Fibreglass is a commonly used term for GRP – glass reinforced plastic or FRP – fibre reinforced plastic.
There are significant environmental benefits of choosing sustainable fibreglass products over metal and timber as fibreglass is much more sustainable than aluminium, steel or timber. The manufacture of fibreglass does not create large smoke clouds or other forms of environmental pollution products. The production process for fibreglass products is extremely benign unlike the production of metal and timber products. For example, the production of the base resins and the glass fibre rovings have little environmental impact when compared to the production of steel. Similar to most synthetic products, the resins are derived from petroleum by-products. Even though there is little threat to the sustainability of Polyester and Vinylester resins and glass fibre rovings, research is ongoing for alternative raw materials that are able to provide similar or better qualities. R&D continues with the use of bio-composites and natural fibres.
GRP / FRP Polyester and Vinylester products should not be confused with the term Plastics as the ester resins in GRP / FRP do not break down as quickly as PVA and PVC Plastics hence are more environmentally friendly and sustainable. When Plastics degrade / break down this often results in the surface becoming dry, brittle and powdery and this powder ultimately disperses into the local environment if the Plastic product is used outdoors. GRP / FRP Polyester and Vinylester products will usually have a service life of more than 50 years and some suggest longevity of 100+ years thus a greener, more cost effective product.