What to Do with Old Bowling Balls: Easy and Creative Ideas for Recycling

Last updated on April 8, 2024

This ‘how-to’ guide presents practical and ecological ways to utilize your old bowling balls, transforming them into innovative household or garden items.

Key takeaways:

  • Repurpose as Garden Art
  • Donate to Art Classes or Schools
  • Offer to Local Bowling Alleys for Practice
  • Use as Weights for Fitness Regimen
  • Recycling Options for Bowling Balls
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Repurpose As Garden Art

Transforming these spherical objects into whimsical yard decorations adds a splash of color and creativity to any outdoor space. Nestle them among flowerbeds to mimic giant, vibrant marbles, or stack them to create a one-of-a-kind totem pole that serves as a conversation starter.

Drilling holes in the surface to accommodate succulents turns them into eye-catching living sculptures, contributing to a sustainable habitat for local fauna. With a coat of weatherproof paint or mosaic tiles, they make for durable, personalized gazing balls that reflect the beauty of your garden. Their weight ensures they remain grounded, even in inclement weather, offering a practical and artistic solution for repurposing old bowling balls.

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Art classes and schools often seek unique materials for projects, and bowling balls can serve as excellent canvases for mosaic or painting exercises. In this context, your old sports equipment supports educational programs and stimulates creativity.

Here’s how to proceed:

  • 1. Contact local schools and art programs to gauge interest.
  • 2. Ensure the bowling balls are clean and in a condition suitable for art projects.
  • 3. Arrange a time for donation drop-off or pick-up that suits both parties.
  • 4. Consider including bowling pins if available, as they can also be used in art projects.

By donating to educational establishments, not only do you rid yourself of clutter, but you also contribute to the enrichment of arts education and give your old bowling ball a second life as a piece of art.

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Offer to Local Bowling Alleys for Practice

Bowling alleys often welcome the donation of old bowling balls, especially for new bowlers to practice. This option gives your retired equipment a second life, helping those just starting out or individuals who may not have their own balls.

Here’s how you might go about this:

  • Check Alley Requirements: Some alleys have specific needs or preferences for practice balls. Contact them to ensure your donation matches what they’re looking for.
  • Consider Youth Programs: Alleys often host youth programs that can benefit from additional equipment. Donating to these programs supports community and youth engagement in sports.
  • Look for Special Events: Alleys might hold special events or fundraisers where extra balls are needed for games and activities besides traditional bowling.
  • Ask About League Use: Casual leagues might appreciate having extra balls on hand for new players who don’t have their own.

In doing so, not only are you helping local businesses and community members, but you’re also ensuring that your old bowling ball continues to bring joy to the lanes long after you’ve retired it from your personal collection.

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Use As Weights for Fitness Regimen

Transforming an old bowling ball into a piece of workout equipment can be both creative and practical. These hefty spheres are ideal for strength training and can serve as a substitute for kettlebells or medicine balls in a pinch:

1. Grip Strength: The finger holes on a bowling ball make it excellent for improving hand and grip strength. Exercises like farmer’s walks or static holds with the ball can be especially effective.

2. Core Workouts: Use a bowling ball for weighted abdominal exercises such as Russian twists or standing oblique throws against a sturdy wall. Its shape and weight distribution present a unique challenge compared to regular gym equipment.

3. Bodyweight Exercises: Incorporate the ball into push-ups for an unstable platform that enhances core engagement and balance. It can elevate your bodyweight routine by forcing your stabilizing muscles to work harder.

Always ensure safety first when exercising with a bowling ball, as its hard surface and irregular weight distribution create different dynamics than traditional workout gear. And remember to start with lighter exercises to get used to the weight and feel of the ball.

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Recycling Options for Bowling Balls

While it may seem that recycling centers would eagerly accept bowling balls due to their plastic components, the reality is quite different. The unique composite of materials in a bowling ball – typically a mix of plastic, rubber, and sometimes even ceramic – makes them difficult to process in standard recycling facilities. These materials cannot be easily separated, rendering traditional recycling methods ineffective.

However, innovative recycling programs, though not widespread, do exist. For instance, some companies specialize in recycling composite materials and may accept bowling balls if you’re able to ship them. Another option is locating a specialized recycling event, often held by environmentally-conscious organizations, where difficult-to-recycle items are collected.

If direct recycling options are off the table, consider recycling centers that accept bowling balls for repurposing rather than raw material recovery. Some may grind them down for use in construction projects, such as aggregate in concrete or as a base for synthetic turf fields. Always call ahead to confirm whether bowling balls are accepted, as policies vary widely from one facility to another.

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Do people buy old bowling balls?

Indeed, there is a surprisingly robust market for used bowling balls, especially amongst beginners or budget-conscious bowlers, as long as the balls are in good condition and priced competitively.

How do you dispose of a cracked bowling ball?

To dispose of a fully cracked bowling ball, repurpose it as a yard ornament or simply discard it, however, minor cracks localized on the bridge or thumb slug can be repaired at a professional bowling pro shop.

What is a dead bowling ball?

A dead bowling ball refers to a high-performance bowling ball that has lost its initial reactivity and performance on the lanes due to prolonged use.

How many years should a bowling ball last?

A quality bowling ball should last somewhere between 5 to 10 years with proper maintenance, but its lifespan can be influenced by factors such as usage frequency and environmental conditions.

Can old bowling balls be repurposed for creative projects?

Yes, old bowling balls can indeed be repurposed for creative projects such as garden decorations, paperweights, mosaic pieces, and other unique home decors.

Are there specific recycling programs for old bowling balls?

Yes, certain recycling programs and companies specialize in recycling old bowling balls.

What impact does improper disposal of bowling balls have on our environment?

Improper disposal of bowling balls adversely impacts the environment by contributing to landfill space and potentially leaking harmful chemicals over time.

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