Recycling Resources: Disposing of Your Fishing Line

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Updated on:
Depositphotos 355444584 s 2019

With fishing line taking more than 600 years to break down in the environment, it is vital that we increase the uptake of recycling of used line and commit to disposing of it correctly.

And for all those years the line poses a threat to birds, seals, turtles and and other marine life creating serious problems for these species’ and our marine and freshwater environments. Even in landfill, discarded line can cause problems to animals.

To help reduce these problems we put together this comprehensive list below of recycling and disposal schemes for fishing line to help anglers discover ways to handle old line 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.

Recycled monofilament and fluorocarbon line can be repurposed into plastics that can even be used in the constructions of new fishing gear!

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 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 line (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:

United States (all states)Reel in and Recycle (Boat US foundation)
Free equipment and resources to build your own recycling bins
United States (Florida)Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) of bins and shops and partnerships
United StatesBerkley Fishing Line Recycling line manufacturer’s recycling initiative focused on processing line deposited in bins

United States
Tangle Free Waters network of recycling bins
United StatesMonofilament Recycling Project (Fly Fishers International) to allow locals to create and install line recycling bins
United States (Montana)Fly Vines used fly lines into bracelets, lanyards, sunglasses straps and pet collars.

United States
Stow it, don’t throw it network of line recycling bins
United States
Virginia Fishing Line Recycling Program fisheries and marine resources commission-run
United StatesSalty Soul Foundation program that runs beach clean ups

United Kingdom
Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme network of bins and shops and partnerships with recyclers
CanadaClear Your Gear line recycling and education scheme
AustraliaTangler Bins (Oceanwatch Australia) disposal (not recycling) scheme with a network of bins

Seal the Loop
(Zoos Victoria)
Network of 260 bins in Victoria

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water.