Ohio State University Sea Grant’s Ohio Clean Marinas Program has received a Great Lakes Outreach Superior Programming Award from the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network for its Boat Shrink Wrap Recycling Program. The award recognizes a multi-program or single state multi-partner initiative that has helped solve a problem of major importance in the Great Lakes basin.
"This award underscores the success of the shrink-wrap recycling program," says Colleen Wellington, Ohio State Extension Educator and Coordinator of the Ohio Clean Marinas Program. "It is a collaborative achievement, attributable to numerous collaborators within Ohio and the surrounding region."
A partnership between Ohio Sea Grant, the Ohio Clean Marinas Program, the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and Mondo Polymer Technologies, the Boat Shrink Wrap Recycling Program was developed to give marinas and boat owners a no cost alternative to disposing of discarded shrink wrap. Since its inception in 2006, the program has kept nearly 1 million pounds of shrink wrap plastic out of Lake Erie county landfills. This plastic is used to create guardrail spacer blocks.
"The boat shrink wrap recycling program is a strong indicator of responsible environmental stewardship by marina owners and managers," says Dave Kelch, Ohio State Extension Specialist and Administrator of the Ohio Clean Marinas Program. "Without their dedication to the coastal environment, we would still be disposing hundreds of tons of plastic into landfills every year."
The strength of the program is evident in its spread throughout the region, as five neighboring states have adopted their own Shrink Wrap Recycling efforts. "We hope that it will continue to grow," Wellington says.