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BoatUS throws out $15,000 plastic pollution challenge

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BoatUS has launched its Recycle and Recast Contest, offering $15,000 to anyone who comes up with the best idea on how to tackle plastic pollution.

Lead or plastic? The threat of one or both being removed from the angling industry looms not so much on the horizon as just around the corner.

Lead, with its toxic threat to wildlife as well as the people who cast it, has so far captured most of the headlines, with constraints and potential bans already in place in Europe and the US. 

But moves to take single-use plastic out of fishing products are fast gaining momentum, its sheer volume making it arguably the bigger sustainability issue.

And manufacturers’ reliance on it for everything from production to packaging means it is potentially the higher hurdle for them to negotiate. 

Tackle companies around the world are already looking hard at how to deal with the impact a restriction would have on production processes, material costs and, of course, the bottom line.

Now the BoatUS Foundation, an organisation dedicated to keeping waterways clean and healthy, has pitched in with a new campaign urging people to capture, recycle or re-use recreation fishing gear such as soft lures and lines.

Its Recast and Recycle Contest is offering up to $15,000 for the best idea on making a more sustainable environment for anglers and the waterways they use.

“Whether it’s monofilament line, braided line or soft baits, we want there to be a sustainable, large-scale solution to keeping it out of our waters and our landfills where it can remain a problem for birds and wildlife,” BoatUS Foundation Director of Outreach, Alanna Keating, told Plastics News.

“There’s no limit on who can enter the contest, but the judges will add weight to contest submissions that actually work, are practical, innovative and have the potential for significant impact. We really don’t know where a breakthrough could materialise,” she added. The contest will be open until May 2021.

In Europe, plastics make up to 85% of marine litter on beaches, according to the European Parliament. A legislative proposal put forward in May 2018 is seeking to introduce measures around the top 10 single-use plastics, including fishing gear. It was signed off in June last year. Member states have two years (until July 2021) to transpose the directive into national law.

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