Pollution Prevention – Monofilament Recycling in Palm Beach County

Monofilament is a single strand of thin, durable plastic that is commonly used as fishing line.  It is designed to be nearly unbreakable and invisible underwater.  Like any other plastic, it takes hundreds of years to decompose.  As such, it often accumulates and can wrap around boat propellers, pier pilings, and other structures in the water.  Monofilament is sometimes ingested and can cause entanglement for many marine animals, and sea turtles are no exception.

The good news is – we have some solutions.  At the end of last year, Loggerhead Marinelife Center took responsibility for coordinating FWC’s Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program (MRRP) in Palm Beach County.  The MRRP is a statewide effort to reduce environmental damage caused by discarded fishing line.  The project includes educational materials, cleanups, outdoor monofilament collection bins, and pre-postage marked shipping boxes so that partners can ship their collected line to Berkley, a brand by Pure Fishing, Inc.  At Berkley, the line is melted down and used to make repurposed materials such as fish habitat structures for lakes and reservoirs.

In November, LMC was given a list of the locations of all monofilament recycling bins – nearly 90 all together – and contact information for the volunteers who had previously agreed to monitor them.  At the start of my internship, I was tasked with updating this list and conducting a site visit at each recycling location.  I visited many different piers and parks, speaking to anglers and sea turtle partners as I went.  While most bins were in excellent condition, there were a few that needed to be repaired, and many, unfortunately, that I was unable to locate.

Throughout the rest of my term, I will be working to repair and replace damaged bins and assign volunteers to complete weekly or monthly checks in each location.  When the bins are full, the responsible person will take the collected line to LMC where it will be cleaned and packed for shipping and recycling.  We have recycled more than 80 miles of monofilament line in the last two years – most of which was collected from the Juno Beach Pier.  We expect our efforts to greatly increase now that we have expanded from four bins to more than 80.

If you are interested in adopting one of our monofilament bins or would like a list of locations where you can recycle your line, please contact vmorris@marinelife.org.

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