In 2022, Big Bite Baits teamed up with Jill Wijangco, Conservation Director of the Illinois B.A.S.S. Nation, to create a soft plastic recycling program. This program was based on a vision of the late Illinois B.A.S.S. Nation president, Ralph Sweat, who passed away on Aug. 3, 2020. His vision was to recycle these used plastics into autographed plaques and new baits to give away at events. Ralph’s motto was, “These baits are never going to end up in a landfill. I’m going to take them and make something out of them.”
“Jill has worked very hard to start this program in Illinois with the B.A.S.S. Nation. We are pleased to help her grow it in 2022 and facilitate the recycling of more baits to a good second use after catching lots of fish in Illinois,” said Brandon Ray, Big Bite Baits.
“With the Cast, Catch, Convert campaign, I aim to change the mindset of anglers both young and old to not only keep plastics out of the water, but also our landfills, so they can be converted and given a second life,” said Wijangco.
This program kicked off in 2022 as the Illinois B.A.S.S. Nation has now started returning plastics for recycling. Big Bite will continue the process by helping to facilitate the recycling again with the Illinois Nation and partnering with 10 different B.A.S.S. Nation groups in 2023. These recycled soft plastic baits are not used for new lure production but are sent to an outside vendor who then recycles the plastics into shoe soles. In exchange for the soft plastics mailed in, Big Bite Baits provides the B.A.S.S. Nation groups with baits to distribute to the folks who donate their used plastics to the state Nation teams.
The Outdoor Brand Team has donated $1,000 to this program to help cover shipping costs that are required for the B.A.S.S. Nation groups to send the used plastics in for recycling.