Reel In and Recycle:
Monofilament Recycling Program
As the restoration and remediation process continues along the St. Louis River Estuary, the region is becoming known as an “Outdoor Recreation Destination”. The St. Louis River, always popular for its fishing, is now becoming known as a “hot spot” for anglers.
The St. Louis River Alliance as a local participant in BoatU.S. Foundation’s Reel In and Recycle program is working with: the cities of Duluth and Superior, MN DNR (cooperative partner), local business and community organizations to create and establish a network of monofilament recycling bins along the St. Louis River/Estuary. These bins will provide anglers with a suitable way of disposing of monofilament line.
Monofilament used by anglers takes ~600 years to decompose whether it ends up in a land fill, the river and/or Lake Superior. If monofilament ends up in the river and/or Lake Superior it can cause potential harm to fish, wildlife and property (boat prop entanglement). If it ends up in a landfill it can still pose a threat to birds who mistakenly using it for nesting material.
What is Marine Debris?
“Marine debris is defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes. It is a global problem, and it is an everyday problem. There is no part of the world left untouched by debris and its impacts. Marine debris is a threat to our environment, navigation safety, the economy, and human health. Marine debris is preventable.
Monofilament is just one type of marine debris, but recycling it can make a difference. Entanglement can lead to injury, illness, suffocation, starvation, and even death. One of the most notable types of impacts from marine debris is wildlife entanglement.” (Source: Michigan SeaGrant)
Photos: Michigan SeaGrant
How is monofilament line recycled?
The St. Louis River Alliance has established an “Adopt-A-Bin” program. This program gives local business and community groups an opportunity for becoming local stewards of the river/estuary. Businesses and community groups maintain bins by collecting discarded monofilament fishing line on a regular schedule. At the end of the season the St. Louis River Alliance will send collected monofilament to: Berkley Conservation Institute in Iowa, who recycles the monofilament by melting it down into raw plastic pellets that are used to make fishing tackle boxes, park benches and fish habitat structures.
How can I help?
The St. Louis River Alliance is coordinating the installation of Monofilament Recycling Bins to safely collect, track and recycle discarded monofilament line. To support this program, the St. Louis River Alliance is requesting sponsorships.