Bill introduced to recycle boat shrink wrap in Minnesota

Shrink-wrapped boats
Photo: Michigan Recycling Coalition

Shrink wrap is used across the country to protect boats from the elements. Unfortunately, the opportunities to recycle that plastic are currently very limited. And we are talking about a lot of plastic. A 25-foot boat uses approximately 25 pounds of plastic and that’s roughly equivalent to over 2,000 plastic shopping bags. Think about the 800,000 registered watercraft in Minnesota and how many of them are shrink wrapped every year. The amount of boat shrink wrap Minnesota uses just one time is staggering.

Legislation has been introduced in the Minnesota House (HF 3320) and in the Senate (SF 3427) to begin to address the problem. The proposed legislation will:

  • Creates a product stewardship program to responsibly recycle and reuse boat shrink-wrap.
  • Requires producers, through membership in a stewardship organization, to implement and finance a statewide product stewardship program to reduce the volume
    of boat wrap disposed of in landfills by promoting and providing for the collection and recycling of boat wrap.
  • Sets goals and a mechanism for tracking progress towards recycling the majority of boat shrink-wrap plastic used in Minnesota.

Here is a great overview of the issue from the Chesapeake Quarterly. It’s focused on Maryland, but it is the same issue in Minnesota.

Here is a 1-page flyer on the proposed bill that includes some rough estimates on the amount of plastic that goes into our landfills or is incinerated.

Note: This initiative is not identified in our 2024 MN COLA Legislative Agenda, but it’s one that is worth supporting!