Our Partners in Sustainable Forestry
The principle wood we will use is locally grown and harvested Douglas Fir, which will form the major structure, masts and hull of the vessel. The Douglas Fir for our ship has been generously donated by the Conservation Fund from their 50,000 acres of sustainably managed forests in Mendocino California. The Conservation Fund is rehabilitating these forests to be commercially productive through stewardship management while also creating a healthy and biologically diverse forest. By employing a mix of conservation and preservation techniques the Conservation Fund is able to protect portions of their forests from logging. This preservation sequesters carbon in the forest and allows to the Conservation Fund to generate substantial income by selling carbon credits.
After wood, metals are the next largest component used in ship construction and can be classified as “technical nutrients” if they are properly recycled back into the production stream. As an example, forty tons of lead will be safely contained and sequestered when used as ballast and batteries aboard our ship. Lead with a low melting temperature can easily and indefinitely be returned into the product stream.
Copper-based alloys that will hold the ship together and will be used in electrical wiring and electrical components can simply be recycled as a “technical nutrient.” Smaller amounts of steel and stainless steel will also be returned for reuse. More challenging however, are the very small amounts of rare metals that are used in shipboard electronics and will require sophisticated recovery methods.
Coatings, paints and glues can be a source of pollution in their production, application and end-cycle due in part to the difficulty of isolating, retrieving and recycling these substances. Fortunately, today there are many better options available than ever before. For example, marine bottom paints were designed in the past to be as toxic as possible to organisms that grow on boat bottoms, without regard to the impact on the larger marine environment. Driven by consumer demand for “greener” products and tighter environmental regulations, new paints are now available that work just as well to keep bottoms clean and are considered eco-friendly.
Plastics represent a more difficult challenge. While many can be recycled, they are usually ‘down-cycled’ and soon become less valuable ending up in landfills or disposed of as fuel in incinerators with environmental consequences that are not fully understood. All of the electronics and computers contain hard-to-recycle plastics and exotic heavy metals and complex toxic compounds. Few manufactures consider the endgame of their products or take responsibility after they are sold. We will look for the best outcome for every piece of electronics that comes aboard our ship.
Dacron Sails and lines represent the largest plastic component used onboard our sailing ship. Modern sailors know the huge advantage in efficiency and longevity that Dacron offers. We are researching the fate of recycled Dacron generically referred to as PET. There is a non-mechanical recycling process being developed that breaks down the materials within the PET plastic to their base building blocks so that they can be recombined to create essentially virgin quality PET. This has the potential of making PET plastic infinitely recyclable without any loss of physical properties.