Eco-logical by Capt. Denise Fox

Eco-Friendly, Go-Green, Earthwise, Use It & Reuse It……these are just a few of the many environmental catchphrases commonly used today, and most of us are familiar with at least one of them.  In recent years the eco-friendly revolution has increased its pace in promotion, education and action worldwide. The trend is now here to stay and some folks are even considering it to be ”vogue” to be conducting oneself in an environmentally friendly manner these days.

   Recently while conducting research for Ecoyachts, I've had numerous conversations with yacht crew about their practices onboard concerning recycling. Recycling is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" waste hierarchy, and it is the most commonplace. Often I received comments from crew that the marina or yard that they were in did not recycle. Their conclusion was “even if we did recycle onboard it would be of no consequence” with their assumption that there was no place to properly dispose of the recyclables.
   Often crew indicated that they would recycle if the facility that they were in had a recycling program. Surprisingly, I found out that many of these facilities do recycle. However, the bins are not in plain sight or on the docks, and crew did not bother to ask nor did the facility tell them that recycling is available.
   Armed with the feedback that I received from crew, I decided to contact numerous marinas and yards worldwide that are commonly visited by yachts and superyachts. What I found out is that the trend for marinas and yards to go green is definitely quickly becoming commonplace thus offering recycling in different forms. Depending upon the requirements of the region or by voluntary action this trend is growing very quickly.
 a proactive approach on both parts and effective communication does make a big difference in results in the success of marina and yard recycling programs.Capt. Denise Fox
   This trend includes a provision for recycling bins on the premises of these facilities for plastics and often cardboard and paper in addition to separate hazardous waste disposal. I found out that even though recycle bins are not readily visible on the docks, they are quite often within footsteps of the docks and most facilities provide for recycling in
some form.

   It thus became evident that there has been a lack of communication between facilities and visiting yachts and their crew. Many facilities have not yet added to their welcome package, or to the list of their rules, the fact that they do provide recycling bins somewhere on the premises, nor do they verbally volunteer to tell the captain upon check in. On the other hand, many crew do not ask if there is recycling at the facility if they do not see recycling bins on or near the docks. The result - recycling does not happen in many instances.

   A good example is Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale which participates in the Clean Marina Program. This is a voluntary program designated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with a proactive approach to environmental stewardship. In the USA most coastal states have their own clean marina initiative program. In order for a facility to become a Clean Marina or Clean Boatyard, the facility must implement a set of environmental measures designated to protect  waterways, lakes and coastal shores. A few months ago I spoke with the managers Tim Westphal and Mike McGrath concerning their implementation of the program at Bahia Mar Marina. They indicated that numerous recycling bins for Bahia Mar Marina were at the hotel on premises not on or near the docks.
    At that time they did not have a notice in their welcome package about where the recycling bins were located nor did they inform visiting yachts about this. Tim indicated that the percentage of yachts volunteering to ask about recycling and utilizing recycling was approximately 25%. They were in the process of redesigning their welcome package to include more specific information about how they recycle and were considering placing a few bins at the heads of the main docks to see how it would make a difference in use by yacht crew.

   I have recently followed up with Bahia Mar Marina managers and they now have a newly revised welcome package including information on recycling that can be posted onboard the yachts for crew to read. Combined with their installation of bins at the heads of some main docks, Tim and Mike have told me that now more than 80% of the visiting yachts are actively recycling.
   Of the facilities I spoke to who did not take a proactive approach and inform their visiting yachts about their recycling facilities, an average of 25% of visiting yachts would ask about recycling and actually do it. Of the facilities that informed visiting yachts both verbally upon check in and stated it clearly in their welcome material, 80% of the yachts actively recycled. The conclusion is that a proactive approach on both parts and effective communication does make a big difference in results in the success of marina and yard recycling programs.

   Much of how we should be conducting ourselves individually in being friendly to our fragile world environment is to take a proactive approach. If it isn’t evident that a facility provides recycling bins then ask. You may very well find out that they do and in many instances they would be glad to take your recycling from you at the yacht. There is definitely a need for improvement in communication between crew, marines and yards. Facilities worldwide on some level are now implementing and positively improving their impact upon the environment to abide by local environmental regulations as well as to voluntarily improve their impact on the environment.  The best thing you can do is to educate yourself about local recycling rules and voluntary local programs and ask about recycling at the port or facility you are visiting. 
Show You Care, Do Your Share, Think ecoLOGICAL and join the green revolution.

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