Find a Home for Your Old Balling Ball… Just not in the Recycling Bin

Bowling Ball Racked
Photo by Tunde Abati on Unsplash


One of the most exhilarating moments in sports is throwing a strike at the bowling alley. There’s something special about the stance, the approach, the throw, and yes, the ball. Most serious bowlers treat their balls like they’re treasures, keeping them in expensive bags and polishing them after every match.

But there’s one problem with bowling balls: they’re not recyclable.

Yes, bowlers replace their balls from time to time, and there is no reason to keep the old one. The problem is, what to do with the ball that has reached the end of the line. The one thing you shouldn’t do with it: toss it in the recycling bin.

The problem is, bowling balls are not recyclable. Well, actually, they can be ground into asphalt, but the cost of doing so is prohibitive.

So bowling balls end up in landfills, such as Sims Municipal Recycling in Sunset Park, Bronx. They take in, on average, four balls a day. That’s about 1,200 a year. Tom Outerbridge, general manager of the site, told New York magazine’s Curbed website that he used to have a collection of balls, but now they are piling up at such a rate that they have become an unmanageable mess.

“From a recycler’s perspective, bowling balls pose two problems,” writes Curbed reporter Eleanor Cummins. “The first is that they’re typically made of thermoset plastic, which means the bonds between its molecules are stronger than those in something like a single-use water bottle — making them difficult or impossible to be melted down and reshaped. The second is that they simply contain too many types of materials. Aluminum cans, for example, are made of (mostly) aluminum, while bowling balls are a composite of dozens of plastics, paints, and other chemicals.”

Ever heard of wish-cycling? According to Recycle Nation, tossing bowling balls into a recycling bin is just that: “the practice of recycling items that cannot be recycled. It stems from the best intentions. You wish or hope that something you’ve bought or use regularly can be recycled. Instead, your good intentions end up costing recycling companies more time and money. Worse, it can impact recycling at a later processing point.”

So what do you do with that bowling ball?

  • Save it for your kids, who’ll want to follow in your footsteps.
  • Give it to a friend.
  • Donate it to a thrift shop, bowling alley, VA Center, school bowling league, etc.
  • There are artists who make used bowling balls into works of art. Find one.
  • If you belong to a league, organize a bowling equipment drive, and then give what you collect to a worthy cause.
  • Sell it.

Call Scrap-It! Junk Removal & Recycling Services, to come get your ball and other sports equipment not being used anymore. We’ll find a way to recycle it – everything but the bowling ball, that is – so you don’t have to. Plus, by removing other useless stuff we’ll free up space in your closet, play room, basement, attic and garage. For more information call or text Scrap-It! Junk Removal & Recycling Services at 631-825-9898, for a free quote and to schedule an appointment.

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