Introduction: Fishing Line Recycling Containers

As my Eagle Scout project, I built mono-filament fishing line recycling containers. I'm creating this Instructable as part of my project deliverable - to document and provide instructions that the Will Co. Forest Preserve can use for future projects.

The fishing line that we buy today is made of mono-filament, a strong, flexible, and clear strand of plastic. Most mono-filament is non-biodegradable and can last for many years depending on the environmental conditions. Because it is thin and clear, its very hard for fish, birds, and other animals to see, and they can easily become entangled in this line. Once they are entangled, they may become injured, strangled, drowned, or even starve to death. Many animals ingest this fishing line as well. One recovered sea turtle had consumed 590 feet of heavy duty fishing line. Recycling mono-filament line is crucial to protecting our environment, as well as the species that live in it.

*Did you know? Mono-filament line is a high density plastic and needs to undergo a special recycling process? If you see fishing line littering the ground or water, pick it up and put it into one of the containers! It will be recycled into other plastics products, but not remade into mono-filament line.*

This Instructable only covers the containers - it does not address mounting, as any mounting would be unique to where it's being placed.


Each Recycling station consists of:

1 - 2ft length of 4" PVC

1 - 90 degree Street Elbow

1 - 4" Clean Out adapter

1 - 4" Clean out plug

1 - 1.5" piece 1/2" CPVC (NOT PVC!) (2" if you use a 1/2 thick door)

1 - 2.5" 3/8" Hex bolt

1 - 3/8" Lock Nut

1 - 5" hose clamp

1 - Door - cut from 1/2 or 3/4 x6" wide vinyl trim


PVC Glue

Gorilla Glue

Electrical Tape

Emery Cloth


Jig saw - to cut the doors

Drill - for drain hole in cap

Hack Saw - to cut the pipe

2 wrenches - for bolting the doors

Screwdriver or nut driver for hose clamps

Saw horses

Step 1: Trace and Cut Out the Material for the Doors.

Temporarily fasten the CPVC pipe to the top of the street elbow in order to create a template that you can use to trace the shape of the door onto the vinyl trim board. Be sure to mark the hole that the bolt will be going through, you can't attach the door to the container without it!

*Note: use the first door that you cut out as a template that you can use to trace the rest.*

Step 2: Measure and Cut the 10 Ft. Lengths of PVC Pipe.

Use a tape measure and place a mark at every 24 inches. It helps to put marks all around the pipe, since you will need to rotate the pipe as you cut it.

Important tip: In order to make the cutting process cleaner and easier, have someone help you hold the pipe steady and rotate it as you cut it. This will give you a straighter cut with less trim to clean up later.

Cut the CPVC pipe segment into 1 1/2" segments if the door is 3/4" thick, or into 2" segments if the door is 1/2" thick.

Step 3: Sanding.

Using emery cloth:

  • Sand the burs off of the 24" PVC pipe lengths that are left over from cutting.
  • Sand all of the mating surfaces on the pipe as well as the fittings. We are not using PVC primer on these since a waterproof seal is not necessary, sanding these surfaces removes the gloss and helps the glue to bond.
  • Sand a flat spot onto both the PVC street elbow and the CPVC pipe segments. Doing this will allow the pieces to sit and bond better.
  • Sand the doors so that they are rounded and smooth.

Step 4: Pipe Assembly.

Apply PVC glue to all of the female fittings and assemble the pipe as shown.

Hint: Start by gluing the 24" length of pipe into the PVC clean out first. This makes it easier to seat it properly since the street elbow will not be in the way.

Notice: Drill a hole in the bottom of the clean out plug cap. This will allow any water that might get into the container to drain. Screw the cap into the PVC clean out after you have drilled the hole (you can also screw the cap in at the very end). DO NOT glue the cap into the clean out! Workers need to unscrew the bottom in order to empty the contents.

Step 5: Door Assembly.

Once you have put the pipe together, you will need to attach the CPVC pipe to the top of the street elbow. Attaching this piece to the street elbow requires a few hands, so you may want someone to help you with these next steps.

  • First, follow the directions on the back of the Gorilla Glue bottle and draw a small line of glue on top of the PVC street elbow, no longer than the length of the CPVC pipe.
  • Next, stick the flat side of the CPVC pipe to the street elbow.
  • While holding the CPVC pipe in place, have someone else fasten the the 5" hose clamp around the street elbow and CPVC pipe as shown in the pictures above. Have them tighten the hose clamp in order to secure the CPVC.

Note: Do not tighten the hose clamp too much, as you could risk squishing or damaging the CPVC segment.

Once you have secured the CPVC pipe to the top of the street elbow with the Gorilla Glue and hose clamp, you can now attach the door.

Run the hex head bolt through the hole in the door as well as the CPVC segment as shown above.

You will then need to attach the lock nut to the end of the bolt in order to secure it.

Hint: Use two adjustable wrenches when tightening the lock nut: one in the back to hold it in place, and one in the front to turn the bolt.

Make sure that when you tighten the hex bolt to keep it loose enough so that you can open and close the door with ease.

Once the door is attached, wrap the hose clamp with electrical tape.

Step 6: You Are Done!

You have completed building the Mono-filament recycling containers! Let the containers sit for a few hours in order for everything to dry and bond correctly.