Recast & Recycle Contest

Create a second life for recreational fishing gear for your chance at up to $15,000.

Help us give recreational fishing gear a second life and win!

We're looking for the best ideas on how to make recycling of fishing line and soft bait more efficient, more attractive and more accessible! Give your best idea for a chance to win $15,000!
Deadline for submissions is May 14th, 2021

What is recreational fishing gear?

When we talk recreational fishing gear, we’re talking about fishing line and soft baits used by recreational anglers. Whether it’s monofilament line, braided line or soft baits – we want there to be a sustainable, large scale solution to keeping it out of our waters and our landfills.

Our Prizes

1st Place


2nd Place


3rd Place


What is the problem?

What is the problem?

Fishing line and soft baits can end up in our waterways and entangle wildlife or be consumed by fish and other animals. Even when discarded properly, fishing line that makes it to the landfill can end up back in the environment from blowing away or being removed by birds and wildlife. Used and damaged soft baits end up in the landfill or, worse, in our environment if not properly disposed of. Fish can mistake the baits for food and consume them, causing digestion issues that can lead to death. Additionally, standard recycling facilities are not set up to recycle these products. Line and baits can persist in the environment for years, causing long term harm to wildlife.

What’s happening now?

What’s happening now?

Berkley is currently working with a recycler (MDK Zerolandfill) that sorts and removes contaminants in the used line and then melts it into pellets, which are used to make new products such as benches and toys. Currently, there is no large scale process to recycle used soft baits. These cannot be recycled with fishing line as they contaminate the process for the line. The line and baits can also be contaminated from being in the water, and can contain hooks, weights and other entanglements, which make them unsuitable for recycling. Contaminated line and baits are typically incinerated as a fuel source. We love that fishing line is being recycled but there is always a need for innovation and longer term plans. How can the process be improved?

What’s is the process?

What’s is the process?

Line collected at recycling bins across the country is cleaned of hooks, leaders, weights and trash by volunteers and then shipped to Berkley’s facility. The line is again cleaned of entanglements and trash and shipped to the recycler (MDK Zerolandfill). The recycler again checks that only fishing line is present and removes any remaining nets, hooks or trash. The sorting and cleaning is done by hand and is extremely labor-intensive. The line is then melted down and reformed into plastic pellets. The pellets are sold as raw material for new product production. While used soft baits are not currently collected and recycled on a large scale, many anglers melt down their baits and remold them for future use.

Let's take a little deeper look into the process.

Soft Bait Recycling:

There is no nationwide program for recycling soft baits. Some organizations accept them locally to melt down and recast into new lures.

We’re open to ideas on how to start a nationwide program, how to encourage local recycling, end products for reusing the materials or whatever you think might solve the problem of used soft baits.

Fishing Line Recycling

Step 1: Line is collected in bins through programs like BoatUS Foundation’s Reel In and Recycle program. Some places collect in cardboard boxes or other collection methods.

Pain points: Trash, hooks, weights and other items sometimes ends up in bins. These have to be removed by hand and can negatively impact the usefulness of the line for recycling. Soft baits sometimes end up in the bins and melt on the line. They leave a film that makes the line unusable for recycling and then can only be incinerated.

Step 2. Volunteers collect the line. They remove trash, hooks and any other debris. They box up the line and send it to Berkley’s facility in Iowa.

Pain points: Labor intensive for volunteers to clean the line. Time and cost of shipping line to facility.

Step 3: Line arrives at Berkley and is again cleaned of debris and then sent to recycling facility.

Pain points: Labor intensive for staff to remove debris items and repackage line for shipment to recycling facility

Step 4: Line is received at recycling facility. The line is washed, checked for debris again and evaluated if it can be used in recycled product or if it is too contaminated.

Pain points: Labor intensive for staff to clean and remove debris. Line that is contaminated cannot be recycled and must be incinerated. The lag time from when someone places line into the bin and when it reaches the recycling facility is long.

Step 5. Line is melted down into plastic pellets and then sold as raw material for manufacturing. Some items created are benches and toys. Line that is not suitable for reuse is incinerated and used as a fuel source.

Possible improvements: What other processes besides melting could be used? What else could be done with the contaminated line? What else could be made from this material? How? Are there new end products that will engage those who are using the fishing line and baits to encourage them to recycle?

Additional Resource Videos

Precious Plastic - create things from plastic
Recycling Soft Plastic Baits - Soft Plastic Lure Making
The BEST way to RECYCLE your used plastic baits! $$$ DIY

How can you solve it?

How can you make the process better? It could be tackling a single part of the process like sorting and cleaning the line, reengineering the entire process or coming up with a new end product for the recycled material. We want to hear all the ideas! There is no limit to the possibilities, but keep these things in mind:

Is it innovative?

