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Boat Shrink-wrap Recycling

Boat shrink-wrap recycling is another new initiative for the Smart Boating Clean Waters campaign. This effort is headed by Karla Kaczmarek at Pennsylvania Sea Grant, with cooperation of the PA DEP, local marinas, Mondo Polymer Technologies, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Waste Management. The program began with participation of Erie-area marinas in 2008. Delaware and Philadelphia counties came onboard the following year.

Boat shrink-wrap is composed of low-density polyethylene and is used to protect recreational and other watercraft from the elements over winter months. In the spring, the material is removed and typically disposed of in landfills or worse, litters the aquatic environment, posting a threat to fish, waterfowl, and other boaters.

Pennsylvania has teemed up with Mondo Polymer Technologies from Reno, OH (http://www.mondopolymer.com). The company collects and processes the material at no cost. Marinas must only provide a temporary area for the boaters to dispose of the plastic before it is picked up by the recycler. Mondo produces a variety of transportation products, such as guardrail blocks, barrier walls, and buoys from the recycled plastic.

In 2008, Lake Erie efforts prevented 25,000 pounds of shrink-wrap from at least 500 boats from polluting the Lake and entering landfills. Mondo utilized the shrink-wrap collected to produce 3,500 blocks for highway guardrail systems. The seven participating marinas included:

  • Bay Harbor Marina
  • Commodore Perry Yacht Club
  • Erie Yacht Club
  • North East Marina
  • Perry's Landing
  • Presque Isle State Park
  • Presque Isle Yacht Club

In 2009, eight marinas in Delaware and Philadelphia Counties joined the program, resulting in 26,500 pounds of shrink-wrap recycled from approximately 530 boats. Combined with efforts along Lake Erie, about 50,000 pounds of the material was recycled. The participating Southeast PA marinas included:

  • West End Boat Club
  • Ridley Township Marina
  • Stoltzfus RV's & Marine
  • Philadelphia Boat Supply Co
  • Snug Harbor Marina
  • Neshaminy State Marina
  • D & S Boat Sales
  • Highway Marine Rte 309

Downloadable Materials:

2008 Sea Grant News Release

P.O. Box 8465
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8465
Phone:  (717) 772-4785
Fax:  (717) 783-4690