FLOW is installing dedicated boxes for recycling monofilament along waterways in the watershed. Monofilament can have serious negative environmental consequences if not recycled properly. It cannot be recycled along with other household plastics. Read on to learn why and how you should recycle monofilament.
What is monofilament?
This is the most common type of fishing line. As opposed to fishing line that is braided or made from multiple fibers, monofilament is made from a single strand. You have probably seen monofilament if you have ever gone fishing or been around fishermen. Unfortunately, if you like to walk by lakes or rivers, you have likely also seen discarded monofilament left along the banks.
What are the negative environmental impacts of monofilament?
It is not difficult to imagine how helpless wildlife can be against long durable plastic strings. When monofilament is left out in nature, fish, birds, and mammals can easily get entangled in it. It is thin and often clear, so it is difficult to see. Once an animal comes in contact with monofilament, survival can become difficult.
When monofilament wraps around a limb, it can impede walking or flying, or cause amputation. If the monofilament affects the animal’s ability to catch food or eat, the animal will likely die of starvation. Drowning, strangulation, and other serious injuries are also possible. Sometimes monofilament is accidentally ingested. Depending on the amount, the animals might not be able to pass through their digestive systems.
What is the proper way to recycle monofilament?
The only safe way to discard monofilament is to drop it in dedicated recycling boxes in parks or at participating tackle shops. The lines in these boxes are taken to special plants that have the capacity to recycle monofilament. Note that you should not put any braided or multi-string line in these boxes.
Monofilament cannot be recycled along with other household plastics. Due to its high-density, it requires a special recycling process.
Disposing of monofilament in a regular garbage bin does not solve the problem either. Wind can blow monofilament out of trash cans. In landfills, birds and scavengers looking for nest materials can pick it up. Monofilament is non-biodegradable and can last thousands of years, so it is important to make sure that it does not get into landfills to begin with.
What else can you do to help?
Here are some things you can do to keep monofilament away from wildlife.
If you like to go fishing, make sure to do the following:
1) Cast your line away from trees and other areas where it may get caught.
2) Check your line often to avoid unexpected breaks.
3) Never leave your line unattended.
4) Discard old monofilament line in proper boxes.
5) Remove hooks from the monofilament line before recycling.
When you come across discarded monofilament in the parks – please pick it up and recycle it properly later. If you are eager to help even more – join a volunteer group to pick up monofilament along rivers and lakes.
Thank you for keeping our watershed safe for all!
Written by Sonya Afanasyeva