Article and photos by Bronwyn Clear, Certified Texas Master Naturalist
Fishing Line Recycling Bins – “Reel Anglers Recycle”
If you fish, you probably have monofilament fishing line on your reels, and unfortunately way too much of this plastic fishing line ends up in our lakes and rivers. You know how it happens. A hook gets snagged, line has to be cut, and it all ends up in the lake. Since the 1970’s hundreds of pounds of plastic line have been thrown into Lake Livingston and the Trinity River. This line will not decay for 600 years, and it tangles in our boat propellers and harms our aquatic wildlife. Think about that. Columbus discovered America only 527 years ago!
During the ‘Come Clean Lake Livingston’ event a few years back, Master Naturalist Susan Tullos recalls, “It was overwhelming. The water was low that year and we collected enough fishing line to fill the back of a pick-up truck!” To combat this underwater pollution, the Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program (MRRP) was introduced. It’s a country-wide program that harnesses the power of volunteers to install and maintain recycling bins for the smart disposal and recycling of fishing line.
Since the project began, local Master Naturalist volunteers have installed several bins along the shores of Lake Livingston. Over 48 lbs of monofilament line have been collected and recycled from these lake shore bins. Jim Meyer, Certified Texas Master Naturalist, proudly states, “They are located near public boat ramps, in bait shops, in our lakeside parks, and near private HOA/POA boat ramps.” After old line is recovered from the bins, the line is sent to PureFishing fishing tackle company. The company recycles it into several products, including fishing line spools, toys, tackle boxes and even fish habitat structures!
The motto for the program is, “Reel Anglers Recycle”.
See online resources below for monofilament recycling bins.
- mrrp.tamu.edu This site explains the monofilament recovery and recycling program.
- txmn.org Locate your chapter on the map and see how they can help with recycling bins.
- To build your own bin go to boatus.com/foundation/monofilament
Learn more about the incredible nature in our area by joining a chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist organization. To find a chapter close to you, or to read about the state program, go online to www.txmn.org. Volunteer and get involved!
A monofilament recycling bin at Wolf Creek Park. It’s for your fishing line, not for your litter.
Jim Meyer, retired Air Force Colonel, has removed 48 lbs of line from receptacles around Lake Livingston in the last 5 years alone.
It takes 600 years for fishing line to decay. To put that in perspective, Columbus discovered America only 527 years ago!