What to Do with Old Motorcycle Helmet: Practical Guide on Repurposing and Reusing

Last updated on April 8, 2024

In this guide, you’ll learn practical steps on how to reuse or repurpose your old motorcycle helmet, unlocking its potential beyond just headgear protection.

Key takeaways:

  • Recycle your old motorcycle helmet properly
  • Trade it in for a discount on a new one
  • Donate it to emergency services for training purposes
  • Avoid throwing it in the trash or passing it on to others
  • Clean and maintain your helmet regularly with specialized products
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Recycle It

Recycling a motorcycle helmet can be a multifaceted process due to the combination of materials used in its construction. Since they are composed of plastics, foam, and sometimes metal, dismantling is the first crucial step. You’ll need to remove the foam lining and any other non-plastic elements, as local recycling programs typically accept only certain types of plastics.

Reach out to your municipal recycling center to confirm which materials are accepted. Often, the hard outer shell, usually made of a plastic like polycarbonate, may be recyclable. Remember that some specialized recycling programs cater to sports equipment, providing an appropriate avenue for ensuring your helmet’s materials are repurposed correctly.

Additionally, consider exploring manufacturer take-back programs. Some companies accept old helmets to reclaim and recycle the materials responsibly, aligning with their sustainability goals.

If direct recycling options are not available, you could also repurpose parts of the helmet for other uses, such as using the outer shell as a planter for your garden, ensuring that you’re keeping sustainability in mind even when conventional recycling isn’t an option.

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Trade It In

Certain retailers offer trade-in programs where you can bring in your old helmet and receive a discount on a new purchase. This not only ensures you’re getting the latest safety features and designs but also keeps your outdated gear out of the landfill.

Before heading to the store, ensure your helmet is clean and in acceptable condition, as most trade-in programs have specific guidelines. Additionally, research beforehand and check with local shops for trade-in opportunities, as not all retailers participate in such programs.

This eco-friendly choice can be both budget-friendly and responsible, providing a seamless transition to your new protective gear.

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Emergency service departments often use motorcycle helmets for training purposes. These organizations, including fire departments and EMS providers, can simulate real-life accidents with authentic gear, improving the quality of their rescue operations.

Before donating, ensure the helmet is free from severe damage as it might otherwise be unsuitable for training use. Drop-offs can usually be done at your local fire station or emergency service center. It’s not only a great way to repurpose your helmet but also to give back to those who protect and serve the community.

Always call ahead to verify that they are accepting donations and to learn about their specific requirements or preferred drop-off times.

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What NOT to Do With Your Old Motorcycle Helmets

Despite the temptation, there are several actions to avoid when parting with an old helmet:

1. Trash Disposal: Helmets are typically not biodegradable. Throwing them away contributes to landfill issues and doesn’t harness the materials’ potential for recycling.

2. Yard Sales and Hand-Me-Downs: Even if it looks fine on the outside, the protective materials can degrade over time. Passing on an old helmet might inadvertently compromise someone else’s safety.

3. Irresponsible Decoration: Using old helmets as planters or decorative items might seem creative, but it risks glorifying outdated safety gear. Instead, seek recycling options to ensure materials are handled responsibly.

4. Repurposing for High-Risk Activities: Refrain from repurposing helmets for activities like skateboarding or construction, as they are not designed for impacts associated with such tasks and may not provide proper protection.

Remember that safety is paramount, and the choices you make with an old helmet can have broader implications.

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Revive Your Helmet: Top Helmet Cleaning Products for Ultimate Care

Maintaining your helmet’s integrity and appearance requires regular cleaning with the right products:

Specialized Helmet Cleaners: These are formulated to be safe on helmet materials and can help break down road grime and sweat without damaging the helmet’s interior or exterior.

Microfiber Cloths: Using microfiber ensures that you won’t scratch the helmet’s visor or finish as you wipe it down.

Mild Soap Solution: For a budget-friendly option, dilute baby shampoo or a gentle dishwashing liquid in water. They’re effective and gentle on helmet materials.

Helmet Deodorizer: To tackle the smell, consider a deodorizing spray specifically designed for helmets that neutralize odors instead of merely masking them.

Visor Cleaner: A clear vision is vital for safety; thus, a dedicated visor cleaner can help remove bugs and dirt without streaks or damage.

Employ these products according to the manufacturer’s instructions to extend the life and maintain the safety of your helmet. Regular cleaning not only preserves the helmet but also ensures a more pleasant riding experience.

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What should I do with an old motorcycle helmet?

With an old motorcycle helmet, you can opt to donate it to first-aid and rider training services, recycle it, repurpose it for home uses, or lend it to a friend in need if it’s still functional and within its expiration date.

What can I do with an old bike helmet?

An old bike helmet that isn’t expired or damaged can be repurposed by selling it at a second-hand sports store, giving it to a family member, or donating it to a local charity.

What do you do with expired helmets?

Expired helmets can be recycled or donated to entities such as driving schools, first responders, and nonprofit organizations, given it preserves safety standards.

How do you recycle old helmets?

Old helmets, predominantly made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polycarbonate, can be recycled in facilities that accept these types of plastics.

Is there any way to convert a decommissioned helmet into home decor?

Yes, a decommissioned helmet can be converted into home decor by repurposing it as a flower pot, hanging lamp, or even a unique centerpiece.

Are there specific facilities or programs that specialize in helmet recycling?

Indeed, certain organizations like Rerun, HelmetCheck.org, and the EPS Industry Alliance have specialized initiatives for helmet recycling.

How can I identify if my motorcycle helmet is past its expiration date and needs replacing?

Inspect your motorcycle helmet for signs of wear and damage such as scratches or dents, particularly if it is over five years old, and also check the interior padding and the condition of the straps as these can be indicators that it’s time for a replacement.

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