Rig Recycle Launching Multi-State Activations

Powered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation through the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) marine debris data related to the fishing industry has been collected during thousands of clean-up events over the last two decades.  This AMDI data has helped guide the development of source reduction projects which aim to engage key partners in ways that reduce litter and marine debris from entering our saltwater environment.

Over the last two years, this process has led to the development of Tangaroa Blue’s “ReefClean Rig Recycle” program which has worked with over 160 partners, including multiple Reef Guardian Councils, community groups, local businesses, and fishing event organisers, to deliver a successful pilot along the Great Barrier Reef catchment at 45 sites.

The clean-up and data collection process allows for the segregation of items that have been removed from the environment so that the maximum percentage is recycled and diverted from landfill. The issue of not having recycling pathways for fishing gear has meant that these items always ended up in landfill…until now.

Tangaroa Blue Foundation is also the co-licensee, with Chemistry Australia, of Operation Clean Sweep, a plastics industry program with a goal of zero plastic feedstock loss during manufacturing and processing into the environment. By engaging and consulting with this network of plastic industry representatives (with a special thanks to BASF and BC Plastics), viable, best practice, pathways have now been developed to value-add recovered marine debris with specific fishing industry packaging items through the ReefClean Rig Recycle program to divert maximum volumes from landfill.

Working with the recreational fishing industry allows us to build the required volumes needed for these pathways to reach a circular material input target that creates sustainable outcomes for the consumer, retailer, and broader brand producers.

The ReefClean Rig Recycle pilot program has provided an amazing opportunity to deep dive into the recreational fishing industry so that a fit-for-purpose program could be developed. We would like to thank AFTA for hosting a great trade show, where we learned a lot and were excited by the high level of interest from retailers to support a national rollout of the program.

Rig Recycle ramps up in 2022-23

Tangaroa Blue Foundation is now thrilled to announce that through funding from Sustainability Victoria’s Circular Economy Communities Fund, Rig Recycle will be launching across Victoria, in addition to expanding throughout NSW with the support of the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust.

In Queensland, ReefClean Rig Recycle will be hosted by Tackle World, who, as an official ReefClean program partner, are hosting bins from Bundaberg to Cooktown along the Great Barrier Reef, as well as across to Weipa, and other local partners are coming on board for the rest of the state.

The funding announced by Minister Lily D’Ambrosio in Victoria is a major achievement and provides investment to build a system from recovery through to the processing of materials, with the program’s own plastic processing line being built in 2023. This will see the ability to shred and granulate ready for input back into the recreational fishing sector for the design and development of circular products for the consumer.

Discussions are also underway to connect South Australia and Western Australia to the program in the future.

Rig Recycle’s goal is to deliver an inclusive, national program that plays a key role in connecting the recreational fishing industry with impactful, transparent and credible solutions that improve the long-term health of our oceans.

What the program will be accepting 2023

  • Spools – we have encountered some spools with material types that aren’t recyclable so can’t be accepted into the program – we are keen to work with the industry to solve this issue.
  • Spool packaging
  • Monofilament fishing line
  • Braid fishing line
  • Donated and recovered clean hooks, swivels, sinkers
  • Hard bodied lures – these will be repaired and reused
  • Soft plastics trial – these are currently in testing to identify a suitable value added pathway


Rig Recycle Information Session

The Rig Recycle team will be running an information session on 30/11/22 for the recreational fishing sector interested in hosting a Rig Recycle recovery site and for brands wanting to get behind the program’s circular materials recovery framework.

If you’re interested in attending, please register by following this link.

AFTA recently put out the call; There are plenty of ways we can all help the environment at home, but what is your business doing? Do you have an office, warehouse or store program in place? Have you thought about this from a broader perspective?
AFTA is interested in what our members are doing. If you have a strategy in place no matter how big or small, email the details to us (admin@afta.net.au) and we’ll pop it in our next E-News. Perhaps we can all learn something new!