Your old garden furniture doesn’t have to end up in landfills, but can plastic garden furniture be recycled? The answer is yes! Old and worn chairs, sun loungers, garden tables, swing chairs and slides can all be recycled.
Across the UK, nearly all councils provide plastic recycling facilities. This involves collecting, sorting, washing, and reprocessing the plastic furniture.
In this article, we’ll discuss all the ways by which you can recycle your plastic garden furniture. But before we get into that, let’s see why recycling is important in the first place.
Why recycle your plastic garden furniture?
Plastic is highly recyclable, so much so that it can have a better carbon footprint than conventional metal or wooden garden furniture. Recycling plastic garden furniture is beneficial because:
- Recycling is eco-friendly. It helps lessen the amount of plastic filling up the tips or polluting the water streams.
- It helps conserve natural resources.
- Recycled plastic can also be a great source of raw material for other industries.
- It reduces the demand for new plastic production.
- Recycling also cuts climate-changing carbon emissions. It uses less energy than is needed to make new plastics.
- The recycling industry creates jobs for many people across the UK.
How can plastic garden furniture be recycled?
Ready to recycle your old plastic garden furniture? There are more ways than one to get started.
You can leave your worn-out furniture at your local recycling facility or waste management centre. But if direct recycling is not an option for you, don’t worry.
You can go green by DIYing and upcycling your furniture, donating it to someone in need, and selling it if is still in usable condition. Let’s explore these options closely.
Call your local council or recycling centres
In the UK, only 32% of plastic used each year is recycled. The rest goes straight to landfills. But the statistics don’t have to remain the same. If your plastic patio and garden furniture is cracked, broken and past saving, recycling is the best option.
Most plastic garden furniture is typically made of high-density polyethylene (plastic number 2 HDPE) or polypropylene (plastic number 5 PP). Check for the plastic number on the furniture before contacting your local recycling centre.
Depending on local policies, you may have to send or take the furniture to a recycling centre or wait for the items to be collected from your garden.
If you want to recycle a lot of items, you may want to pack them according to type and label them or follow the instructions provided by your local recycling centre.
Tip: Use the UK postcode council recycling search here to check whether your council collects your type of plastic and under what conditions.
You can also keep an eye out for local recycling programs run by non-governmental organisations.
Give your outdoor plastic furniture a DIY facelift
If recycling options are limited in your area, you can go the DIY way and give a new lease of life to your old outdoor furniture.
Spray colourful paint over your faded plastic chairs and tables. Throw some new cushions and slipcovers over them. Experiment with the placement and your furniture might end up looking way better than before.
You can make this into a fun and educational activity your kids can join in. Even small changes can make a world of difference.
Repurpose old pieces into something new
Turn unwanted junk into fresh pieces by repurposing and upcycling them. Doing so will be well worth your time and energy. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Turn grungy chairs into summer loungers by fixing new seats on them.
- Colour-coordinate mismatched furniture to make a complete set.
- Repurpose old plastic tables to showcase your floral arrangement.
- Convert an outdoor plastic drawer into a mini tool shed.
- Reassemble broken plastic furniture into a table or a bench.
You can get very creative and have a lot of fun in the process, especially if you’re into DIY projects. Remember that you can use plastic’s durability to your advantage and repurpose it to reuse it for many years to come.
Give it to someone in need
Are you bored of the same old plastic garden furniture and considering an upgrade? Don’t just throw away what you have.
Plastic furniture is made to last. You can donate your old pieces to someone in need. Or give them to local charity shops.
You can also use Freecycle to list your unwanted furniture so someone else can collect and reuse it. That way, plastic items will not end up in the landfill. Plus, another person will get to enjoy a garden set, or at least a chair.
Put a price tag on it
If your outdoor plastic furniture is still in good condition, why not sell it? Put it up in garage sales or sell it to a second-hand or thrift store.
You can also look online for potential customers. Create a listing on your local Facebook buy and sell groups. Or become an eBayer.
Selling your old furniture is a triple win-win—you make some money, the furniture will get a new garden, and Mother Nature will surely be happier.
Get rid of it right
Plastic garden furniture is convenient, budget-friendly, and can easily withstand the elements but it isn’t biodegradable. That is, it won’t break down for a long, long time.
The good news is that it’s extremely recyclable. To sum up, if you own old plastic chairs, tables, and benches that you no longer need, get rid of them right by contacting your local council or recycling facilities. Call them before sending them your plastic furniture to make sure they don’t have size or plastic-type restrictions.
There are also other options you can opt for, like revamping and repurposing. These options are both wallet and eco-friendly. Plus, there’s something exciting about breathing new life into old, seemingly useless items. Here are some more amazing upcycling ideas.
You can also donate and sell what you don’t use anymore. As they say, “One person’s junk is another’s treasure.”
At the end of the day, recycling your plastic garden furniture means keeping plastic out of landfill. That’s important for the future of the planet, so take the time to do it right.
If you’re considering buying some new plastic furniture for your garden, have a look at our ‘best plastic furniture for worry free relaxation’ article.