By CAITLIN STEWART
LAKE PLEASANT -- The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District piloted a boat storage plastic recycling program this fall with the goal of removing plastic from the waste stream to save money and the environment.
Hamilton County district staff partnered with the Franklin and Clinton counties soil and water conservation districts Oct. 30 for an afternoon of baling 500 pounds of plastic at Lake Pleasant Marine.
Last year, surveys were completed by area marinas to gather information needed to launch this new recycling program. Questions included how much and what type of plastic was annually used for boat storage. The most important inquiry was if marinas were interested in recycling. They were ready and eager.
"We have been recycling boat storage plastic for 10 years because I don't like to fill up the landfill with plastic," explained Tom Dorr, owner of Lake Pleasant Marine. "We would purchase heavy duty recycling bags and only be able to fit four or five plastic wrappers in each bag.
"With 100 boats that expense adds up. This program was great for us because it saves us money and we appreciate the help."
Partnerships made the first plastic recycling event a success. After storage plastic was removed from the boats, Lake Pleasant Marine stockpiled it for recycling.
Staff from the Franklin and Clinton counties' SWCDs traveled to the marina with the Bigfoot Baler. The baler is owned by Clinton County SWCD, and was purchased with funding from the Champlain Watershed Improvement Coalition of New York.
The plastic was placed in the bin and compacted into a large, 500-pound bale. Franklin County SWCD staff delivered it to TAP Industries in Malone, where it will be pelletized.
"Recycling boat storage plastic not only results in cost savings but protects the ecosystems that support a thriving economy," explained Hamilton County SWCD Manager Elizabeth Mangle. "Recycling is important because it reduces the need to utilize our precious, nonrenewable resources to produce new products."
Local marinas or anyone with large amounts of heavy plastic materials who would like to participate in this program may contact the Hamilton County SWCD at (518) 548-3991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.