broken football on a patch of grass

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 old sports equipment:

What to do with ‘lightly used’ sports gear?  

Many of us know the thrill of signing up to a new sporting regime. Yet that feeling can quickly give way to dread each time the alarm clock goes off. For the times we’ve been too eager to get going, here’s how to rid your cupboards of those sporting wrong turns!

The FreecycleFreegle and Any Good To You networks allow you to donate useful items to other people within your community. After joining your local group, post your ‘offer’ advert on their network and wait for the replies to roll in. You can 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 so footie-mad kids can enjoy them 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 focuses on rugby kits, and 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 helps to make sports equipment and clothing accessible to everyone. They encourage 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. 

Recycle old sports equipment by donating 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 protect ripening fruit on plants and trees from bird attacks
  • Cut old basketballs into two halves and string them 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
  • Dismantle rusty trampolines and use the surface as a tarpaulin or waterproof ground sheet
  • Send snapped skateboards to upcycling crafter label Thrashion, to be remade into fabulous jewellery and accessories.

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

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