Fishing Line Recycling Makes History

Published: Spring 2014
Photo of a monofilament recycling bin on a dock

One of the 2,000-plus bins the BoatUS Foundation has provided to local groups to gather used fishing line for recycling is itself being recycled, in a manner of speaking. It’s a featured artifact in the redesigned Oceans exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Leveraging over $250,000 in grant funds from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, the BoatUS Foundation partnered with the Berkley Conservation Institute to keep spent fishing line out of the nation’s trash stream — or worse, the nation’s waterways.

The “Reel In and Recycle” campaign offered the free collection bins for placement at boat ramps, fishing piers, and other convenient spots. Since 1990, Berkley has recycled 9 million miles of fishing line — enough to reach the moon and back 19 times. (Perhaps the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum will pick up on that fact.)