How to Recycle Inflatable Pool Toys

With summer slowly winding down, everyone is starting to think about what to do with the load of pool toys that they have accumulated over the summer. The first instinct will usually be to simply chuck it into the trash or the recycle bin (we’ll explain why chucking them into the recycle bin isn’t a good idea later), but before doing that, here are some ideas on how to recycle inflatable pool toys to extend their usefulness or transform them into something else entirely!

Why the recycle bin doesn’t work

What makes inflatable pool toys so durable is what also makes them not ideal candidates for recycling. They’re made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which has a recycling category of 3. What this means is that since PVC is pretty durable with expected usage lifespans of over 15 years, not many recycling centers are outfitted to recycle PVC and many curbside recycling programs will actually not accept inflatable pool toys. You’ll need to check with your local council first to see if the local recycling center can actually process PVC.

Bringing life back to punctured inflatable pool toys

One of the main reasons why inflatable pool toys end up in the landfill or in the recycle bin (if they’re accepted) is that they’ve sprung a leak. While it may look intimidating and impossible to do, patching up punctured inflatable pool toys is actually quite an easy thing to do!

  • First, you’ll need to find the exact location of the leak, inflate the pool toy, dip it in the pool and mark off the area of the leak with a sharpie or a permanent marker.
  • Remember how people say that duct tape can fix everything? Well, in this case, it’s actually true! Cut a piece of duct tape large enough to cover the leaky area and thoroughly dry and clean the surface before sticking the tape on the hole.
  • Once that’s done, take another piece of duct tape, enough to cover the first piece then add some super glue to the bottom, this is just to reinforce the first layer and prevent water from breaking the seal of the first patch.
  • If you don’t have duct tape, pieces of older and non-patchable inflatable pool toys can be used as well, just slather some waterproof super glue on the patch and you’re good to go!
  • Of course, there are patching kits sold online that are made with clear pvc but this will just add to more waste, and we think that a patched up inflatable pool toy with other bits or with duct tape adds a little bit of character!

 

If your inflatable pool toy is beyond patching, don’t throw it away yet! You can cut them down to sheets or strips by cutting them at the seams. These strips can be used in the future for patching up inflatable pools or other toys or even used as "fabric" to create bags, wallets, and other cool stuff!

Recycling old inflatable pools

Now, if for some reason you have an old inflatable pool that’s lying around gathering dust simply because the kids have already outgrown it and have graduated to the main pool, don’t chuck it out yet! You can actually use it to build a sand pit/sand box! Use the liner as the flooring for your sand pit instead of purchasing a landscaping mesh, just make sure to poke some holes in it to allow water to drain out. We have a guide on how to build your own sand pit which you can check out here.

Alternatively, you can use that old inflatable pool as a ball pit, simply fill it with plastic balls or cut up pool noodles and you have very own ballpit, complete with padded sides!

And finally, an interesting thing you can do with old (small) inflatable pools is to turn them into coolers for your party! Fill it up with ice and bottled /boxed drinks and you have your very own giant beverage pool cooler!

Recycling undamaged inflatable pool toys

Now if your inflatable pool toys or inflatable pools are still in good condition but they’ve been simply been outgrown or replaced with a newer model, then here are some ideas that you can try first before consigning them to the landfill or recycling center.

  • Sell them online - Believe it or not, there will be people who will purchase used inflatable pool toys as long as they’re in good condition, there will be people who will be looking for good deals on inflatable pool toys and people who have accepted the fact that they too will be outgrowing inflatable pool toys and are just looking for something to use for a season or two. Or, better yet…
  • Give them away - One (wo)man’s trash is another one’s treasure! Post in your local community forums and give them away. This is much better than just throwing them away! As long as they’re in good condition then no one will take offense, hey, it’s free right? A good place to give away your old inflatable pool toys is on Freecycle
  • Upcycle them - There are many boards on Pinterest that deal with upcycling stuff, so if you’re into arts and crafts then you should definitely consider upcycling your old inflatable pool toys into bags and other interesting items.

Note: The photo above is from https://www.recyclart.org/ if you want ideas on how to recycle old inflatable toys and pools then check them out!

New Pool Toys

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Of course, there’s always the urge to pick up new pool toys every season, and that’s really fine. I mean, who doesn’t want shiny new pool toys every season right? Just make sure to get top quality pool toys so that they last you for more than a season and someone else can make use of them afterwards! For the latest selection of pool toys, check out Mr Pool Man’s online shop collection of pool toys, they’re updated every season with some of the best pool toys available in Australia!

Conclusion

Every year, thousands, if not millions of tonnes of PVC and plastic ends up in landfills around the world. These will stay there until the end of time or break down and leech into the surrounding water and ground. We must do our part to at least minimize waste and the best way to go about this is to recycle our old inflatable pool toys and getting pool toys that last more than a couple of uses. The “buy cheap and throw away” mentality has already damaged our planet enough! Remember, just because you've placed something in the recycle bin, it doesn't mean that it gets recycled! 90% of the things placed in recycle bins get sent to the landfill simply because the local recycling center doesn't have to capability to recycle the type of trash!  

Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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Post author:

Tom Hintze

Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
Co-Founder at Water TechniX

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