The following is a guest blog by Alanna Keating, the Director of Outreach for BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. She has more than 15 years experience in education and outreach in the boating community for safe and clean boating. As a lifelong boater, exploring and protecting our waterways is her passion.
Recycling Fishing Line Doesn’t Work: Is There A Better Way?
Your innovative idea may be the $15,000 winner!
A couple years into my career at the BoatUS Foundation—the safety and environmental non-profit sister to the 700,000+ member Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS)—I began work on the launch of a program that would boost fishing line recycling among anglers. The idea was to provide hundreds of fishing line recycling bins, those three-foot tall PVC plastic tubes often seen at popular fishing spots, to make it easier to keep fishing line out of the water and turn it back into something good.
In hindsight, it was probably the first hook (pun intended!) that began my passion for helping the angling community protect our waterways. With the help of local anglers in nearly every state, we built a network of monofilament fishing line recycling bins across the country with the line being collected and sent to fishing tackle manufacturer Berkley Fishing for recycling. Berkley was and is the only organization in the U.S. that recycles the fishing line.
The Challenges of Recycling Fishing Line
After 13 years of collecting line we learned a lot about the process and the passion the public had for not only using our bins but building and installing their own recycling bins. However, challenges came with it also, such as hearing from our volunteers about the struggles of cleaning soda cans, wrappers, and other junk out of the bins, the complexity of recycling the various kinds of line, and the lack of connection with the public about what happens to the line.
Additionally, the recycling of soft plastic baits—the ones most commonly used by anglers today—wasn’t being offered on a national, sustainable level. We learned about some fishing clubs and individual anglers who melted down their old soft baits in the family microwave and recast them into new soft baits, but not everyone is an at-home “MacGyver.” Could something also be done to keep these soft plastics out of our waters?
An Out-of-the-Tackle Box Idea?
We knew we needed to address the problem with fresh ideas. The reality today is while more anglers support line recycling, the actual recycling effort of processing the line into plastic pellets is costly, requiring a lot of labor to hand sort and remove contaminants, making scaling up and growing the volume of recycled line difficult. We learned we needed people like you: those who may have great ideas or new perspectives.
Enter To Win $15,000 Cash in the “Recast and Recycle” Contest
We’ve teamed up with Berkley to develop a crowd-sourced solution to this problem. Our “Recast and Recycle Contest” aims to seek out new ideas and improvements to the process, new recycled products or a technological breakthrough that can lead to greater volume of line and soft baits recycled.
How To Enter:
Ready to submit your idea? A total of $30,000 in prize money is at stake for any angler, armchair inventor, or anyone willing to put their thinking cap on. All you have to do is submit a short 4-minute video with a good idea by May 14, 2021.
- First-Place Prize: $15,000
- Second-Place Prize: $10,000
- Third-Place Prize: $5,000
- Deadline: May 14, 2021
Contest submissions can address any part of the process (or multiple parts) of taking fishing gear from end of life to a new life. Professionals, amateurs, and students are all encouraged to apply, as are school teams and groups. Contest entries can be submitted with as little as a link to a video demonstration of the idea or one-page graphic summary. Videos are limited to 4 minutes.