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Because You Asked

What Can I Do with Old Trophies and Medals?

By Recyclebank |

The glory may live on in your heart, but it can take up a lot of shelf space. Thankfully, recycling or donating your old awards is easier than it seems.


Dear Recyclebank: Where can I recycle old sports trophies and medals? They are customized but I don’t think that they should be thrown away and taken to a landfill. –Z.

Dear Z.: Old trophies and medals are often made from recyclable materials, but they also hold value in their current form, and many can be reused. A number of companies have programs dedicated specifically to the art of refurbishing trophies. The best-known of these include Total Awards & Promotions in Madison, WI, and Lamb Awards & Engraving in Westminster, MD. These programs break unwanted awards down for parts, rebuilding new trophies and plaques with whichever parts are usable and recycling the rest. The rebuilt items are then donated to non-profit organizations or resold. Both programs will allow you to ship trophies that are in sufficiently good condition for nominal processing and shipping fees (please note their restrictions).

While medals are accepted by these programs, there are also options dedicated specifically to giving medals new life. Sports Medal Recycling, a Massachusetts-based organization, contributes the proceeds from recycling donated medals to fundraising for charity runs. The medals are removed from their ribbons and sorted for scrap recycling, while the ribbons are sent to cloth/textile recycling. Sports Medal Recycling even makes sure that all the packing materials you use to send them the goods are recycled as well, from bubble wrap to cardboard boxes. Medals4Mettle accepts old marathon, half-marathon, or triathlon medals to bestow upon kids and adults fighting serious illnesses, in recognition of their bravery.

Can’t afford to ship your awards or looking to skip the carbon footprint of shipping? Check with your local awards shop to see if they have a refurbishing program of their own. If you have a good sense of what materials your trophy contains, you can speak with your local recycling program directly to see if they will be able to process it and how they’d like you to break it down.

Mother Nature Network



Have you found any clever uses for your past-their-prime awards? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Susan M. 1 year ago
    Umm, sell them or donate them to a local little league? Old trophies and plaques make great display pieces epecially for those heavily involved in a specific sports IE horses, cars, bowling. The older the trophy the higher monetary value it has.
  • Ty G. 2 years ago
    If you only have a few trophies to recycle, you can bring them to a local thrift store (Goodwill takes trophies) or surplus store (some surplus stores actually pay you for old trophies).

    I used a chisel to pry off all the plates from my trophies (the part that says "4th place, (Event)" or whatever), then cleaned the residue with goo-gone. This way somebody will only need to buy a new plate to put on a perfectly good trophy.

    Lamb Awards charges a flat $35 fee (plus shipping) to recycle trophies, whether you have 1 or 100, even if they are already disassembled and clean.
  • Charisse Y. 2 years ago
    where can i recycle trophies in South Florida area ?
  • JoAnn M. 4 years ago
    Where can I recycle trophies in Philadelphia area
  • Marie A. 4 years ago
    Where can I recycle trophies in or around Elizabeth, NJ?
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