One of the oldest sailing clubs in the country has made a
very contemporary decision in order to improve and maintain its beautiful
estuary-side environment. As part of a clearance project, the General Committee
of Starcross Yacht Club has banned the use of old tyres to support boats and
other craft, providing its own branded wooden stands as a sustainable
As Commodore Ian Purvis explains, the move was made in order
to remove approximately 400 end-of-life tyres from the club site: “The
advantage has been that they are normally free to anyone who wants them. The
problem is that they risk particulate waste leaching into the river and local
area, and they make the site look very untidy.”
The wooden stands provided and funded by the club for its
members’ craft are made-to-measure for each boat category and tie-downs are
used to anchor trolleys firmly. They have been constructed on-site by club
volunteers, using timber sourced from sustainable forests.
Adjoining the club site is the busy London to Penzance railway
line, and Network Rail have recently replaced the security fencing, which meant
that many of the boats had to be moved. This became the ideal opportunity to complete
the tyre removal project. Four volunteers have spent about 100 hours making the
stands, and another 100 deploying them.
The disposal of the tyres was carefully considered by the
General Committee. It is a costly process, especially for perished tyres, as
their composite materials do not easily lend themselves to shredding or
chipping, but they can be recycled into many products including an addition to
asphalt and railway sleepers to decrease vehicle noise, soft surfaces for
playgrounds and equestrian areas and as a fuel for industrial products, notably
in cement kilns.
The club will be celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2022; the
huge clearance project in preparation for this has also included the removal of
around 1.5 tons of scrap metal from discarded, rusting trolleys and trailers
and several hundred kilogrammes of other items abandoned behind sheds, racks
and hedges over decades. Steve Peat, Berth Marshal, also dealt with quite a
number of abandoned boats, tracking down many of the owners, selling some and
scrapping the remainder.
tyres were removed by Sean's Tyre Services in Plymouth and transported to
Fraser Evans recycling in Oxfordshire at a total cost around £1300. The scrap metal
went to Newbery Metals in Exeter. This was cost neutral; the scrap metal value
was swapped for the loading and transport charge. The club employs EMS waste
management services at Clyst St Mary in East Devon for general waste, including
the old boats, at a charge of £190 per ton.
The cost of all the waste management has worked out at under
£2 per member for a single membership year.
The volunteers still have work to do; feedback from members
so far has been overwhelmingly positive, but the next stage of the club’s anniversary
plans is to create some family areas with seating at the top and bottom of the
site which is leased from the Powderham Estate.