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Trampolines always seem like a great purchase when you get them and set them up, but how many of us have seen our kids swiftly grow tired of hopping in one place before retreating back to their phones or video games? Then the weather gets to them – they aren’t all that fun in the winter, after all – and the endless cycles of sun, rain, snow, and heat deteriorate the materials.
It’s not long before a previously pristine trampoline shows signs of wear, whether it’s fraying fabric, torn loops and loose springs, frayed and broken netting, or corroded poles. It goes from a fun toy to an eyesore to an actively dangerous structure you don’t even want to let your kids use.
The only question is, how can you get rid of it? Unfortunately, in Chicago, you can’t just break it down and drop it at the side of the road for the city to clean up. You need to dispose of it the right way, so what is the right way? There are a few options available to you.
Before we get into ways to completely dispose of an old trampoline, you might be interested in ways to repurpose it. After all, a trampoline is just a large metal frame, a bunch of springs, some canvas, some netting, and a few accessories, right?
Well, you can disassemble that trampoline and make new items out of its parts, such as:
- Hanging the canvas and round frame from some solid supports can make a swinging bed for children and adults alike.
- Using the netting and canvas, along with some rope, you can craft a hammock.
- Parts of the frame can be repurposed as supports for all manner of construction projects and gardening scaffolds.
- The springs can be reused in a ton of different ways.
Earth 911 (who also offers a directory of recycling centers for things like trampolines) has a whole post on repurposing trampolines if you’re interested in inspiration!
Sell the Trampoline
If your trampoline is still in relatively good condition, you can always consider selling it. Maybe you’re moving and won’t have space for such a large piece of entertainment. Maybe it turns out everyone liked the idea of a trampoline a lot more than they liked actually jumping on it. Maybe someone got injured, and you’ve decided it’s more of a hazard than it is a toy. Whatever the reason, it’s still in pretty good condition (maybe a little dirty, is all), and you can still get use out of it.
Selling a trampoline in the Chicago area generally means advertising it for sale in local buy and sell groups.
You can check sites like:
- Facebook Groups for your neighborhood.
- Local Subreddits.
You may also be able to talk with friends and neighbors to ask if they know anyone who might be interested in a used trampoline.
The tricky part here is just finding the demand. There are usually a lot of trampolines available for sale in all manner of conditions, and there aren’t that many people in the market for them. You’re probably looking at selling for somewhere between $30 and $150, depending on the quality of the trampoline and how well it has held up since you bought it. If you’re not even worried about the money, you may even be able to get away with giving it away for free.
Of course, this isn’t a very fast, reliable, or effective option, and it relies on someone having enough interest to pay for your trampoline. So, if your old trampoline is in poor condition or if you have a deadline to get rid of it, you’ll want to keep reading.
Check with Donation Centers and Thrift Stores
Another option you might be able to pursue is donating your old trampoline to a good cause.
The usual outlet for donating household items you no longer want is something like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, both of which have several locations throughout the Chicagoland area.
Unfortunately, neither one is likely to accept a trampoline. They don’t expressly say they don’t accept them on their websites, and you can occasionally find a trampoline for sale through their outlets, but it’s typically a new-in-box set. A used trampoline, particularly one that you can’t break down completely, is unlikely to be accepted. It’s simply too large and unwieldy to handle.
That said, you can certainly call your local donation centers and ask! If they accept it, then your issue becomes transporting it, which will require disassembling it. Obviously, there’s no safe way to drive a 16-foot trampoline across the city without taking it apart.
There are also a variety of independent thrift stores and resale shops throughout the Chicago area. You can call around and see if any of them will accept a trampoline for donation. We make no promises, though, so you’re on your own there.
Break Down the Trampoline for Recycling
Trampolines are generally bought in a box and assembled on-site, which means they can be disassembled too. Of course, if your trampoline has been exposed to the elements for years, those little bolts and fasteners might be more than a little stuck. You don’t have to go out and get a hacksaw, but if you can disassemble the trampoline, it makes it a lot easier to dispose of.
If you can break down your trampoline, you can recycle a good portion of it. The frame and the springs are (typically) made out of galvanized steel, and steel, being a metal, can be recycled.
Chicago’s guidelines don’t say anything about handling steel, galvanized steel, trampolines, or anything of the sort through the blue cart recycling system. So, you’ll need to find a way to recycle the parts of it you can recycle.
