Learn More About Umbrellas

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?

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.

What is Upcycling?

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
  • Banner
  • Garden décor
  • Skirt
  • Tote bag or purse
  • Holiday decoration
Flower Vase or Holder Image source: how-to-recycle.blogspot.com

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.

Light Fixture Image source: architectureartdesigns.com

Light Fixture

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.

Banners Image source: greenecoservices.com


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.

Garden Décor Image source: architectureartdesigns.com

Garden Décor

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!

Skirt Image source: how-to-recycle.blogspot.com


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 Image source: instructables.com

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.

Holiday Decoration Image source: makezine.com

Holiday Decoration

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.

Where Can You Donate an Old Umbrella?

Are you not creative enough to upcycle your old umbrella? You can always donate it to a homeless shelter or the Salvation Army. Recycling Zychal, a cool Etsy shop that turns old umbrellas into dog and cat raincoats, is also a great option!

Where Can You Donate an Old Umbrella? Image source: nectarpd.com

The best part is for every broken umbrella provided to Recycling Zychal, a $1 is donated to a rotating line of animal shelters around the country.

Taryn Zychal, the owner and creator, is also gearing up to create aprons, baby bibs, pet beds, and bicycle seat covers from the donated umbrellas. It just goes to show you don’t have to throw anything away when it no longer works!

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:

  • Pole/Shaft
  • Ribs
  • Handle

How to Recycle Your Umbrella’s Pole, Ribs, & Handle


Ways to Recycle

Curb Pickup


Turn an umbrella handle into a coat hook!

Repurpose Image source: dukesandduchesses.com

Recycling Centers

There are 500 wood-recycling centers across the country. Check Google to find one near you.


Curbside Pickup

You can put scrap metal in your recycling bin if it’s made from:

  • Steel
  • Aluminum

Make Money

iScrap App
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.

Donate Rubberecycle

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.

Infographic - Why is It Important to Go Green?
Infographic - Why is It Important to Go Green?

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

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!

Go Green with Your Next Umbrella

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.


Pocket Sense. (2019). How to Recycle Umbrellas. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://pocketsense.com/recycle-umbrellas-2107765.html

Hip Cycle. (2019). What is Upcycling, Anyway? Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://hipcycle.com/what-is-upcycling

Ju, S. (2010, March 26). What to Do With Broken Umbrellas. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://www.treehugger.com/portable-micro-wind-turbine-prototype-weighs-lbs-and-packs-down-size-umbrella-4855337

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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