2019, 2020, 2021


Middletown, RI

Clean Ocean Access

Shrink-Wrap Recycling & Life Cycle Analysis Project

The shrink-wrap recycling project aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of domestic recycling efforts, circular economies, and prevent the plastic film from entering landfills or incinerators – a risk that is increasing with severe reductions in plastic recyclables that are accepted by Chinese manufacturers, which used to handle a large portion of plastic recycling created by US consumers, but has recently changed its policies. Clean Ocean Access has refined a three-phase project that will develop and implement a shrink-wrap recycling program in Southern New England, including Rhode Island, along with education and outreach to the sailing and marine industry and boating public. The long-term goal of this project is to use the established network of plastic recyclers and manufacturers created from the first phase, to divert a larger quantity of plastic film with the potential for a wider range of material composition in the future.

  • Develop a framework for regional recycling of LDPE plastic film from the marine industry, construction, and agricultural sectors.
  • Collect and recycle domestically 100,000 pounds of plastic film in Southern New England
  • Conduct outreach to increase recycling rates among New England boaters and industry partners.
  • Complete research and outreach with shrink-wrap manufacturers to advance circular design.
  • Design and promote a reusable boat covers program for boaters, intended to replace shrink-wrap plastic use.
  • Collection of at least 10,000 pounds of LDPE shrink-wrap from marinas, boatyards, and vessel owners.
  • Transport of material to TerraCycle in Illinois via rail or truck and process material into raw material input to be used by a domestic manufacturer to create any defined finished product. 
  • Design a framework for a long-term shrink-wrap recycling program that is financially self-sufficient.

About Clean Ocean Access

Clean Ocean Access is a not-for-profit organization with a mission of “action today so future generations can enjoy ocean activities.” COA has performed over 1,171 marine debris removals (coastal cleanups) around Aquidneck Island since September 2006 and removed over 170,000 pounds of marine debris with the help of over 15,212 dedicated volunteers. After years of success, they have shifted their focus towards a comprehensive approach that combines marine debris removal with prevention through education and engagement to eliminate plastic pollution and ocean litter. These programs are just a portion of COA’s long-term portfolio of efforts with a vision of a healthy ocean that is free of marine debris with water that is safe for all ocean activities and a shoreline that is accessible to the public. For more information, please visit

Clean Ocean Access staff celebrating the collection of 21,000 pounds of Rhode Island shrink-wrap and diversion to a recycling facility in Illinois Photo credit: Clean Ocean Access.
Clean Ocean Access staff celebrating the collection of 21,000 pounds of Rhode Island shrink-wrap and diversion to a recycling facility in Illinois in 2019. Photo credit: Clean Ocean Access.

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