The mild fall weather continues to attract anglers to lakes and ponds in Union County parks, and now they have a convenient way to safely dispose of used fishing line. Specially designed “Reel in and Recycle” bins are now located at several popular fishing spots throughout the County parks system.

The new bins are part of an effort to reduce litter in local waterways. They are designed to collect monofilament fishing line, the most commonly used form of fishing line on the market today.

“The new Reel in and Recycle bins provide anglers with a convenient place to dispose of unwanted monofilament fishing line, enabling them to help keep local waterways clean and free of debris that can harm marine life,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “In addition, the line will be collected and recycled into new products.”

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Either by accident or through neglect, monofilament line frequently makes its way into local lakes, ponds, and streams, where it entangles fish, turtles, birds and other wildlife. Monofilament fishing line can take more than 600 years to decompose, making it one of the most persistent forms of pollution in waterways.

“The Reel in and Recycle program will help reduce the harm caused by discarded fishing line and improve the habitat for wildlife, while providing an opportunity for the public to learn about the hazards of monofilament line,” said Freeholder Chair Kowalski. “We hope the new bins will inspire visitors in County parks to learn about the impacts of litter in our parks and understand how they can be part of the solution.”

The new Reel in and Recycle bins are being installed at Briant Park (Summit), Cedar Brook Park (Plainfield), Echo Lake Park (Mountainside), Lenape Park (Cranford), Nomahegan Park (Cranford), Milton Lake Park (Rahway), Sperry Pond (Cranford), Seeley’s Pond (Mountainside), and Warinanco Park (Roselle).

The collected fishing line will be will be sent to the Berkeley Conservation Institute. Since 1990, the organization has recycled more than 9 million miles worth of fishing line into raw plastic pellets, which can be used to make new products including tackle boxes, spools for line, and fish habitats.

Reel in and Recycle is part of Union County’s comprehensive portfolio of recycling programs. For information on all recycling events and initiatives organized or supported by Union County, visit ucnj.org/recycling.

For quick links to all Union County environmental activities and services, including a directory of County parks, visit The Green Connection at ucnj.org/green-connect.

Please note that fishing in Union County parks is governed by New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife regulations. A state-issued fishing license is required for those 16 and older.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Photo caption: Union County Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski joined Union County Engineering, Public Works & Facilities Management Director Joseph Graziano and Union County Recycling & Planning Bureau Chief JoAnn Gemenden at  a recently installed “Reel in and Recycle” bin at the fishing dock in Nomahegan Park in Cranford. The new bins in Union County parks are part of an effort to reduce litter in local waterways. They are designed to collect monofilament fishing line, the most commonly used form of fishing line on the market today. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)