Community Action: Shrink Wrap Program

We recycle plastic bottles, tin cans and cardboard boxes, but many boat owners feel stuck not knowing what to do with shrink wrap. Seaside Sustainability’s Marine Shrink Wrap Recycling Program was designed as an environmentally conscious solution to discarding these plastic boat coverings. This initiative will give Gloucester and neighboring communities the chance to recycle marine shrink wrap for future use, rather than having it sit in a landfill - or ending up in the ocean.


The program is free and accessible to the public, running from April 5th until June 4th, 2021. Boat owners can recycle shrink wrap at City of Gloucester Public Works, 28 Poplar Street, Gloucester, MA 01930. The facility will be open Monday to Thursday from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm and from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm on Fridays.


According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, plastic debris is the leading cause of ocean pollution, accounting for 80 percent of ocean waste. Hundreds of thousands of marine animals die every year from either ingesting or being trapped by ocean plastics, and plastic pollution has also been linked to ocean acidification. Local community action such as the Shrink Wrap Program can have a ripple effect on how we treat our environment.

A huge draw of boating is that it takes you out to serene, clear waters, where boaters can take in the environment and be free of their day-to-day worries. One way to preserve that experience for the future is to take part in community-led programs such as this one, which aims to protect waters from potential pollutants. The safe disposal of shrink wraps means that a significant amount of plastic is diverted from landfills and from polluting our oceans and waterways, making sure we keep these areas sustainable for future enjoyment.


This program is made possible through partnerships with Gloucester Harbormaster, Thomas Ciarametaro Jr. and Dynamic Waste Solutions Incorporated. Seaside Sustainability would like to thank Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Sea Grants for helping build the program. Seaside Sustainability is excited to work with WHOI in the future to expand the Marine Shrink Wrap Recycling Program on Cape Ann. Seaside Sustainability would also like to thank the Gloucester Department of Public Works for offering their facility as a home for the recycling container.

How to Prepare Plastic Marine Shrink Wrap for Recycling:

STEP 1: Ensure shrink wrap is clean and free of debris, wood, metal, garbage, and other non-shrink wrap materials.


STEP 2: Fold shrink wrap into 4-5 foot widths and roll each piece into a tight bundle (like a sleeping bag).


STEP 3: Tie each bundle with a strip of shrink wrap… and that’s it! Now you are ready to recycle your shrink wrap. Bundles can be placed in the recycling bin located at 28 Poplar Street, Gloucester, MA 01930.


Note: As you prepare your shrink wrap for recycling, it is crucial to keep the material clean and free of dirt and debris. Contaminants such as wood and metal will disrupt the recycling process.