Researchers at DuPont stumbled upon a new synthetic fiber in 1938. Dubbed "Nylon," it was the first of its kind. Initially, DuPont was stumped for an application; however, marketers soon found the formula perfect for extruding into "monofilament" (meaning literally "one fiber") fishing line. DuPont went public with their radically new line in 1939.
Since then, monofilament has been part of fishing vernacular. While mono possesses plenty of admirable qualities, it's capable of wreaking havoc on the occupants of our fragile marine environments.
Annually, ill-discarded mono entangles both sea and land animals, leading to their death after considerable suffering. Monofilament can also become entangled in outboard and trolling motors. I personally had a trolling motor ruined when mono wrapped around the propeller shaft and cut the seal, allowing saltwater to get into the motor housing.
Stray monofilament has reached epidemic proportion. At a recent southern coastal clean-up, volunteers collected nearly 600 lengths of monofilament (an estimated 1,800 yards) during the daylong event. That's 1.227 miles of fishing line on one beach. Considering mono takes 600 years to degrade, it's easy to see how dire the situation has become.
Many states have implemented monofilament-recycling programs. Monofilament recycling portals can be found at local boat ramps and parks. To recycle your line, simply place it in one of these. Receptacles are regularly emptied and the mono sent off for recycling. If a receptacle isn't available, do everyone a favor—take it home and properly discard.