Sunreef Yachts uses recycled plastic bottles to build eco-friendly yachts

underwater marine life with two people sitting atop a yacht

The Gdansk-based shipyard continues to push the envelope in sustainable yachting

Despite its relatively young history, Sunreef Yachts has emerged as one of the leaders in the world of sustainable yachting. The shipyard, founded by Francis Lapp in 2002, boasts a range of all-electric motor yachts. Dubbed Sunreef Yachts Eco, the range was first announced in 2020.

three Sunreef Yachts from their eco range
Sunreef boasts a range of eco-friendly yachts. Photo by Sunreef Yachts

The flagship of the range is the 24-metre Sunreef Eco 80 catamaran, with Sunreef delivering its first model in 2022. The catamaran exemplifies the shipyard’s commitment to eco-responsible yachting, featuring integrated solar panels built into the hull sides, mast, and superstructure as well as eco-friendly materials like recycled sailcloth and ethically sourced decking. Like the other models in the range, the Sunreef Eco 80 catamaran can be equipped with advanced electric propulsion and wind turbines, allowing the yacht to generate power from both water and wind respectively.

Sunreef Yachts Eco 80 uses recycled plastic bottles
Sunreef Yachts Eco 80 is the flagship of the range. Photo by Sunreef Yachts

The shipyard is now expanding its sustainability efforts. With its latest innovation, Sunreef Yachts is integrating recycled plastic bottles into the construction of their yachts. The bottles—which are used to package anything from soda to salad dressing—can take up to 450 years to decompose. But unlike most plastics, they are highly recyclable. 

Sunreef turns these bottles into a structural foam which will then be used in manufacturing the composite superstructures of yachts. In addition to being eco-friendly, the recycled foam provides higher resistance to chemicals and high temperatures. The shipyard estimates that a total of 600,000 of the bottles would be required to build a 24-metre sailing catamaran.

marine underwater life with two people atop a yacht
Sunreef Yachts estimates that 600,000 recycled plastic bottles are required to build one 24-metre catamaran. Photo by Sunreef Yachts

Additionally, Sunreef Yachts has recently joined the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) project, spearheaded by the European Boating Industry. This initiative seeks to create precise tools to evaluate the environmental impact of yachts, all the way from material extraction to end-of-life disposal. 

Nicolas Lapp, co-founder and chief technology officer of Sunreef Yachts, expresses his pride in the company’s involvement, saying, ”We are proud to contribute to the development of this important LCA tool for the boating industry. The yachting world needs a holistic approach to this matter, and we are happy to share our knowledge and expertise.”

Sunreef Yachts