Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is monofilament?
A: Most fishing line that you can buy today is made of monofilament — a single-strand, strong, flexible plastic that is clear or tinted blue, pink or green.
Q: Why is monofilament a problem in the environment?
A: Most monofilament is nonbiodegradable — it lasts about 600 years. Because it is thin and often clear, it is difficult for birds and other animals to see and they can easily brush up against it and become entangled. Once entangled, they may become injured, drown, or starve to death. Many animals also ingest fishing line. One recovered sea turtle was found to have consumed 560 feet of heavy-duty fishing line.
Q: How does monofilament end up in the environment?
A: Much of the fishing line that ends up in the water gets there when someone’s hook gets snagged on something underwater and the line breaks when pulled. Sometimes the line will rub against a sharp shell, like an oyster shell, and will break. Large fish can sometimes pull hard enough to break lines. Sometimes fishing lines get caught in trees and break. Even fishing line that is thrown in the garbage can end up in the environment, either by blowing out of the garbage can or landfill, or by being taken out by birds or other animals.
Q: Can all fishing line be recycled?
A: No, only fishing line that is a single filament, nylon product. Fishing line that is braided or contains wire cannot be recycled. Fishing line that has a lot of growth on it or plant material mixed up with it may not be recyclable.
Q: Who does the recycling?
A: The parent company of Berkley brand fishing line.
Q: How is monofilament recycled?
A: The monofilament is collected from recycling bins and cleaned of hooks, leaders, weights and trash by volunteers. It is then shipped to PureFishing, where it is melted down and made into other plastic products, including tackle boxes, spools for line, fish habitats and toys. It is not made into more monofilament line.
Q: How do I recycle my monofilament line?
A: Deposit your used line in the cardboard recycling boxes that can be found in some tackle shops, or deposit it in an outdoor monofilament recycling container. If you are unable to locate a recycler near you, contact Texas Sea Grant at (979) 845-3854.
Q: What should I do if I see an animal entangled in monofilament line?
A: If you see a marine mammal or turtle, contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-800-9-MAMMAL. All marine mammals and sea turtles are protected and should only be handled by qualified personnel. For other entangled wildlife, go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/rehab/list to locate a wildlife rehabilitator in your county. If you see a bird entangled, you may be able to free it yourself by first throwing a blanket or towel over the bird’s head to limit their eyesight, being careful not to entangle it in the fabric.
Q: I always throw my line in the trash. Is that okay?
A: If you throw out monofilament, you are still keeping it out of the environment, but be sure the cut the line into short lengths (less than six inches), because once it goes to the landfill it can be scavenged there by animals trying to use it to build nests or eat it. These animals will get entangled or entangle their young, which will bring the line right back out into the environment.
Q: Can I put monofilament fishing line in my recycling bin at home?
A: No. Fishing line is made from a different plastic resin and requires a special recycling process. It cannot go into most regular household recycling bins. Instead, bring it to an outdoor recycling bin or participating tackle shop. If you spool line at home, save it up in a box or bag and bring it to a drop-off location. If you do not have access to a recycling bin, you can mail line to be recycled to John O'Connell.
Q: What kinds of animals are harmed by monofilament?
A: Many types of wildlife are harmed by discarded fishing line, most frequently birds, fish and dolphins. However, these are not the only ones affected — almost any type of animal you can imagine can be entangled in a line or will try to consume it.