Ship dismantling as recycling and waste management issue

February 23, 2021

EU regulation limits end-of-life ship export to developing countries for dismantling and recycling environmental problems and safety and health problems.

Ship dismantling has been done traditionally with low technology and lots of manual work. EU region does not have sufficient capacity.

Ships contain lots of different materials:

  • Metals are valuable for recycling
  • Lots of other materials, which can be hazardous waste or difficult and expensive for treatment, recycling and disposal
  • Separation of different materials challenging
  • Dismantling conditions difficult

Sustainability of ship recycling

Environmental sustainability of ship dismantling, recycling and waste management can be studied using life cycle assessment (LCA). A few studies have been done earlier for ship recycling in developing countries and USA. LCA will be used in this research to reveal important factors for the environmental sustainability of ship dismantling and recycling.

These factors are e.g.:

  • Recycling rate of different materials (losses of recyclables)
  • Recycling purpose and value (purity of separated recyclables)
  • Recycling process and its location
  • Reuse possibilities
  • Reject materials, their further treatment, recovery and disposal
  • Hazardous materials
  • Dismantling methods (e.g. energy and chemicals consumption)
  • Separation efforts

Environmental sustainability factors can be compared and studied with economic feasibility factors. Cost effectivity of different treatment and separation operations in comparison with environmental impacts. Needs for treatment and further separation of rejects will be studied.

  1. Useful materials in rejects and their concentrations
  2. Harmful materials and their concentrations in rejects
  3. Possibilities to separate them from each other
  4. Utilization possibilities
  5. Disposal demands
  6. Costs

Source: Kokousmuistio Mika H 20200424_liite_Ship dismantling as recycling and waste management issue