starting to restrict the disposal of FRP to landfill, recycling will become the only realistic option.  

Today, in spite of the great advances in waste management in Europe, there is a compelling need to include specific measures related to the management and recycling of boats aimed at:

  • ensuring that they are designed and manufactured in such a way as to allow reuse, recycling and recovery to be achieved;
  • preventing waste;
  • promoting reuse, recyclability and recovery;
  • obligating the use of manufacturing processes without hazardous substances;
  • improving the environmental performance of all involved in the life-cycle of boats.  

 (2)

In his keynote presentation at the 2016 METS Breakfast Briefing, Steven Beckers, president of the Brussels-based Lateral Thinking Factory, spoke about the benefits of designing boats with a view to being broken up and recycled at the end of their life. “

Materials should be used, not consumed,” said Beckers. “We need to think of products like boats as raw material banks for the future. Materials appreciate in value over time. Designing boats with an eye to their eventual deconstruction will allow boats to retain greater value at every stage of their life, including the end of it.”

South East Asia Carbon footprint

Our Carbon footprint is, of course, a global problem. South East Asia may not be the main culprit but a fast growing annual carbon emission of 1200 million of metric tons of carbon per year is certainly not negligible.

Anti-fouling

Due to severe environmental concerns the use of certain anti-fouling have recently had been much regulated.

Unfortunately, the use of biocides in the aquatic environment has proved to be harmful as it has toxic effects on the marine environment. The most commonly used biocides in antifouling paints are Tributyltin (TBT), ChlorothalonilDichlofluanid, Sea-Nine 211, Diuron, Irgarol 1051 and Zinc Pyrithione. Restrictions were imposed on the use of TBT, that’s why organic booster biocides were recently introduced. The replacement products are generally based on copper metal oxidesand organic biocides. (3)

Maria Alexandra Bighin concluded in her dissertation at the Stockholm university:

This thesis illustrates several concerning aspects regarding the use of AF paints in the Baltic Sea, ranging from the extent of their use on boat hulls, to metal contamination of the biofouling and of the environment and toxicity to non-target species. We have shown that high levels of metals are present in AF paints on leisure boats, sometimes contrary to the regulations, and that these metals are transferred to the biofouling mass which often is discarded on the boatyard soil at the end of the boating season. Moreover, this contaminated biofouling may represent a risk for organisms feeding upon it. Furthermore, we have shown that the use of AF paints is associated with chronic toxic effects on the snail Theodoxus fluviatilis (e.g. reduced reproduction and growth, increased frequency of tissue alterations, increased mortality). We believe that consideration of mixture effects and multiple stressors (e.g. parasites, nutrient levels) in the natural environment is crucial for managing existing and emerging AF contaminants.

 

HDPE Solutions

Recyclability

HDPE is 100 % recyclable. HDPE is accepted at most recycling centres in the world, as it is one of the easiest plastic polymers to recycle. 

Resistance to marine growth

Thanks to the non-abrasive properties of HDPE no anti-fouling is required on this material.

Carbon Footprint

The carbon footprint of HDPE production is 5 times lower than aluminium. HDPE has an “eco indicator 95” of 2.8mPt, while aluminium has a value of 56.3mPt, the “eco indicator 95” is a method used to look at the production and life cost of materials, where the lower the value the lower the environmental impact. The energy required to manufacture 1kg of HDPE is 81Mj/kg compared with aluminium at over 200mj/kg

  • (1)Dr Danny Marks Southeast Asia’s plastic waste problem, eastasiaforum
  • (2)Royal Yachting Association
  • (3)Antifouling processes and toxicity effects of antifouling paints on marine environment. Intissar Amara, Wafa Miled, Rihab Ben Slama, Neji Ladhari
  • (4)vandongederoo.com/co2-calculator/