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The problem with fibreglass: Environmental concern over old boats

What happens to fibreglass when it reaches the end of its life? Credit: ITV News Anglia

Fibreglass transformed boat production, but there is growing concern about what to do with the material when it reaches the end of its life.

Since the 1950s fibreglass, made of polyester resin and glass fibres, was seen as revolutionary. It was cheap to produce, strong, and extremely long lasting.

It helped make sailing accessible for all, but its environmental qualities are less impressive.

There is currently no means of recycling it and with many of those early craft coming to the end of their life, the question is, what to do with it?

  • Click below for Jonathan Wills' report

Chris Smith, the founder of the Naked Scientists in Cambridge, who speak on a wide variety of scientific issues, said one possible use for old fibreglass was to make concrete.

  • Click below for Jonathan and Becky's chat with Chris Smith about fibreglass

So what is fibreglass and how do you build a boat from it? ITV News Anglia has been to Fairline Yachts, based in Oundle in Northamptonshire to find out. They've built more than 12,000 boats since they started in 1967 and they're all made our of fibreglass.

  • Click below to find out how Fairline Yachts build a fibreglass boat

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