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Got any old gear lying around? You’re not the only one!

If you’re spring cleaning has stirred your desire to clear some space, getting rid of old fitness equipment can be just the thing you need. But if you’re not someone who likes to toss out the old, there are lots of ways to recycle and reuse old equipment that do not involve a trash can. :)

Did you know that Amazon and other online sites will often trade used fitness DVD’s in exchange for gift cards? If you have a huge collection like I do, chances are there are more than a few gathering dust. If you’re done with the old, save up for the new by trading them in or selling them on sites like Craigslist.

Women’s shelters are another great place for equipment and apparel gathering dust. For some women putting their lives back together, having the tools to make changes from the inside out can make a huge  difference. Old dumbbells, yoga mats, fitness clothing, shoes, DVD’s and even water bottles are all things that you may want to donate to your local shelters.

More ideas below! Add yours in if you have any!

How To Recycle Your Old Fitness Gear


  • Donate: You can toss them in a Goodwill bin, or send them to an organization that’ll put them to good use. Soles4Souls's tag line is “Saving the world — one pair at a time.” This organization takes your tired, but “gently worn,” sneakers and finds needy feet to fill them. They strongly suggest organizing shoe drives and mailing all the pairs to one of their three warehouse locations. Another organization, One World Running, has been serving runners around the world since 1986. Through collection programs, they are able to provide shoes for needy runners across the world. Check here for drop-off locations.
  • Recycle: Turn your old shoes into something new. Nike Reuse-A-Shoe takes all brands of sneakers that are beyond “gently worn” and turns them into a recycled product known as Nike Grind, which is used to make tracks, indoor basketball courts, fields, and playgrounds. Just drop off your retired sneakers at any Nike store, or check here for drop-off locations.
  • Reuse: Keep an old pair of sneakers around for days when you’re running or walking in the rain or on muddy trails. Some people even use old shoes as plant potters. Fill a disinfected shoe with soil and grow some basil or cilantro on your deck or windowsill.

Keep reading to find out what you can do with your old fitness clothes, equipment, and yoga mats.


  • Donate: When you buy newer gear, pass on your old gear to friends or siblings, or donate them to Goodwill, a homeless shelter, or other charity store.
  • Recycle: Patagonia accepts all its products back for recycling. Either mail them to Patagonia or drop them off at a retail store.
  • Reuse: Used fitness clothes make excellent old rags for cleaning. Cut them up and store them in a bag under the kitchen sink.


  • Donate: Send gently used sports gear such as balls, baseball bats, and bikes to Sports Gift and they’ll get it to impoverished children in over 50 countries. Or donate your fitness equipment to Fitness 4 Charity and they’ll make sure it goes to someone in need.
  • Recycle and reuse: If you have bulky equipment such as an old treadmill, check to see if your community has a recycling center that will be able to find use for the parts.

Yoga Mats

  • Donate: If you have a special place in your heart for four-legged friends, bring your used mat to the local Humane Society where they’ll use it to line crates for the animals. The Bolder Mat Company also accepts old mats for their renew and recycle program, and donates them to needy schools or community organizations.
  • Recycle: Mail your worn-out mat to Recycle Your Mat and they’ll recycle it for you. Bonus: you’ll receive a coupon for 20 percent off an eco-friendly Manduka mat.
  • Reuse: Wash your old mat thoroughly and place it under your treadmill to protect the floor from scratches, or fold it up and use it as a kneeling pad when gardening. Old mats can also be cut up and used under the litter box to prevent tracking kitty litter all over your house, cut into circles and used to open jars, or you can place a piece in your trunk to keep bags of groceries from sliding around.

Read more.

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