Can fibreglass be recycled, in 2015, yes or no?
Short answer: Basically, yes.
There are techniques and methods. And one excellent article offering a fine concise summary into that specific topic, was written a few years ago: Recycling Dead Boats. By naval architect Eric Sponberg.
Apart from the fact that this article is a good read also for laypersons and anyone totally new to the topic, it also describes various recycling approaches like open loop versus closed loop recycling. The author is US based but compares the US situation to Europe which of course adds interesting points to the picture.
Various companies and organisations in fact are busy with fibreglass recycling, since years. And again it is important to look closer at what we might understand as successful “recycling” here: Cutting fibreglass down into smaller pieces and integrate the remainders in other materials? Dissolving the constituting parts of fibreglass into separate materials and re-use these? If so, how far is it technically possible dissolve them and to what degree? There are various options, each of them being worth a closer look.
As guideline while looking at the available options today I propose: Successful fibreglass recycling contributes to a long-term, sustainable solution of the fibreglass waste problem. It helps to ensure that the fibreglass hulls of sailing and motor yachts won’t get dumped somewhere on a landfill or worse, abandoned in the landscape. And as side-effect, sustainable fibreglass recycling helps to create some more jobs in that special nautical industry branch.
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- Amsterdam Yacht recycling conference: A Summary - November 18, 2015