Think Before You Shrink

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Plastic Free QAC calls attention to the pollution of boat shrink-wrap

Queen Anne’s County, MD: PFQAC has joined forces with the Maryland Clean Marina Initiative (CMI) and the Marine Trades Association of Maryland (MTAM) to raise awareness of the serious pollution problem of plastic boat shrink-wrap. Together PFQAC, MTAM, and the CMI, along with other environmental organizations in Maryland, are encouraging boat owners to rethink the wrap.

Queen Anne’s County is home to at least 23 marinas and thousands of boat owners. While shrink-wrapping is the most popular way for boat owners to winterize their boats, the amount of plastic used and where to dispose of it has become an increasing problem, as the numbers of boat owners has grown significantly during the COVID pandemic.

The Clean Marina Initiative’s statewide “Think Before You Shrink” campaign is an extremely timely initiative that encourages boat owners to consider purchasing a reusable cover. Semi-custom covers are available online or through local marine retailers and custom-design boat covers are available through local businesses as an alternative to plastic. For small boats, semi-custom covers cost about the same as two seasons of shrink-wrap but last much longer.

In addition, MTAM/CMI will be offering their Shrink-wrap Recycling Program again in 2021. The program recycles about 30,000 pounds of plastic each year, keeping it from ending up in the landfills. Recycling bags are dropped off and picked up through local marinas each spring. Marinas can join the program by purchasing boxes of 30 bags through MTAM. The bags are $15 each or $450 for the box of 30. The sale of bags pays for the pick-up, baling and hauling to the recycling center. Bags will go on sale in December. Email [email protected] to order your bags.

PFQAC has joined this campaign to raise awareness about viable alternatives to shrink-wrap. This season, as boat owners are preparing to winterize, PFQAC is contacting QAC marinas and will be reaching out to boat owners through next spring to promote these alternatives ahead of the boating season.

Boat owners are encouraged to consider any of the following alternatives to sending shrink-wrap to the landfill:

  • RECYCLE with the MTAM’s Maryland Shrink-wrap Recycling Program.
  • Purchase a pre-made or custom reusable cover -- covers can last five to ten years.
  • Store your boat in a boat storage building; seasonal rates will vary
  • Leave your boat uncovered during the winter.
  • Start now to consider which alternative works best for you!