Rising Tide of Sustainability Introduces Boat Shrink-Wrap Recycling to Marine Industry

Clean Ocean Access (COA), a New England-based non-profit organization with a vision of a healthy ocean that is free of marine debris with water that is safe for all ocean activities and a shoreline that is accessible to the public, has announced a new recycling initiative in partnership with international recycling leader TerraCycle. Since February 2020, the program has successfully collected over 140,000 pounds of sailing and agricultural shrink-wrap for recycling.

Shrink-wrapping boats and greenhouses in preparation for winter is commonplace in the U.S., but recycling the shrink-wrap in the spring is now more challenging than ever. Historically, plastics of all kinds had been shipped overseas to be recycled, but today, the sailing and maritime community have begun to turn to Clean Ocean Access and TerraCycle’s Shrink-Wrap Recycling Project as a more local solution. This project aims to establish a U.S.-based recycling system, while also working with the marine industry to advance more circular solutions such as closed-loop recycling for shrink-wrap (where the recycled film can become new shrink-wrap) or increasing the use of reusable covers where possible.

Made possible through a grant from 11th Hour Racing, an organization that establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and maritime communities to inspire solutions for the ocean, the Shrink-Wrap Recycling Project aims to prevent plastic film from entering landfills or incinerators by collecting the shrink-wrap from marinas, boatyards, vessel owners, and local agricultural operations, and transporting the material to TerraCycle in New Jersey.

After initial implementation in Rhode Island by engaging the marine industry and boating public, the long-term goal of this project is to leverage an established network of plastic recyclers and manufacturers with the potential to collect a larger variety of shrink-wrap.

“The Shrink-Wrap Recycling Project provides a time-sensitive opportunity to advance the existing efforts to collect plastic film, and bring awareness to the challenges and opportunities of creating a domestic circular economy, while having a laser focus on improving ocean health so future generations can enjoy ocean activities,” said Dave McLaughlin Co-Founder and Executive Director of Clean Ocean Access.

The Shrink-Wrap Recycling Project is COA’s latest addition to an existing repertoire of ocean-friendly initiatives including a beach cleanup volunteer program, environmental education events for children and a Marina Trash Skimmer project designed to leverage technology to remove debris found in marinas and harbors.

“By recycling boat shrink-wrap with Clean Ocean Access, TerraCycle is doing exactly what it was founded to do,” said Dylan Layfield, TerraCycle Senior Manager, Material Solutions. “By picking-up where conventional recycling leaves off, we’re ensuring that our shared waterways can be enjoyed by our children and our children’s children.”

TerraCycle specializes in collecting and repurposing hard-to-recycle waste through a variety of platforms, including large-scale recycling, which helps organizations like Clean Ocean Access recycle large volumes of waste.

For more information about Clean Ocean Access and how you can take part in the Shrink-Wrap Recycling Project, visit: www.cleanoceanaccess.org/programs/shrink-wrap-recycling/.

More information about TerraCycle and their recycling programs can be found by visiting: www.TerraCycle.com.

 About Clean Ocean Access

Clean Ocean Access is a not-for-profit organization with a mission of “action today so future generations can enjoy ocean activities.” COA has performed over 1,100 marine debris removals (coastal cleanups) around Aquidneck Island since September 2006 and removed over 170,000 pounds of small to medium size marine debris. After eight years of success with over 6,000 volunteers, they have shifted their focus towards a comprehensive approach that combines marine debris removal with prevention through education and engagement to eliminate plastic pollution and ocean litter. These programs are just a portion of COA’s long-term portfolio of efforts with a vision of a healthy ocean that is free of marine debris with water that is safe for all ocean activities and a shoreline that is accessible to the public. For more information, please visit: www.cleanoceanaccess.org.

About TerraCycle

TerraCycle is an innovative waste management company with a mission to eliminate the idea of waste. Operating nationally across 21 countries, TerraCycle partners with leading consumer product companies, retailers and cities to recycle products and packages, from dirty diapers to cigarette butts, that would otherwise end up being landfilled or incinerated. In addition, TerraCycle works with leading consumer product companies to integrate hard to recycle waste streams, such as ocean plastic, into their products and packaging. Its new division, Loop, is the first shopping system that gives consumers a way to shop for their favorite brands in durable, reusable packaging. TerraCycle has won over 200 awards for sustainability and has donated over $44 million to schools and charities since its founding more than 15 years ago and was named #10 in Fortune magazine’s list of 52 companies Changing the World. To learn more about TerraCycle or get involved in its recycling programs, please visit: www.terracycle.com

Kimberly Lee


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