Falmouth becomes the sixth town to join a collaborative recycling program managed by Barnstable County’s Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, WHOI Sea Grant, and AmeriCorps Cape Cod.
March 30, 2023 (Barnstable, MA) – This spring, boaters from across Cape Cod can choose from six locations to recycle the plastic wrap that protects their boat in the off-season.
The Cape Cod shrink wrap recycling program reduces the amount of plastic entering our waste stream and saves valuable and limited space for non-recyclable materials. It is a partnership between Barnstable County’s Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, WHOI Sea Grant, AmeriCorps Cape Cod, and the towns of Bourne, Dennis, Chatham, Eastham, Falmouth, and Wellfleet.
“We’re pleased to be able to offer this program again this year and excited to add Falmouth as our sixth location,” says Kari Parcell, the regional waste reduction coordinator for Barnstable County’s Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. “We’re grateful to the towns and their staff for their time and willingness to cover the costs and serve as host locations for the program.”
The collections, which are located at the six towns’ transfer stations, run from April 1 to June 30. There is no fee or sticker required for residents to drop off boat shrink wrap, but the wrap must be properly prepared for recycling or it will not be accepted. Collection locations, hours, and program information can be found at http://seagrant.whoi.edu/shrinkwrap.
Boat shrink wrap is low-density polyethylene, or LDPE, and requires special processing. It cannot be put into curbside recycling carts and bins. The plastic strapping, vents, or zippered doors often used when shrink-wrapping boats are not made of LDPE plastic and are considered contaminated by recyclers. Residents should make sure their wrap is free of these items before bringing it to the town waste management facility or risk being turned away.
“Strapping, ropes, and other non-shrink wrap materials can cause problems when we take the material to the recycler,” says Stephanie Murphy of WHOI Sea Grant. “The good news is there’s an easy method for removing the wrap from the boat that removes the strapping and other contaminants in the process. This is done by cutting the plastic around the belly of the boat: the straps fall away and the plastic can then be folded and rolled for recycling.”
A how-to video is available on the WHOI Sea Grant website along with other information about how to prepare the wrap for recycling. The site also includes a video describing how to reuse shrink wrap for multiple seasons – something boaters may not know is possible and can save them money.
In 2022, the Cape Cod shrink wrap recycling partnership collected and recycled 5.5 tons of shrink wrap. A materials recycling facility (MRF) operated by Republic Services in Brockton baled the wrap and sold it on the commodities market. The costs for transporting the material to the MRF and the recycling fees were paid by the participating towns.
For more information about recycling opportunities at the Falmouth WMF, see Falmouthma.gov/1254/Bulky-Hard-To-Recycle-Materials.
More information about the Cape Cod Shrink Wrap Recycling Program is available at http://seagrant.whoi.edu/shrinkwrap.
ABOUT CAPE COD COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
Cape Cod Cooperative Extension is the education department for Barnstable County. Educational programs focus on agriculture, marine resources, horticulture, aquaculture, natural resources, water quality, recycling, household hazardous waste, nutrition, food safety, youth development, and the county’s environmental education issues. Extension programs are conducted in Barnstable County in cooperation with the University of Massachusetts and The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution–Sea Grant program. Learn more at www.capecod.gov/extension.
ABOUT BARNSTABLE COUNTY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OF CAPE COD Barnstable County provides exemplary government functions and services to keep our community healthy and safe, promote sustainable growth, and offer a proactive, open government that enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Barnstable County.
Kari Parcell, Municipal Assistance Coordinator