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Reducing shrink-wrap's impact

Mar 20, 2014

Short of having a custom cover built for your boat, shrink wrapping is the best way to protect a boat from the snow and ice of winter. But in the spring after the shrink wrap comes off, you're faced with a pile of nonbiodregradeable plastic that will likely sit in a landfill forever. If your boat is located in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin or selected locations in New York state, you can participate in Dr. Shrink's 2014 Recycling Run. For the fifth year, the company is working with Bay Area Recycling to pick up and recycle used shrink wrap. This year all pickups will be conducted in July.

All Recycling Run participants must buy the EZ Fill Bags from Dr. Shrink for $5 and fill them with shrink wrap only, no strapping, buckles, vents or other contaminants. A video showing how to properly prepare the bags is available on the Recycling Run website. The drop-off locations and more info is also available on the Recycling Run website.

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Apr 15, 2014 02:05 pm
 Posted by  Harmonyundersail

While shrink wrap provides good protection, it is worth running a few numbers with respect to a custom canvas cover. To cover our Westsail 42 in a shrink-wrap cover costs about $1,500 annually. We had a custom canvas cover constructed by our sailmaker for about $4,500. Given that the canvas cover has an expected life of 10 years assuming proper care, the return on the extra upfront investment in year 1 is very attractive. The break-even point is about 3 years, and it is easily installed by one person (I am 58). The canvas cover breathes better than plastic and when one installs an effective zippered door, working on the boat during the winter is very easy. Given that shrink-wrap must be recycled and the canvas is more of a natural fiber basis, the environmental impact is much less with the custom cover.

Given the longer term financial return and the improved environmental benefits, I suggest that a custom cover be considered over a shrink-wrap. While we chose our sailmaker, there are other sources of custom canvas covers and there are always off-season deals.

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