How to reuse and recycle old sports equipment
LIFESTYLE | September 5, 2011

How to reuse and recycle old sports equipment

Do you have old sporting gear clogging up the loft or the back of the garage? Here's a more general guide to how you can reuse or recycle your old sporting equipment:


What to do with 'lightly used' sports gear?  

For those of us who know how the initial thrill of signing up to a new exercise regime can quickly give way to a feeling of dread each time the alarm clock goes off, here's how to rid your cupboards of those sporting wrong turns!


The Freecycle, Freegle and Any Good To You networks allow you to donate useful items to other people within your community. After joining your local group, you post your 'offer' advert on their network and wait for the replies to roll in. You can either choose to go the easy 'first-come-first-served' route, or choose a cause or an individual who sounds particularly deserving. Either way, you're helping to conserve resources and build a stronger community by 'passing it on'.


If you've a family where one or more members support football teams, you'll be interested to hear about the Kit Aid charity. Donate your old football kits and they'll be sent to footie mad kids in Africa. Over 100,000 kits have been reused in this way so far! If football's not your family's bag, Gift 100 is a more rugby oriented charity which sends kit from clubs and schools to Ghana.


In 2010, a ground-breaking charity shop was launched in Luton - specialising entirely in sports equipment. Active Luton is dedicated to making sports equipment and clothing accessible to everyone, and encouraging local people back into sports, by recycling old and unwanted sports kit. There's a partner shop in Bedford, so if you live near either of the shops, think about dropping off your sporting reusables with them for resale. 


Donate to a dog rescue centre

Dogs love to run after fluffy old tennis balls. Deflated footballs and basketballs are also far easier to get one's canine teeth into! You can take your old balls to a local dog rescue charity or this website collects and redistributes tennis balls to dog charities and rescue homes.  


Creative reuse tips

  • Football nets can be used to protect ripening fruit on plants and trees from bird attack
  • Old basketballs can be cut into two halves and strung up to make hard-wearing hanging baskets. Just remember to punch holes through so the plants don't become waterlogged
  • Broken plastic sledges are great to tug after you as a receptacle when weeding or transporting soil around the garden
  • Rusty trampolines can be dismantled and the surface used as a tarpaulin or waterproof ground sheet
  • Snapped skateboards can be sent to upcycling crafter label Thrashion, to be remade into fabulous jewellery and accessories.


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Can you think of other ways to recycle sports equipment? Post your thoughts below, or share with us on Twitter and Facebook!