ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Have you ever wondered how old, discarded fishing line is recycled and reused? You may be surprised to learn that turning fishing line into new products is labor-intensive, requiring a series of workers to comb through, sort, clean, remove hooks and weights, and separate out miles of encrusted debris in entangled fishing line. There also aren’t any recycling programs for fishing related materials like soft baits. There just has to be a better way.
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water and Berkley have teamed up for a year-long Recast and Recycle Contest to seek out new ideas and improvements to the process, new recycled product ideas, or offer a technology breakthrough for the current process that will increase the volume of line and soft baits that are recycled. A total of $30,000 in prize money is at stake for any boater, angler, armchair technologist, team, student or anyone willing to submit a contest entry now through May 14, 2021.
“Whether it’s monofilament line, braided line or soft baits, we want there to be a sustainable, large−scale solution to keeping line out of our waters and landfills where it can remain a problem for birds and wildlife,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Outreach Alanna Keating. “We want to know how to make the process better. There’s no limit on the possibilities, but keep in mind that judges will add weight to contest submissions that actually work, are practical, innovative, and have the potential to have a significant impact. We really don’t know where a breakthrough could materialize.”
The first-place prize is $15,000, second place receives $10,000, and $5,000 will be awarded for third place. 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.
Contest rules and conditions, details on the current recycling process and videos on how various plastics and soft baits are recycled can be found at the Recast and Recycle website BoatUS.org/contest.