Is it possible/practical?

Is the end product useful?

What's the impact of the idea?

How to Enter the Contest?

Submissions are open to ANYONE!



Please view the following submission guidelines and requirements.

  • Practical or theoretical design submissions are allowed.
  • Submission can address any part of the process (or multiple parts) of taking fishing gear from end of life to a new life.
  • The competition is open to anyone – professionals, amateurs and students alike. Additionally, teams and groups are encouraged to apply. Submitted designs must not be products that are commercially available or approved by any governing authority or testing facility.
  • All applications must be submitted with either a link to a video demonstration of the product or process (for practical submissions) or a one page graphic summary and/or video explanation (for theoretical submissions). Videos may not be more than 4 minutes total running time. Additional supporting materials are encouraged
  • Please make sure that contact information is current and will be current for at least one year after the final submission deadline.
  • All submissions must be submitted through the online Entry Form, and must be received by 11:59 P.M. EST May 14th, 2021. Any submissions mailed to BoatUS Foundation will not be accepted.


The following terms and conditions are required for anyone submitting an entry form into the contest. Please read below.

  • By participating, applicant agrees to be fully and unconditionally bound by these Terms and Conditions, and represents and warrants that applicant meets the eligibility requirements set forth herein. In addition, applicant agrees to accept the decisions of the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water (“BoatUS Foundation”) and Partner Organizations (hereinafter collectively known as the “Organizer”) as final and binding as it relates to the competition. The competition is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws.
  • All applicants agree/grant that any design/idea that they submit to the competition may be used fully by the Organizer for marketing and promotional purposes directly related to the competition. This use may include publication in any Organizer publications, printed materials, or electronic media, including, but not limited to the Organizer web site, catalog, annual books and presentations. Use may also include publication in a media sponsor publication by the Organizer.
  • Videotaping of submission by contestants is done at their own risk. Organizer is not liable for the actions of the contestant or anyone else involved in the filming of the submission. Contestant will hold harmless and indemnify Organizer against any and all claims and actions arising out of the participation in the Contest.
  • The Organizer, its members, agents or competition judges acknowledge they have no intellectual or other property rights to any entries, whether conceptual, experimental or prototypical, except as expressly provided in these Terms and Conditions. Attaining such rights, whether based on patent, trademark, copyright or otherwise, is the responsibility of the applicant, and each entrant is strongly encouraged to do so prior to submitting his/her entry. By submitting his/her/their/its design(s), applicants expressly grant the BoatUS Foundation a nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, fully paid, royalty-free license to (a) reproduce, modify, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, and use the submission for and on behalf of the BoatUS Foundation; this does not include the right to sublicense any or all such rights to third parties. Additionally, applicants waive and release any and all claims against BoatUS Foundation or Organizer, their directors, officers, employees, members and agents based on or arising in any way from the intellectual property rights granted to such parties under these Terms and Conditions.
  • • The applicant retains ownership of all designs & prototypes but gives the Organizer permission to, in connection with this or future similar competitions, use, publish or republish the design and the applicant’s biographical information and pictures through any media deemed appropriate by the Organizer. Applicant warrants that he/she/they are the sole creator of the design, which consists entirely of the applicant’s original work.
  • An Organizer’s use of the designs in publications as provided herein as a result of the competition does not constitute that Organizer’s endorsement of the products or services.
  • Applicants must have sufficient permission of any recognizable models or other persons appearing in the submission to be able to grant to the Organizers the right to display their design submission online and must provide evidence of such permission upon Organizer’s request. Organizer may require applicant to provide a model release for each person appearing in the submission prior to awarding the prize to applicant.
  • Winner does not need to be present to win—but if we are unable to contact winner through provided information, prize will be forfeited after 30 days.
  • Prizes must be claimed within 30 days of valid notification.
  • Winners are responsible for all applicable federal, state or local taxes, tariffs or import duty fees and must provide a completed W-9 form and, if requested and unless prohibited, must return a completed Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability Release as a condition of receiving the prize.
  • Employees or agents of, BoatUS Foundation, Partner Organizations*, Government Employees Insurance Company, and their immediate families are not eligible to participate in this competition.
  • All judges' decisions are final.
  • The Organizer is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of any telephone network or telephone lines, computer on-line systems, servers, or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any e-mail or entry to be received by the Organizer due to technical problems, human error or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to participant's or any other person's computer relating to or resulting from participation in this competition or downloading any materials in this competition. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE COMPETITION IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE ORGANIZER RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON (S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

    * For a list of Partner Organizations, please see

Is your organization interested in partnering on this program? Contact us today!