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Recycling monofilament fishing line

When monofilament fishing line is disposed of improperly, it can cause serious problems for wildlife, people, boat propellers and the environment. The DNR is coordinating a pilot project to collect this fishing line and recycle it into new products such as tackle boxes and fish habitat structures.

Fishing line causes problems when left in the water or put in the trash

Loon tangled in fishing line.
Loon tangled in fishing line. Photo courtesy of Marge Gibson.

Monofilament fishing line is the line anglers most commonly use: single-strand, high density nylon. If left in the water or on shore, it can harm wildlife that become tangled in it or ingest it. Line in the water can also endanger swimmers and divers and become tangled in boat propellers. It can last up to 600 years in fresh water, meaning it poses a threat for a long time.

Fishing line can remain a problem even if put in the trash, because birds can take it from an open bin and become entangled or it can entangle wildlife at landfills.

The good news is that, if collected, the line can be melted down into plastic pellets, which are then recycled into products such as tackle boxes, spools for fishing line, toys and fish habitat structures.

Recycle fishing line at DNR Service Centers

The DNR is operating a pilot program to collect monofilament fishing line at its service centers as well as in outdoor bins hosted by local organizations. The Berkley Conservation Institute [exit DNR] provides postage-paid indoor collection boxes at no charge. Outdoor bins are relatively simple and inexpensive to construct using PVC pipe.

Anglers can bring their monofilament fishing line to the following DNR Service Centers for recycling.

Ashland DNR Service Center
2501 Golf Course Rd
Ashland WI 54806

Eau Claire DNR Service Center
1300 W Clairemont Ave
Eau Claire WI 54701

Fitchburg DNR Service Center
3911 Fish Hatchery Rd
Fitchburg WI 53711

Green Bay DNR Service Center
2984 Shawano Ave
Green Bay WI 54313-6727

La Crosse DNR Service Center
3550 Mormon Coulee Rd
La Crosse WI 54601

Milwaukee DNR Service Center
2300 N Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dr
Milwaukee WI 53212

Oshkosh DNR Service Center
625 E County Rd Y, Ste 700
Oshkosh WI 54901-9731

Rhinelander DNR Service Center
107 Sutliff Ave
Rhinelander WI 54501

Spooner DNR Service Center
810 W. Maple St.
Spooner WI 54801

Waukesha DNR Service Center
141 NW Barstow, Room 180
Waukesha WI 53188

Wausau DNR Service Center
5301 Rib Mountain Dr
Wausau WI 54401

Start your own collection program

Outdoor fishing line collection bin
Outdoor fishing line collection bin.

Interested in building your own bin at your favorite fishing spot? Building your own monofilament recycling bin is easy!  Below you will find the details on materials needed to construct and label the bin.  Note: Permission is needed from the property manager before placing the bin on any public property.

Materials needed for outdoor bin construction

The estimated cost to construct a simple outdoor collection bin is approximately $12. Here are the materials you will need.

  • Two feet of 6-inch PVC pipe
  • One 6-inch PVC elbow
  • One 6-inch PVC female threaded adapter
  • One 6-inch PVC threaded male plug
  • Adhesive
  • Stickers to label the bin
  • Materials to secure the bin to a kiosk or post near boat landing

Glue the elbow to one end of the pipe and the adapter to the other. Drill two holes in the plug (this is for drainage in case water gets into the recycling container) and attach (hand tight). Secure the bin to a kiosk or post near a boat landing, then attach stickers and signage.

Last revised: Thursday April 05 2018