Save Turtles and Birds With Fishing Line Recycling


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Gone Recyclin’

Recycle fishing line
Creative Commons License photo credit: mikebaird

Simple measures taken at your favorite fishing spot, launch ramp or marina helps protect wildlife, and you can help. Take part in recycle programs all around the U.S. to help keep discarded fishing line out of our waterways- for reels!

Most fishing line is made of a material called monofilament, which is a single-strand, strong, flexible plastic that is clear or tinted blue, pink or green. Monofilament fishing line is not biodegradable, meaning it does not break down over time. This line isn’t accepted in plastic recycling bins due to its high density.

Proper disposal of fishing line is important because it helps keep dolphins, birds and turtles from becoming entangled. Because it is thin and often clear, animals wind up caught in it but this is easily prevented.

The Reel In and Recycle Program is one of many public-private partnerships with participation from federal, state and local governments, national and local non-profits as well as the private sector boating, fishing and marina community. In the last several years, efforts have built and distributed over 1,200 fishing line recycling bins to local groups around the country. These three-foot tall PVC storage tubes are installed or mounted to fishing piers, at launch ramps or marina boat docks, piers, docks and buildings along coastlines.

Local volunteers, fishing and boating clubs, Scouting groups, marinas, and other community groups maintain the bins. Thousands of miles of fishing line is collected by volunteers each year and sent for recycling where it’s melted down and used to make other plastic products such as tackle boxes, spools for line, fish habitats, and toys.

Build Your Own or Start a Program

The BoatUS Foundation is always looking to expand its recycling bin locations. Visit  their site if you’re interested in receiving a free bin. The BoatUS Foundation also has a short video on their website that shows how to build your own line recycling bin.

Visit Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website to see fishing line recycling programs available all around the United States and internationally. Their online guide also helps you start a recycling program in your area.

Encourage your local tackle shop to participate in a program. Related retail stores can become vital partners in the effort to recycle fishing line. There’s a great opportunity to collect large volumes of line from customers,  and companies are able to track the amount of line collected through the BoatUS Foundation online database. Providing incentives to volunteer groups that collect and recycle old line, such as the chance to win a gift card, is a win-win!

Save turtles by recycling fishing line
Creative Commons License photo credit: andrea_pauline

Volunteer for Coastal Cleanups happening near you.

Learn more about the program and learn how you can easily build your own fishing line recycling bin at the BoatUS Foundation.

Mail fishing line directly to the Berkley Pure Fishing Company in Iowa if no program is nearby.

Remember that not all fishing line can be recycled. Only fishing line that is a single filament, nylon product is recycled. Fishing line that is braided or contains wire cannot be recycled, and same with fishing line that has a lot of growth on it or plant material mixed up with it.

Cut your fishing line into small piece before you throw it away if you aren’t by a monofilament recycling bin. Even fishing line that is thrown in the garbage ends up blowing out of the garbage can or landfill, or by being taken out by birds or animals trying to eat it or use it to build nests.

Whether you go fishing or know someone else who does, or if you happen to see some line discarded around a lake, take it to a fishing line recycling bin, and you could save marine life!

Links to products featured on RecycleScene are affiliate links. We try and only feature products that close the recycling loop. Make a purchase of recommended products on our site, and we get a small percentage of affiliate commission to maintain our site. Read more in the Terms of Use & Disclosure link in footer. Thanks!


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