Frequently Asked Questions

What is monofilament?

Much of the fishing line that you can buy today is made of monofilament, a single-strand of strong, flexible plastic that is clear or tinted a variety of colors.

Why is monofilament a problem in the environment?

Most monofilament is not biodegradable and can last hundreds of years depending on environmental conditions. Because it is thin and often clear, it is very difficult for birds and animals to see, and they can easily become entangled resulting in injury, drowning, strangulation, or starvation. Many animals also mistakenly ingest fishing line. One dead sea turtle recovered during an international cleanup was found to have consumed 590 feet of heavy-duty fishing line. It is also difficult for people to see, and individuals can drive their boats over floating line. Then it can cause serious (and expensive) damage to any engines that can easily get ensnared in line.  

How does monofilament end up in the environment?

Much of the fishing line that ends up in the water is the result of a hook getting snagged on unintended objects such as rocks or tree limbs and line breaking when pulled. Sometimes the line can rub against a sharp object (like an oyster shell) and break. Additionally large fish can sometimes break lines while they are being reeled in. Even fishing line that has been thrown in the garbage can end up in the environment -  either by blowing out of the garbage can or landfill, being taken out by birds for nest-building materials, or removed by other animals.

Can all fishing line be recycled?

No, only fishing line that is a single filament, nylon product may be recycled (such as monofilament and fluorocarbon). 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.

Who does the recycling?
Pure Fishing America (Berkley)
1900 18th Street,
Spirit Lake, IA 51360-1041

How is monofilament recycled?

The monofilament is collected from recycling bins and cleaned of hooks, leaders, weights, and trash by volunteers. It is then shipped to the Berkley Pure Fishing company in Iowa. Berkley melts the line down into raw plastic pellets that can be made into other plastic products including tackle boxes, spools for line, fish habitats, and toys. It is not made into more monofilament line.

How do I recycle my monofilament?

You can mail it directly to Berkley (call 1-800-BERKLEY), deposit it in special cardboard recycling boxes which can be found in some tackle shops, or deposit it in an outdoor monofilament recycling container.

What should I do if I see an entangled animal?

Stay calm and strictly observe for a couple of minutes to see if the animal is actually entangled. If you see a bird that is entangled or accidently hook one yourself while fishing, learn how to unhook a bird at To report an entanglement of any species call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 (FWCC) or dial *FWC on a cell phone. This number will connect you with a local rehabilitator for further instructions for a variety of species. This is especially important if the animal is a protected species, such as a manatee or a marine turtle.

I always throw my line in the trash, is that ok?

If you throw out monofilament you are still keeping it out of the environment, but make sure the trash receptacle has a lid and be sure to cut the line into short lengths (6 to 12 inches). Once line goes to a landfill, it may be scavenged on by animals trying to eat it or build nests out of it. Animals may become entangled, entangle their young, or will bring the line right back out into the environment.

Can I put fishing line in my recycling bin at home?

No. Fishing line is a high density plastic and requires a special recycling process. It cannot go into most regular household recycling bins. Instead, it should be brought to an outdoor recycling bin or to a 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.

What kinds of animals are harmed by monofilament?

Many types of wildlife are harmed by discarded fishing line, including birds, turtles, manatees, fish, and dolphins. However, almost any type of animal can be entangled in line or will try to consume it.