So you just moved and you are thinking about motiving yourself to work out by upgrading your home gym in your bigger space, what will you do with the old equipment clogging up your home? Sure, you can be lazy and throw that exercise bike on the curb for garbage collection to deal with, or plaster on a “for free” sign and hope somebody takes it. But there are several better options to ensure that bike or other exercise machinery gets put to good use.
Craigslist is the classic option that lets you establish who can have or buy the equipment you’re parting ways with. Maybe you’re looking to give it away for free but want the exercise machine to get in the hands of an impoverished family, or perhaps you want to empower and motivate an overweight person to become healthier and make a few dollars at the same time. The nice thing about Craigslist is that your ad dictates your customers, and you can wait until the right option pops up.
Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, battered women’s shelters and the Salvation Army are great community resources for donations, but there are several more exercise-specific options that directly affect the quality of life for people in your community and around the world. The Global Sports Foundation is an excellent charity that donates exercise and sports gear to underfunded youth sports groups, and people with cancer and ALS. Fitness 4 Charity is a reputable one that puts used fitness equipment in the hands of at-risk and impoverished youth and adults. If you’re a fan of supporting military veterans, then donate your replaced equipment to the Adaptive Sports Access for Wounded Warriors, which helps habilitate and empower wounded soldiers through adaptive sports and sporting events. Project Fit America is one more fantastic charity option that facilitates exercise equipment and sports gear for underfunded K-12 schools throughout the United States.
Local universities or community colleges often have donation programs for equipment that’s usable and in good shape. If you live in a large city, it’s also possible that schools in the poorer districts are in need of free, quality fitness equipment. Plus, your donation to a school in a troubled area can actually help save lives. A report by the National League of Cities shows that at-risk youth who engage in after school activities, such as fitness training, are at a lower risk of joining gangs or winding up in legal trouble.
Now that people are beginning to understand the importance of not contributing to the country-sized landfills polluting the oceans, recycling centers have popped up in towns throughout the country. Many accept a lot of different recyclable materials, including exercise machines. Typically the process isn’t more consuming than hauling the reusable materials to the center. Sometimes you can even get a small sum of money or tax write-off for recycling your old goods. Recyclingcenters.org has a useful tool to find your local options. If all else fails and you happen to have gear that needs hauling away to a recycling program but don’t have the cargo space to get it there yourself, then consider hiring a company to remove the exercise equipment to a recycling center for you.
A slightly less reliable option is to look at your local electronics box-store, like Best Buy, which has a nationwide recycling program. The only catch is sometimes you’re charged for the recycling and they don’t uniformly accept the same items.
This option depends entirely on where you live; larger cities are more prone to having scrap metal foundries. As Mother Jones reports, smelters seek the bits of valuable metals, such as gold, copper, iron, silver, zinc, nickel, platinum, and tin that are in the machinery and onboard computers.
This is often one of the first options people innately think of. Posting an offer to Facebook friends, on a local subreddit and to local Twitter followers about the equipment can sometimes be the fastest to get rid of it. And you’ll know the person the gear is going to. Plus, it gives you an excuse to catch up with friends.
So you tried Craigslist but it didn’t pan out for you. The local swap meet or flea market might be your next best option, especially if you have other items you’re trying to sell. Sure, you’ll need to pay for a patch of land to display your wares, and you’ll get to learn the art of haggling, but those experiences give you the opportunity to sell off a bunch of items that are otherwise taking up space and earning a contender spot in the dust-collection championships. Plus if you’re a fan of people watching, swap meets always have the most peculiar people and strange items.
The Internet has created possibilities for people to swap their possessions in entirely new ways. Many websites have local bartering chapters so you can browse around and try to get rid of the exercise machinery and replace it for something you want; or might at least use more often. Check out resources like used.recycle.net, which works as an online swap meet of sorts. Money Crashers has a list of 36 options to cover your bartering bases.