Wildlife-Friendly Trash Disposal: Fishing Line
Trash poses a major hazard to animals. This week, we’re suggesting tips for discarding trash to reduce harm to our fellow critters. Yesterday we discussed balloons. Today, we take a look at twine and fishing line.
Tip #3: Cut Twine and Fishing Line
We rely on twine and fishing line to tie everything from packages to hay bales to fishing bait. Turns out these all-purpose strings can also entangle wildlife.
Birds sometimes use twine as nesting material, making them especially prone to these perils. Along with moss and grass, ospreys like to adorn their nests with baling twine. They often snarl themselves in the twine, getting injured or even killed. In 2010, University of Montana researchers reported that baling twine entangles and kills about 10 percent of osprey chicks annually statewide.
Use twine made from natural materials, such as hemp or jute, rather than plastic. Cut twine, especially baling twine, into small pieces before discarding.
Most monofilament does not biodegrade. You can take used monofilament fishing line to recycling bins at your local tackle shop, which will often ship it to the Berkley Recycling Center in Iowa. You can also ship your old line to the Berkley Recycling Center directly. These eco-innovators will use your line to create Fish-Habs, four-foot cube structures that attract fish and promote plant growth, enhancing aquatic habitats, such as the spaces between pier pilings.
Image by iStockphoto/Iain Cartwright
Melissa Pandika is an editorial intern at Sierra and a graduate journalism student at Stanford University. Her interests include environmental health and justice, urban environmental issues, and conservation biology. She has a soft spot for cetaceans.