The short and sweet answer is – yes, an umbrella can be recycled, but the pole, ribs, shaft, and handle have to be taken off separately. The canopy, on the other hand, can be reused to make a bunch of cool and useful items.
What can you make from an old umbrella canopy? How do you dispose of everything else? Let’s get crafty and learn how to repurpose and recycle an old umbrella!
What is Upcycling?
Upcycling is a fancy way to refer to reusing an item that’s typically thrown away. It’s a green solution that results in a piece of trash getting turned into something with a much higher quality or look.
When it comes to upcycling projects, umbrellas are the perfect choice. The canopy in particular can be turned into many beautiful items that will feel like something brand new! It’s just about being creative and doing a bit of work.
How to Reuse an Old Umbrella
If your umbrella has a bent rib or a broken handle, don’t just throw it in the garbage. You can reuse it to make any number of useful household items including:
- Flower vase or holder
- Light fixture
- Garden décor
- Tote bag or purse
- Holiday decoration
Flower Vase or Holder
Does your umbrella not open anymore? Fill it with fake or real flowers and use it as a quaint door or wall decoration.
A good umbrella should not only shade you from the light, but offer some as well. With a bit of wiring magic, you can turn yours into a nifty fixture.
If you need to decorate for a birthday or graduation, save that trip to the party store! You can make a banner or streamers from an old umbrella instead.
Umbrellas can be part of eye-catching displays in your garden, especially if they’re stuck open. Go ahead and make your nosy neighbors super jealous!
You don’t have to be a tailor to rock this style! Simply remove the canopy from the rest of the umbrella, add a belt to the waist area, and you’ve got yourself a fashionable skirt.
Tote Bag or Purse
You can make a tote bag for the beach using the canopy of an old umbrella. This will require some sewing, so if you don’t know how, make sure to have a good tailor on speed dial.
Are you looking for a craft to keep the kids busy? You can use an umbrella’s canopy and ribs to create a makeshift tree for the holidays.
How to Recycle an Old Umbrella
You can recycle an old umbrella that’s beyond repair by first taking it apart. The canopy, if its in good condition, can be reused to make something new, while the frame can usually be put right in the recycling bin and picked up at the end of your driveway.
The umbrella is made of many different parts that can each be recycled separately:
How to Recycle Your Umbrella’s Pole, Ribs, & Handle
Ways to Recycle
Types of plastic that can be recycled:
Turn an umbrella handle into a coat hook!
There are 500 wood-recycling centers across the country. Check Google to find one near you.
Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores
Spare pieces are used to build homes for those in need.
You can put scrap metal in your recycling bin if it’s made from:
Get a little side cash by donating metal to a scrap yard near you.
Fashion the ribs into a magazine rack!
Donated rubber is used for playgrounds, mulch, fitness centers, and more.
If you want to make sure you properly recycle, you can always check out these helpful resources:
It’s worth the effort to recycle each part of your umbrella. After all, one person’s trash is another’s treasure! Who knows how it may be used in the future?
Why is It Important to Go Green?
You should reuse or recycle everything and anything that you can. Our air, land, and water are all getting affected by overflowing landfills, and it’s up to us to do every little thing we can now to reduce that waste for future generations.
It’s not only umbrellas that can be repurposed and recycled. Reusable water bottles, tote bags, and many other everyday items can also be given the green treatment. All it takes is a little creativity and effort on your end to make it happen.
Go Green with Your Next Umbrella
When in doubt, you can always start off on an eco-friendly foot with your umbrella. There are many options on the market that are made from recycled materials and offer you a greener walk through the rain!
If you’re a business owner, you can also advertise with eco-friendly custom umbrellas. Print your logo on the canopy and bring them along to your next trade show or fundraiser. It’s a great way to protect both the environment and your customers from downpours!
The Bottom Line
A greener world may not stop the rainy days, but it sure beats a future overwhelmed by garbage. Every little thing we do now can make a difference, and it starts with recycling or repurposing that old umbrella.
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Hip Cycle. (2019). What is Upcycling, Anyway? Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://hipcycle.com/what-is-upcycling
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Wilson, J. (2010, December 10). Upcycled Umbrella Tree. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://makezine.com/2009/12/10/upcycled_umbrella_tree/
Green Eco Services. (2011, March 1). 35 Ways to Reuse and Recycle Umbrellas. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from http://www.greenecoservices.com/35-ways-to-reuse-and-recycle-umbrellas/
O’Connor, J. (2014, September 29). An Eiffel Tower of Broken Umbrellas. Retrieved March 26, 2019, from brellaboxnyc.com/eiffel-tower-broken-umbrellas/
Design Life-Cycle. (2019). Life Cycle of an Umbrella. Retrieved March 26, 2019, from http://www.designlife-cycle.com/umbrella-lifecycle-assessment
Sunnycomb. (2019). Global Umbrella Survey Results. Retrieved March 26, 2019, from https://sunnycomb.tumblr.com/post/90373669845/global-umbrella-survey-results
Personal Creations. (2019). What Can Be Recycled? A List of 200+ Items. Retrieved March 26, 2019, from https://www.personalcreations.com/blog/how-to-recycle-anything
Earth 911. (2016, June 23). The Basics of Recycling Scrap Metal for Money. Retrieved March 26, 2019, from https://earth911.com/eco-tech/basics-recycling-scrap-metal-money/
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