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How To: Recycle Your Outdoor Gear

Save time and help your community by donating old outdoor gear to these secondhand shops.

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Colorado’s used gear market is irrefutably saturated. Check Craigslist or Ebay for a secondhand bike or pair of skis, and you’ll likely have your pick of options. Still, selling outdoor gear is a whole other ballgame: Who knows how long it may take to close a deal.

Americans spend about $120.7 billion on outdoors recreation product sales—apparel, footwear, equipment, vehicles, accessories, and services—annually, according to the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Economy report, the most recent economic study of outdoors recreation in the U.S., conducted by the Outdoor Industry Association. Chances are, you have some unused gear gathering dust in the closet or garage. Why not donate, recycle, or consign it, giving someone new the opportunity to enjoy it (and freeing up space for a coveted upgrade)?

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Here are a handful of options on what to do with your gently loved gear across the state:

Lucky Bikes Re-Cyclery

Donation requirements: Gently used bicycles of all types and any bike parts.

Future use: To date, refurbished bikes from Lucky Bikes Re-Cyclery have reached more than 7,000 at-risk youth in the Denver metro area. Even more, the shop—which is a program of Trips for Kids Denver/Boulder—hosts two youth-centric programs. The Earn a Bike Program teaches children, ages 10 and up, basic bike maintenance skills, while giving them the opportunity to earn their own bike. The shop’s Youth in Service program trains young people for positions within the shop, such as mechanics, sales, and management. Fixed-up bicycles that don’t fit for the kids’ programs are sold in the shop and the proceeds help keep the youth programs running.

Drop-off locations: 3150 W. Jewel Ave., Denver; Treads Bicycle Outfitters, various locations

Bike Depot

Donation requirements: All bikes and bike parts, plus books, bike lights, and used cycling apparel such as jerseys.

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Future use: The Bike Depot is touted as Denver’s original nonprofit bike shop. The majority of refurbished bicycles and bike parts are used for the organization’s adult and kids bike programs. The Earn A Bike program requires 12 hours of volunteer work at the Depot or one of its partner organizations, plus a bike safety class, to receive the used bike, a new helmet, light, and U-lock. Bike enthusiasts of all experience levels are also welcome to utilize the bike shop and its tools to work on their wheels during the fix-your-bike hours (Tue, Wed, 4 to 6 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m. to 4 p.m). Nicer fix-ups are sold in the shop. Nothing goes to waste: Irreparable pieces such as scrap metal are recycled and the proceeds generate revenue for the nonprofit.

Drop-off locations: 2825 Fairfax St.; Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop, 3800 Irving St.; Pizza Pedal’r, 2907 Huron St.

Recycled Cycles

Donation requirements: Any bike, with or without wheels. Please note: A serial number is required, because the store is a licensed pawnshop.

Future use: At Recycled Cycles, the bikes are tuned up and any missing parts are added, then sold. For the holidays, bikes are donated to Goodwill and The Salvation Army.

Drop-off locations: 4031 S. Mason St., Fort Collins

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Colorado Ski Chairs

Donation requirements: Folks can drop off skis, snowboards, golf clubs, hockey clubs, wakeboards, water skis, and surfboards—basically any gear that can be made into furniture. A purchase is not required for donation and vice versa. For sentimental value, you can drop off your equipment and request a specific creation.

Future Use: Retired skis and snowboards are handcrafted into custom furniture with a painted Colorado insignia. Furnishings range from the bestseller Adirondack ski chairs to snowboard benches, cornhole boards, wine racks, mailboxes, doghouses, birdhouses, and wall mantles.

Drop-off locations: 419 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs

Snow Sports Recycling Program

Donation requirements: Any and all snow sports equipment from skis and snowboards to poles, helmets, and boots.

Future Use: Discarded snowboards and skis are consolidated and delivered to regional processing sites where the materials—plastic, wood, fiberglass, and metal—are reclaimed and repurposed for uses inside and outside of the snow sports industry. To date, 700,000 pounds of gear have been recycled.

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Drop-off locations: Close to 30 drop-off locations are scattered across the state. Browse the nearest drop-off locations at snowsrp.org.

Recycle Sports

Donation requirements: This shop accepts outdoor hard goods—from skis and snowboards to kayaks, canoes, and camping equipment—and soft goods such as clothing. The store sells seasonally. For instance, you can drop off winter items starting in September.

Future Use: Proceeds from sold donations go to the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center to support adaptive snow sports programs. Or, sell your equipment and gear on consignment for a fifty-fifty split.

Drop-off locations: 695 Summit Blvd., Frisco

Mountain Equipment Recyclers

Donation requirements: Any gear and apparel related to the mountain environment, such as skis, snowboards, bikes, apparel, and rock climbing equipment. The shop especially looks for high-end brands such as Black Diamond and Arc’teryx.

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Future Use: Sell your used gear on consignment and take home 50 to 70 percent of the sales profit. You can also opt for a same-day trade, or sell the item on the spot at 25 percent of the store’s chosen price. Want to donate? The shop hands over gifted items to partnering nonprofits including Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Trails and Open Space Coalition, and Kids on Bikes.

Drop-off locations: 1024 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs

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