In recognition of Earth Day, BoatU.S. Foundation, a NOAA Marine Debris Program partner, highlighted their Reel In and Recycle program at an event at their headquarters in Alexandria, VA. I was able to participate, and I learned that Reel In and Recycle is a great national program that encourages fishing enthusiasts to recycle monofilament line in special bins .
The balmy 80-degree weather made for a fine day to get out and do a little manual labor in the interest of encouraging recycling and reducing marine debris. The event brought together leaders and staff from BoatU.S. Foundation and NOAA. After introductions, a tour of the BoatU.S. Foundation headquarters, and a briefing on the program, we were given our marching orders: assemble 400 monofilament collection bins and pack them for shipment! A small mountain of bin components awaited us outside.
Good thing we brought the big guns. It was a pleasure to meet and work alongside NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and John Gray, NOAA’s Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. These two leaders demonstrated that their practical skills and competence extend beyond the realm of high-level policy, as John connected the newly glued (by me!) PVC “elbows” to the bins and Jane deftly applied the program stickers. Along with Dennis Rosen and other members of the tightly knit BoatU.S. Foundation team, the group kept up a healthy banter, taunting each other to work faster and improve quality control as we cranked out the shiny new bins. NOAA Office or Response and Restoration Deputy Director Brian Julius and Megan Forbes, of the Marine Debris Program, were also on hand and were integral to the assembly line approach we took to bin production.
With the combined skill and drive of NOAA and BoatU.S. Foundation, the monumental task of assembling and preparing 400 new monofilament recycling bins was accomplished in little over an hour. As the event wrapped up, a shipping company was already loading up the boxes of bins and sending them on their way to coastal fishing holes around the nation. By the time you read this, many of the bins we built will be installed and working to give fishermen a convenient way to properly dispose of used monofilament. In 2010 alone, 2,700 miles of line were collected for recycling according to the program’s online data tracking system.
The day was a success, thanks to all the participants and especially the hard work of Susan Shingledecker of BoatU.S. Foundation, who planned the event and manages the Reel In and Recycle program. I was proud to help represent NOAA and the Marine Debris Program in demonstrating our commitment to this valuable partnership and to keeping marine debris out of our coastal waterways.