Boaters can recycle marine shrink wrap with a program unique to Michigan


To keep plastic out of landfills across the state, Michigan Recycling Coalition, Dr. Shrink, EGLE, Bay Area Recycling for Charities and Emmet County Recycling partnered to recycle boat shrink wrap into something new.

You know the stuff: white or blue plastic sheeting is used to insulate and protect boats for winter storage and for a variety of agricultural uses.

Michigan is unique in that it produces vast amounts of plastic film waste thanks to a thriving boating industry and a $100 billion agribusiness with over 47,000 farms, said Katie Fournier, Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC) project coordinator.

Film plastics are not biodegradable and contribute significantly to our landfills, she says.

The 2022 Recycling Run is Michigan’s official boat cover collection program, and the nonprofit partners are inviting marinas, boat dealers and individuals across the state to participate.

Here’s the exercise: Buy $7 recycling bag(s) from Dr. Shrink, register with MRC, stuff the used plastic into the bag and deliver to a registered drop-off point (local, Bay Area Recycling for Charities in Kaleva and Traverse City).

dr Shrink, a Manistee-based global supplier of shrink wrap, makes the bags exclusively for the Recycling Run program, which is only available in Michigan. The industrial wide mouth bags hold covers of up to a 32 foot boat or approximately 850 square feet of plastic.

Fournier emphasizes that the $7 recycle bag is a one-time fee that includes the cost of collection, transportation, baling, and recycling; However, purchasing the bags does not enroll you in the program. To be placed on the baggage collection list at your local drop-off location, you must sign and email the registration form to [email protected] by June 1st.

The used boat covers are picked up later and matched to alternative products. Recycled plastics from this program are used by decking manufacturer TREX to make composite decking.

For each boat cover recycled, 115 kWh of energy, 13.5 gallons of oil and 16 to 20 cubic feet of landfill space are saved.

Fournier shares that this will be the 11th year the Recycle Run has collected ocean plastic, noting, “We really couldn’t scale the program until we received a grant from the Great Lakes Department of Environment in recent years, and energy. Now we are very excited that the program will be available nationwide.”

Visit Michigan Recycling Coalition for more information. Individuals with questions or comments can contact Fournier at MRC.


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