Creating a Circular Economy for Shrink Wrap
Every spring, millions of pounds of shrink wrap used to winterize and protect boats winds up in the landfill and contributes to marine debris in the oceans. There’s a better way!
Clean Ocean Access, Dr. Shrink, and TerraCycle are working with local governments, private businesses, boaters, and leaders in the marine industry to advance shrink wrap recycling across New England. The Shrink Wrap Recycling & Life Cycle Analysis Project, funded by 11th Hour Racing, has a vision to empower the marine community to take action through environmentally responsible behaviors to create a consumer and industry led, self-sustaining circular economy. Together we can recycle shrink wrap domestically into new products for the marine and sailing industry.
We are counting on the marine community’s commitment to do the right thing to protect the oceans and our planet by recycling boat shrink wrap after removal.
Calling all Boaters!
Boating season is right around the corner! If you are a boat owner who’s getting ready to remove your shrink wrap, please make sure it doesn’t end up in the trash.
We are working with amazing project partners to offer a low-cost, sustainable option for the disposal of your marine shrink wrap. As you prepare to launch your boat, think about what you’ll do with your shrink wrap. Know your options!
Consider careful removal so you can reuse it as a cover for multiple seasons.
Recycle your wrap:
- Ask your marina, boatyard, or yacht club if they recycle shrink wrap.
- If so, thank them for their efforts!
- If not, advocate for them to start recycling and have them sign up to become a collection site here.
- Buy a collection bag from a local collection site, follow the preparation instructions to ensure only shrink wrap goes in the bag, and return the filled bag to the collection site for recycling.
By recycling your shrink wrap, you will protect your boat and the environment. Our shrink wrap recycling program is a self-funded, sustainable, and scalable model that ensures all material collected is processed by our project partner, TerraCycle, into post-consumer resin to be used in new plastic products.
This boating season, do the right thing and recycle your shrink wrap!
Whether you are a marina, boatyard, yacht club, or other marine-related business, you can join the program as a collection site. Your organization can contribute to the diversion of thousands of pounds of shrink wrap from landfills and incinerators recycling. By incorporating the cost of recycling into shrink wrapping services and/or selling the bags directly to the public to fill and return, you will be doing your part to support sustainable practices and the industry-led efforts to create a circular economy.
All collection sites shown below sell E-Z Fill bags to the public for shrink wrap recycling. The cost of the bag includes costs for collection, hauling, baling, and transport to TerraCycle for processing. Prices range from $12 to $35, depending on the area and are subject to change. Please call in advance to ensure the location has bags in stock. Once your bag is filled, return it to the same location.
Recycling Program Details
- Shrink wrap is collected via a pay-as-you-throw method in EZ-Fill Bags purchased from participating locations.
- There will be a charge of $12.00 – $35.00 per EZ-Fill Bag based on your service area. The bag fee supports the cost to collect, transport, bale, and recycle plastic wrap. This is cheaper and more valuable to the economy and the environment than having the material delivered to and disposed of in a landfill.
- Pickups will be conducted during the months of March through August. If you require an earlier or specific date, please submit your requested time frame with your submission form.
- To qualify for a direct pickup, each location (marina, yacht club, storage facility, etc.) must meet a 25-bag minimum. Pickup schedule is based on when the service area reaches a 150-bag minimum.
- This program is currently only available within the states of RI, MA, & ME.
- All shrink wrap must be collected in a certified EZ-Fill Bag – alternative bags will not be accepted.
- The bags must ONLY contain shrink wrap covers and scraps.
- DO NOT include any strapping, buckles, vents, or other contaminants in the bag.
- Shrink wrap must be reasonably clean and dry.
- If storing outside, turn sealed bags upside down until pickup.
- Do not overstuff bags – be sure to use supplied tie wrap to seal the bag.
Since its inception in April 2019, the project has reclaimed over 488,000 pounds of shrink wrap into usable post-consumer resin (PCR). To date, we have made the following accomplishments in our shrink wrap recycling program.
All material collected is processed by our project partner, TerraCycle, into post-consumer resin to be used in new plastic products. Research into a shrink wrap circular economy will also help us determine the feasibility of introducing recycled content into the production of marine shrink wrap.
For complete details on the project summary, goals, and accomplishments, click here.
Think Before You Shrink
While the Shrink Wrap Recycling project is focused on solving the challenges of recycling shrink wrap and the lack of recycled content used in manufacturing, we recognize there is a wide range of options available to protect boats against the harsh off-season elements. The project aims to empower boaters to “Think Before You Shrink” by sharing pros and cons of employing different boat storage methods through the creation of a boat cover life cycle guide, hierarchy of alternatives, and cost analysis available here.
Annual Shrink Wrap Recycling Summit
Since 2021, Clean Ocean Access has virtually hosted an annual Shrink Wrap Recycling Summit to connect stakeholders across the lifecycle of shrink wrap. The 2022 summit brought together local and state officials, private businesses, boaters, and industry leaders from ten different U.S. states to get an in-depth look at the work COA has done to create a circular recycling stream for marine shrink wrap by rolling out a domestic, self-sustaining, pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) recycling model. The group discussed the power of partnerships and how we can all work together to advance shrink wrap recycling in the marine community.