Terry Hawkins Industries, Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada. (902) 875-4333 THI@TerryHawkinsIndustries.com
Environmental Responsibility at THI
Fibreglass as a petroleum product is, at first glance, an environmentally unfriendly product, however THI is already involved in plans to not only “green” its own operation but those of the Fibreglass based boatyards on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.
Terry Hawkins is a member of the Ecology Action Centre and is very active in the application of green thinking to THI’s manufacturing processes. These actions include:
Use of Environmentally friendly Resins
Using materials from renewable sources is a key component of Ashland Canada Corp’s ENVIREZ resin line. These are the only fibreglass resins that incorporate bio-derived materials available today and THI is using Ashland’s ENVIREZ line of resins in both its panel and post production.
ENVIREZ resin products offer quality performance while also reducing the environmental impact associated with traditional petrochemical-based resin systems.
THI will continue to monitor developments in this area and will introduce new environmentally friendly raw materials into the manufacturing process as they become available.
12% Bio-Derived components
Resin & Gel Coat Reclamation
Both Resin and Gel Coat are subject to "use before dates" and are also susceptible to extremes of heat and cold.
Up until now the only recourse was to ship expired and condemned product to a hazardous waste landfill at great monetary and environmental cost.
THI has done extensive research and development into the reclamation of this product with the result that both products even though they are no longer capable of being used by the local boat builders can be used in the new THI reclamation developed processes.
Depending on the condition of the resin the THI manufacturing process can accommodate between 15 and 40% by volume in the manufacture of new panels. Gel Coat can be reclaimed and used at almost 100% by volume.
The results of this research which has been the subject of National Research Council of Canada assistance funding are:
- a less polluted environment,
- a low cost source of raw material for THI and
- a cost saving to local boat shops and other manufacturers of fibreglass products
Recycling FRP Waste.
The Pultrusion production process uses up to 15% filler. Traditionally Calcium Carbonate is used but cutoff and scrap from the panel production process has already been added to a number of processes. It is ground to a similar consistency as CaCO3 and substituted in the manufacturing process. As our production grows and our own waste no longer keeps pace with our requirements we are planning to use of other sources of fibreglass waste. This plan not only reduces THI’s production cost but will have a significant impact on landfills where this waste typically ends up.
Alternate Uses of Waste.
The pultrusion process needs a warm-up run of approximately 300’ before the colour sets in correctly. The product produced during this run would normally be waste but depending on the product being produced is being used for other purposes, for example thin walled tubing is used by the local fishing community for high-flyer masts and gaff & boathook handles.
The pultrusion process also results in a cool down waste from the resin which crystallizes. This material being crystalline has the potential to be used in costume jewelry, Terry Hawkins is currently working with an Italian organization to provide material for them for just this purpose.
1. It is possible to use a mix of conventional heating oil and used cooking oil (upto 50-50 ratio) in the heating furnace with a fairly simple retrofit to the furnace. THI will have converted completely to this mixture at the start of the 2009/2010 heating season. A constant supply of this oil has been secured from local restaurants and is already being stockpiled.
2. THI is completing the development of a solar heating system using cut-offs and pultrusion warm-up product that will provide heating initially for the product curing process with other uses to follow. This also being viewed as a potential business opportunity.
The manufacturing process requires a constant supply of containers for resin, hardener, pigment, dye, catalyst etc. These containers can be used a number of times but eventually need to be replaced. THI taps into a number of sources to gather containers from 5 gallon oil buckets to 500g yoghurt containers to reuse them before they eventually get returned to the recycling system thus extending their useful life.
The whole THI Sign-Mark-Sign® system is also beneficial in reducing environmental impact.
Replacing Wood. Even though the most often used technology is steel and aluminum there are still a large number of wood posts being used. Wood is less expensive in the short term but only lasts 5 years maximum (versus indefinitely for FRP), has obvious impacts of reducing the green cover and frequently employs unfriendly chemicals in the preservatives used to delay rotting.
Durability and Longevity. FRP posts and signs are light weight and do not rust or rot, wood rots, steel even though galvanized rusts eventually. This durability reduces service and maintenance costs through less actual replacement plus it reduces the impact of frequent use of service trucks and personnel. Light weight reduces transportation costs.
Use of existing infrastructure. All THI signs and panels are designed to use the existing infrastructure thus eliminating the needs for retrofitting.