Spring is coming, and as we shed our layers, boats up and down the Bay will shed their shrink wrap. But almost all of that discarded shrink wrap ends up in landfills, where it won’t biodegrade.
This year, the Marine Trades Association of Maryland (MTAM) is launching its first-ever shrink wrap recycling program. Marinas and boatyards can buy bags that hold up to 40 pounds of shrink wrap. In a test, the shrink wrap from a 35-foot boat fit in the bag.
Shrink wrap is made of #4 Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) that is designed to shrink up to a third of its surface area once heat is applied, and it’s not meant to be used multiple times to wrap a boat. But there’s a nationwide push to find more recycled uses for the material. #4LDPE canbeused to make composite decking, playground slides, and guard rail mounting blocks. It’s also valuable for use in secondary films, like those used in construction and farming.
MTAM is working together with the Maryland Clean Marina Program and Edgewater, Maryland-based Chesapeake Materials on the program, which is modeled after a successful recycling effort in Rhode Island.
The cost is $15 per bag,including pickup,transportation, and recycling of the filled bags. MTAM says keeping the shrink wrap clean is critical to recycling it. All straps, zippers, doors and vents must be removed for the wrap to be accepted by recyclers. Chesapeake Materials will schedule spring pickup dates with participating marinas.
MTAM posted the video below to show how to salvage your shrink wrap for recycling. Spoiler: you’ll see the most action in the final 20 seconds of the video.
For more information or to order recycling bags, call MTAM at 410-269-0741 or emailing Susan@mtam.org.
-Meg Walburn Viviano