Why Yachts Don’t Recycle


“We would love to. Every time I throw a thousand used water bottles in the bin, I wish there was just some way I could stop ruining the planet.” Says Jojo Biggs, chief stew on a 65-meter motor yacht capable of covering a small atoll in rubbish after a single day’s worth of operations. “But the problem is the shipyards and marinas don’t provide facilities for it, so what’s the point?”

“We’ve tried providing separated waste facilities for recycling to the yachts,” States Jim Flananagan, director of direction for Stay Here Forever Shipyards (specializing in jobs on a tight time scale).”But the crew just don’t use them. Plus the city won’t send their collection trucks all the way out here anyway. So what’s the point?”

“We used to send collection trucks out there,” Parries Johnny Rotten, head of recycling for the city of Palm Beach. “But they never had any recyclable material for us to pick up. So what’s the point?”

Clearly an intractable juggernaut of a problem. Who will be the first to blink in this stalemate? Who will crack and just go ahead and put a plastic bottle in a clear bag and say, “Hey, I think you can recycle these. You know, melt them down, and use them all again for something, rather than put them in a pile somewhere and wait for them to outlast all of us by like a million years.” The current outlook for a break in this impasse would be grim, were it not for an IMO mandate regarding enforcement of recycling on all vessels which is expected to pass in the very near future, perhaps even as early as 2075.

“With disposal and discharge of oil, garbage, sewage and certain gases already in place, it was easy to co-ordinate a rapid response to the problem of poor recycling habits in the marine sector at large.” Announces Ernst Bremner, IMO spokesperson. “Using the existing framework of the MARPOL convention already in place for dealing with garbage we are planning to push this through in record time. By pulling a number of heavy, all-afternoon sessions scattered over the next few decades, we are confident we can have this pushed through in no more than 60 years.”

With the days seemingly numbered in which everything from dinner leftovers to unopened packs of Mardi Gras beads can be dumped in the same bin, crew on many vessels are trying to get out in front of the issue by raising it now with captains and vessel managers. One junior deckhand explained that the real trouble with getting a recycling program going onboard appears to be space and carpentry-related.

“Its always the same. I get told we don’t recycle because the marina doesn’t take it. So then I offer to drive it to the depot myself. Then I’m told that’s not what the crew car is for. So I offer to rent one myself. And thats when the truth comes out.” He explains at this point he’s told that the main problem is there is nowhere to put recycling bins in the confines of an enormous superyacht, and plus new cabinets would have to be made, “And they say that will be expensive. They ask if I know how much that would cost. And I don’t of course, because I have no idea what sort of wood they want to use or fittings or whatever, I just don’t want to throw my can in a bag that goes in a landfill. But no one wants to hear it. So for whatever reason I’m still doing just that, and I don’t really get why it’s so hard.”

3 thoughts on “Why Yachts Don’t Recycle

  1. Hi , I have always wondered why people/yachties just don’t stop drinking bottled water, canned drinks etc. then there won’t be all the waste to try and contend with! It’s so simple and getting to the source of the problem!In an environment where everything is excessive we are so worried about ‘running out’ of food or drinks somewhere, as if it’s a real problem?Consume and shop for the sake of it….because we can mentality!


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