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Because You Asked

What Can I Do with Old Sports Equipment?

By Recyclebank |

Even if you’ve retired from a sport, your gear might still have life. There are plenty of places that will reuse or recycle used equipment.


Dear Recyclebank: What can I do with old sports equipment? Is any of it recyclable? Andrew C.


Dear Andrew: Whether you or your kids have lost interest in the sport or outgrown old equipment, there are plenty of ways it can be put to good use after you’ve retired from the game. There are several organizations that accept donations of gently used equipment, which they then pass along to kids and organizations who don’t have the means to buy their own (after all, all those balls, protective gear, and other accoutrements don’t come cheap!).


“Donating sports equipment offers it a second chance to touch lives, rather than resigning it to a landfill forever,” says Robbie Palmisano, a Duke University student who founded All Kids Should Play in Baltimore, MD, when he was a high school senior. “If someone donates just one basketball, that’s twenty more kids who can play the sport of basketball.” The benefits of giving less privileged kids the opportunity to play sports, he says, include learning cooperation, trust, and discipline, which leads to a greater likelihood of succeeding in school and a lessened chance of getting involved in dangerous activities.


The donations shipped to or received locally by All Kids Should Play are distributed to groups and organizations that are in need of the equipment. Most equipment is welcomed, with the exception of football helmets (for liability reasons) and skiing equipment (for lack of demand as well as storage issues).

Palmisano says that anything that cannot be used is forwarded to the local recycling center, which breaks down the parts into recyclable materials.


Another similar organization —also founded by teens — is Let’s Play it Forward in Westchester, NY. They accept shipments from all over the U.S. and are particularly in need of jump ropes, Frisbees, Wiffle balls and bats, and ball pumps and mitts. The gear received is donated to organizations in need across the U.S. and abroad. You could also consider sending that gear to Leveling the Playing Field in Silver Spring, MD, or Pitch In For Baseball, in Harleysville, PA.


If you’d rather keep your gear within the community, a post on a community message board or a site like Craigslist or Freecycle might find you an eager recipient. You might even make a few bucks by selling it to Play It Again Sports or another sports resale shop.


If your gear is not in usable condition, you might be able to recycle it, although some equipment is hard to recycle because it is comprised of mixed materials. Bike helmets or other kinds of helmets might be able to be repurposed or recycled. Uniforms can be contributed to a textiles recycling facility. And there’s even a recycling center for tennis balls that have lost their bounce!


With all these options, your sports gear just might be able to stay in play, rather than being relegated to the landfill.



What do you do with old sports equipment? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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  • Barbara W. 3 months ago
    Hey - hey, here I am Back Again today Feb 7th. 2022 .
    The bot captured me again on Dec 17th, 2022, that ole basement is spooky!
    January is my bad luck month for sure.
    Two times now, If it ever happens again ( and you notice I am gone) PLEASE do a LIKE on one of my comments OR/ REPLY to me---because It goes to my e-mail and I can at least LOOK to see what all going on ---THANKS!
    MISSED all of you!
    • Debra D. 3 months ago
      Hey Barbara! Missed you...Debra B here. Did you get your chocolate covered pretzel rods from your friend? I am doing a big batch this week for my husband's work, coworkers.... Hope all is going well with you now...
    • Barbara W. 3 months ago
      Unfortunately not! She lost her husband in a horrible auto accident in Aug. She did a little baking this first Christmas after his death. I am sure it was so difficult for her. I did check on her over the Holidays, she said it's just not the same. The first year and all of its Holidays are sooo difficult for a person.
    • Barbara W. 3 months ago
      I am hopeful for Valentine, I might casually mention it !
    • Donna D. 3 months ago
      I am glad you are back Barbara. We all worry when we don't see your posts!
    • Barbara W. 3 months ago
      Thanks!, I am no quitter, just hang in there and keep trying.
      I did notice that in my Profile on the bottom right-hand side it says : deactivate account. I first noticed it when I got back from the basement the first time. July 8th to Oct 24th.. not sure why it is still there?
      I quickly ordered a magazine for a friend ( in case I could not get back in ) I was almost scared to sign out.
  • Jeannette M. 3 months ago
    Are y'all getting points?
  • Twyila S. 3 months ago
    We always donate our items to either Local Play Areas or Good Will. The Schools are also Thankful for receiving Sports items. Schools only have a Small amount to spend on supplies. Sports/Playground items are Expensive. So the next time you have some equipment that might interest a School, then give them a call to see if they Might just Appreciate Receiving it!!! Monday February 7,2022.
    • Debra D. 3 months ago
      Yes, we did that with ours kids used items as growing up. i also donated a slew of yard games recently to a home day care on our street....was much appreciated!
    • Barbara W. 3 months ago
      I am going back through LIVE GREEN to see what all points I can find and visit friends in the comments after the article. The 5 points add up, especially when I was missing in action for a lengthy time (twice)!
      So you will see me in some odd places for Feb 7th , but hey, the articles will circle back through OFTEN I assume, same as before.
  • Steven S. 3 months ago
    Posted Monday, February 7, 2022
  • Katja Z. 3 months ago
    Monday February 7th 2022.
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