A trampoline is usually made out of a few components. You have the frame, which is steel. The springs are also steel and can be recycled along with the frame. The mat itself is just a canvas, which is harder to recycle but can be folded up and thrown away quite easily. More advanced trampolines also may have netting (that can be discarded similarly to the canvas) and pads (same deal.)
The key is to break down the trampoline into parts that can be recycled and then take them to the nearest recycling center that will accept them. Since we’re talking about metal parts, you’re in luck; there are quite a few metal recyclers in the Chicago area.
- Windy City Iron & Metal
- Central Metal Recycling
- Greenway Metal Recycling
- All American Recycling
- Cozzi Recycling
Again, we’re not partners with any of these organizations, so you’ll have to do your own digging to decide where to take your metal. From there, simply cut apart or disassemble and discard the remaining elements in your usual trash pickup. Just make sure you’re careful with the safety netting; you don’t want that stuff to end up trapping wildlife!
One possible benefit of this option is that, despite it being recycling, you may be able to get some money out of it. Many scrap metal recyclers will actually buy your scrap metal based on the weight of the load. It’s not going to be a ton of cash, but it’s better than simply throwing it away or paying to have it removed.
One note for this section: if you’re going to recycle the metal, whether you’re selling it or not, it’s worth calling your recycling center of choice to ask how they prefer to have it all broken down. Chances are anything small enough and with the cloth removed is fine, though.
Break Down and Discard the Trampoline
If your trampoline is worn down enough that it’s not really salvageable, and you don’t want to go through the hassle of recycling the metal, you can also break down and discard the trampoline itself. Most of the local waste management companies will accept everything that goes into a trampoline, just maybe not all at once if it’s too big for a single normal pickup. You may also be able to call your waste management company and ask them for a special pickup.
For example, WM classifies scrap metal as a “bulky” item and requires a special pickup. Now, putting a few pieces in each pickup for a while until it’s gone isn’t going to get you punished, but trying to cram everything in the bin all at once might.
The actual process of breaking down a trampoline isn’t too difficult, depending on how deteriorated it is. You’ll want a spring puller to safely remove the springs (they can be dangerous if you let them snap around!) and a wrench to remove the bolts holding the frame together. If you happen to still have the assembly instructions in the first place, following them in reverse order can be helpful.
The tricky part of doing this is having to break down the trampoline such that it’s small enough for standard garbage collection to take it. Anything that sticks out of the bins, makes them overweight, or requires additional space can get you a visit from Chicago’s authorities, and they’re none too keen on violations.
We know that many of you don’t have the tools, time, or ability to break down a trampoline, especially if it has been corroded together from the elements. That’s why we offer our services.
Call a Junk Removal Service
At Junk Relief, we’re experienced in removing pretty much anything from a property, inside or out. There are a few things we can’t take, like boats or yard waste, but for outdoor junk like trampolines, swing sets, and playground constructions? We’re ready and able.
How does it work? For you, it’s simple. All you need to do is contact us via the website chat, a text message, a phone call, or any other means you want to reach out to us. Then, describe what you need to be carried away. For a trampoline, it helps to know the size and condition, so we know if this is a case of disassembly or if we’ll need to bring the grinders and gently persuade it to come apart.
Why is this important? Well, when we haul away junk, we don’t just dump it in a landfill. We bring your junk to our sorting center, where we process it. Anything that is in good enough condition to reuse (typically furniture, but other items like trampolines may count, too) can be refurbished, cleaned up, and passed on to charity or a local organization that will put it to good use. If it’s not salvageable, we’ll break it down and recycle as much of it as it’s possible to recycle. The metal is obvious, but we may also be able to recycle the canvas material and netting too.
Our entire process focuses on minimizing the amount of junk that makes it to landfills and returning as much as we can to use, either as-is in the community or in a new form via recycling. A trampoline? That’s easy stuff.
Back to the process. Once you describe what you want us to haul away (and we’ll haul away pretty much anything you have, so if you want a garage cleaned out, a pile of junk in the yard removed, or anything more than just the trampoline, let us know too), we’ll give you a quote. There are no hidden fees, no last-minute changes, no secret mileage fees, or anything else. One quote upfront, so you know what you’re getting into.
If our quote is agreeable, all that’s left is to schedule the pickup. We typically offer same-day pickup or can schedule for any time you’re available. We’ll work with you to make sure you’re satisfied with the removal and that the old trampoline is dealt with.
So, if you have an old trampoline, no matter the condition, and you want it gone? Be sure to give us a call, and it’ll be out of your hair before you know it.