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The future of disused leisure boats

Recycling of old leisure boats

In the second half of the 20th century, there was a massive surge in the construction of ships and leisure boats made of polyester rather than wood and metal. Many of those leisure boats are now at the end of their lifecycle and ready for scrapping. The foreign press has spread some alarming figures, stating some 25,000 boats in the Netherlands and even 50,000 in France and the United Kingdom are affected. But where are the Flemish leisure boats that are ready to be scrapped? And how many are there? We can only guess, partly because in Flanders there are no scrapyards for these polyester boats.

The current recycling methods vary from landfilling and incinerating with energy recovery to use in concrete applications. This case illustrates the problem across Flanders and should serve as a basis for the development of a sustainable long-term solution.

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