With fishing lines taking more than 600 years to break down in the environment, it is vital that we increase the uptake of recycling of used lines and commit to disposing of them correctly.
For all those years, the line has posed a threat to birds, seals, turtles, and other marine life, creating serious problems for these species’ and our marine and freshwater environments. Even in landfills, discarded lines can cause problems for animals.
To help reduce these problems, we put together this comprehensive list below of recycling and disposal schemes for fishing lines to help anglers discover ways to handle old lines in an environmentally sound way.
Fortunately, recycling programs and bins at piers and boat ramps are becoming more common, and most of the schemes outlined below contain resources on how to buy or build a line recycling bin and where to send the line you gather in the bin.
It is important, though, for anglers to take responsibility for disposing of their own line properly. Obviously recycling the line is best, but in the event you are not near a recycling bin you need to cut it into small pieces before putting it into the bin.
The best way to do that is to wind it into coils and then use scissors or a knife to cut the coils to ensure it is in sections of no more than four inches or so. Cut it into smaller sections if you have time. This significantly reduces the risk of entanglement for birds and other animals frequently in landfill sites.
If you are out on the water or on the riverbank and don’t have access to scissors or a knife and aren’t near a recycling bin, bring your line home, cut it up as described, and then dispose. Don’t just throw it in the bin.
Finally, for those with creative ideas about boosting recycling of both used lines (braid, fluoro, and mono) and used soft plastic baits, the BoatUS Foundation and Berkley have launched a contest for ideas to simplify and enhance this process and increase recycling. For the chance to win $15,000 don’t be afraid to share your ideas before the May 2021 deadline. Details here: https://www.boatus.org/contest/
|United States (all states)||Reel in and Recycle (Boat US Foundation)||https://www.boatus.org/monofilament/||Free equipment and resources to build your own recycling bins|
|United States (Florida)||Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)||https://mrrp.myfwc.com/about-the-program/||Network of bins and shops and partnerships|
|United States||Berkley Fishing Line Recycling||https://www.berkley-fishing.com/pages/berkley-recycling||Leading line manufacturer’s recycling initiative focused on processing line deposited in bins|
|Tangle Free Waters||https://tanglefreewaters.com/||Independent network of recycling bins|
|United States||Monofilament Recycling Project (Fly Fishers International)||https://flyfishersinternational.org/Conservation/Projects-Programs/Monofilament-Recycling-Project||Project to allow locals to create and install line recycling bins|
|United States (Montana)||Fly Vines||https://flyvines.com/||Volunteer program that runs beach clean-ups|
|Stow it, don’t throw it||https://stowitdontthrowitproject.weebly.com/the-project.html||Youth-led network of line recycling bins|
|Virginia Fishing Line Recycling Program||https://mrc.virginia.gov/rec_assessment/VFLRP_AD.shtm||State fisheries and marine resources commission-run|
|United States||Salty Soul Foundation||https://protectthelocals.com/||Volunteer program that runs beach clean-ups|
|Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme||https://www.anglers-nlrs.co.uk/||National network of bins and shops and partnerships with recyclers|
|Canada||Clear Your Gear||https://clearyourgear.ca/||National line recycling and education scheme|
|Australia||Tangler Bins (Oceanwatch Australia)||https://www.oceanwatch.org.au/community/tangler-bin-faqs/||Line disposal (not recycling) scheme with a network of bins|
|Seal the Loop|
|https://www.zoo.org.au/seal-the-loop/||Network of 260 bins in Victoria|