Is Sail Recycling from the Isle of Wight the New Innovation in Insulation?

This guest article is by Peter Le Masurier from Wightsails.

It is common ground that the better insulated your loft, the more economical your heating is.

So what choices do you have when it comes to additional insulation? Moreover, what eco-friendly alternatives exist?  We, as consumers, are encouraged to fill our lofts to the brim with more loft insulation made from newly manufactured glass fibre. More man-made material eventually ends up in landfills at varying degrees of cost, none of which is cheap to fill the whole loft.

Wightsails Deckchair and Windbreak

Can recycled sails be used for home insulation?

There are alternatives such as sheep’s wool insulation, recycled irritant-free fibre and the like, but here at Wightsails we are experimenting with shredded sailcloth. It is a very early stage of testing and we are now looking at mixing the sailcloth with recycled wool, and maybe a binder to make what looks more like a roll of insulation. At the moment, we have sailcloth in hessian sacks, tied in a long sausage train and spread throughout the loft.

The advantages of shredded sailcloth as insulation will undoubtedly be cost, breathability, no health risks, and it ought to be moisture repellent. When packed, the sailcloth is resilient, and we are convinced it has thermal qualities.

This could cost a fraction of the eco alternatives currently available, and be even cheaper than the mainstream glass fibre loft insulation. It should also retain its character and shape, and make it a useable product, for both loft and cavity insulation.

Where loft space is irregular or difficult to access, common practice is to fill with cellulose fibre and other products. Indeed, cellulose is becoming more popular with new homes for cavity wall insulation as well. Basically, it’s recycled paper mixed with adhesives and flame resistant mixture, which can then be loosely packed, or you may have seen it being sprayed on.

What process would be required to make it happen?

We believe that sailcloth could prove a practical alternative to this treatment, especially if we mix it with flame resistance material (as we would have to). This not only binds it a little but makes the material unattractive to vermin, kills insects and fungus and dry rot.

It would be kind on the skin, cheaper than cellulose, and useless in the way of chemicals. The only additional ingredient needed is the fire retardant, and we are looking at a product called Borax which would appear to be one of the greener versions (not solely man-made), that are essential for this type of product.

With rising energy prices, property owners are well aware of the benefits of insulating their homes, and if eco alternatives such as this can be found at a fraction of the cost, what better way to insulate your home.

Just how many sails are thrown into landfills in any one year is a statistic we are trying to calculate, but we have already rescued hundreds of sails from landfills and will be expanding our sail recycling programme throughout the country.

Wightsails Windbreak

There is not much we can’t use from a sail, and those sails that are unusable and all the offcuts are shredded and used as above.

We think it’s a great idea at Green Abode and love Wightsail from the Isle of Wight’s innovation. I’m sure you’ll agree that their products look beautiful, and just the job for summer days out on the beach.

The guest author Peter Le Masurier is from Wightsails, specialising in recycling sails into beautiful new products. Wightsails take the sails with a little love and life left in them, and turn then into all manner of products, such as windbreaks beach bags, shopping trolleys, wash bags, bunting, deckchairs and holdalls to name but a few.

2 responses to “Is Sail Recycling from the Isle of Wight the New Innovation in Insulation?”

  1. Mcmurraydave

    Fibreglass is inexpensive, and sustainable insulation. Why coat these sails with insecticide? Use them for something else, I’d say.

    1. Green Abode

      Hi thanks for your comment..sorry about the delay. I think Wightsails are suggesting that they would have to coat them in flame resistant material anyway, and as an added benefit it would keep insects at bay.

      Wightsails proposal is to re-use something that otherwise would be binned – old sails. Agree there are other materials you could use, however, with their solution they’re recycling.