Monthly Archives: March 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Trash & Garbage Management – Part 2

5. Use rechargeable batteries when possible and keep a portable inverter and charging units on the boat to make them convenient. When using disposable batteries, keep an eraser handy to clean off the contacts – they will tend to last longer that way (also be sure to only use batteries in matched pairs for optimal efficiency.) And dispose of them properly.

6. Keep the use of paper products to a minimum. Label a set of various size “microfiber wipers” with their intended purpose – galley counters, cockpit, heads, sole, topsides, dinghy, etc. If you do use paper towels, buy the new “variable” sheet-size rolls, it is amazing how much that reduces usage. And if paper plates are required.

7. Have a large stash of dish towels in two colors – hang two from the oven door. One for hand-drying and one for dish drying. Change them every day.

8. Three to six paper napkin per day per crew member adds up to a lot of landfill and a lot of missing trees. Consider using no-iron, cloth napkins with a variety of fun, “individual” napkin rings. We are always on the look-out for boat napkin rings when we go ashore – they’re great souvenirs. Replace the napkins every couple of days – depending on how messy the meals are…. . Alternatively – or in addition – stock post-consumer, recycled paper ones.

9. And about those black plastic garbage bags – buy 100% biodegradable and compostable one. BioBags are one option. They’re good for about 12 days before the contents start to “compost” the bag…. (And they make dog pooper bags as well.) So maybe they are not such a good idea for a long cruise – but great when frequent landfalls are planned.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Trash & Garbage Management – Part 1

Managing trash on a boat – especially if you are on a longish cruise – is a major issue. Even if you are out for the weekend or the day, dragging a big black plastic bag of trash and garbage to the dumpster is never a good feeling. Here are a few thoughts for reducing the size of that bag. A lot of these ideas are ones that many of us use at home but when we get to the boat, all those good practices seem to be pushed aside.

1. Try to minimize individual drink bottles. There are pros and cons to plastic and glass, but they all take up space on the boat and, even if most are recycled, some still end up in the landfill. Fill one gallon jug with triple filtered boat water, add five teabags and lash it to the mast every morning for a constant supply of solar tea. Step it up by adding slices of fruit.

2. Assign every crew member a “water bottle” with his/her name on it. They can be used for all kinds of drinks – maybe even cocktails. They don’t spill, and don’t fill up the sink or the trash bin. The options include Lexan plastic bottles (i.e. Nalgene in the $10 range) or higher-end customizable SIGG (Swiss Engineered Water Bottles) for about $20 that offer 144 bottle designs with a choice of 22 lids – they have light-weight aluminum exteriors with a secret formula liner.

3. Label disposable drink glasses with each crew members’ name so they can be reused for a couple days before tossing. A fine point permanent marker works well.

4. -Keep reusable Shopping bags – string and canvas — on the boat and tuck one in your pocket when heading ashore – or take a whole raft if it’s a big provisioning run. The smaller net bags work well for produce and several can be loaded into the larger cotton ones. You could even up the ante one more notch by looking for organic cotton bags. In any event, try not to bring paper bags or cardboard boxes onto the boat – they not only fill up the garbage bags but they also provide homes to a variety of small creatures.