Fishing is a popular recreational activity enjoyed by millions of anglers worldwide. However, it also generates a significant amount of waste, including fishing line. Fishing lines, especially monofilament lines, pose a threat to the environment due to their non-biodegradable nature. The improper disposal of fishing lines can harm marine life, entangle birds, and create hazards for boats and swimmers. In light of these concerns, the question arises: Can fishing line be recycled? Let’s explore the possibilities.

Recycling Fishing Line: The Process

Recycling fishing line is indeed possible, and several initiatives and programs have been established to tackle this environmental issue. The recycling process typically involves collecting old fishing lines from anglers and other collection points, then processing and transforming them into new products.

The first step in recycling fishing line is collection. Specialized bins or recycling programs are set up at popular fishing spots, boat ramps, tackle shops, and other locations frequented by anglers. These collection points make it convenient for anglers to dispose of their old fishing lines properly. Additionally, some communities have implemented monofilament recycling programs to ensure the responsible management of fishing line waste.

Once the old fishing lines are collected, they undergo a recycling process. The recycling facilities sort the lines by type and material. Fishing lines are commonly made from nylon, fluorocarbon, or braided materials. Among these, monofilament lines, made of a single filament of nylon, are the most prevalent.

To recycle monofilament fishing lines, the lines are cleaned, sorted, and separated from other types of fishing lines and waste. The next step involves melting the monofilament lines to convert them into pellets or small beads. These pellets can then be used as raw material for manufacturing new products.

Recycling Options for Different Types of Fishing Lines

While monofilament lines are the primary focus of recycling efforts, other types of fishing lines can also be recycled. For example, braided fishing lines, made from woven strands of synthetic fibers like Spectra or polyethylene, can be recycled through specialized programs or recycling facilities.

Fluorocarbon lines, known for their low visibility underwater, are made from polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). Recycling options for fluorocarbon lines are limited, but some manufacturers have implemented recycling programs for these lines. One such company, Pure Fishing America, has partnered with Berkley to establish recycling collection points for fluorocarbon fishing lines.

The Environmental Benefits of Fishing Line Recycling

Recycling fishing line brings several environmental benefits. By diverting fishing lines from landfill sites and waterways, the recycling process helps reduce the amount of waste in the environment. Discarded fishing lines can take hundreds of years to decompose naturally, and during this time, they can pose threats to animals, especially marine life. Recycling fishing lines mitigates these risks and helps protect fish habitats and the overall ecosystem.

Additionally, recycling fishing lines reduces the demand for new nylon and other materials used in line production. By utilizing recycled fishing line pellets, manufacturers can contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy. The process conserves energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions associated with the production of new nylon.

The Role of Anglers and the Community

Anglers play a crucial role in ensuring the success of fishing line recycling efforts. By responsibly disposing of their old fishing lines in designated collection bins, anglers can actively contribute to reducing fishing line waste. Moreover, anglers can raise awareness among their peers and the fishing community about the importance of recycling fishing lines and the environmental impact of improper disposal.

Communities can support fishing line recycling programs by establishing collection points and promoting responsible disposal practices. Collaborations with local tackle shops, fishing organizations, and manufacturers can further enhance the reach and effectiveness of recycling initiatives. By working together and fostering a sense of environmental stewardship, communities can create a positive impact on the sustainability of their local ecosystems.

Looking Beyond Fishing Lines: Tackling Other Fishing Gear Waste

While fishing lines are a significant contributor to marine waste, other fishing gear items such as nets, leaders, and tackle also pose environmental challenges. These items are often made of plastic and can end up in the ocean, causing harm to marine life and ecosystems. Recognizing this, some recycling programs and initiatives extend their focus beyond fishing lines to include the proper disposal and recycling of other fishing gear.

For example, the Italian manufacturer Aquafil has developed Econyl, a flagship product made from recycled nylon waste, including fishing nets. This closed-loop process not only reduces waste but also creates new nylon products, such as fishing gear, carpets, and apparel. By incorporating recycling initiatives into their operations, companies like Aquafil demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and responsible resource management.

Educating Anglers and Promoting Best Practices

Education plays a vital role in encouraging responsible fishing practices and promoting the recycling of fishing lines. Anglers should be informed about the potential environmental impact of improper disposal and the benefits of recycling. They should also be aware of local regulations and guidelines regarding the disposal of fishing gear waste.

By incorporating educational campaigns and outreach programs, fishing communities can raise awareness among anglers and foster a culture of sustainability. Providing information on recycling options, collection points, and the recycling process itself can empower anglers to take action and make a positive difference.


Recycling fishing lines is an essential step towards mitigating the environmental impact of fishing gear waste. Through collection programs, proper sorting, and recycling processes, old fishing lines, including monofilament and other types, can be transformed into new products, reducing the strain on natural resources and protecting marine ecosystems.

Anglers, communities, and manufacturers all have a role to play in supporting fishing line recycling initiatives. By embracing responsible disposal practices, raising awareness, and collaborating on recycling programs, we can collectively safeguard our oceans, conserve fish habitats, and create a more sustainable future for recreational fishing.

Remember, every small action counts. Together, let’s reel in the waste and make a positive impact on our environment.