September 13, 2021

What to Do with Old Backpacks? Sustainable Guide to 8 Ideas

by Kevin

Although backpacks are convenient, you will most likely see many of them hanging on the walls of various people’s homes. 

But what to do with old backpacks?

This is most likely because these packs are old and no longer serve a purpose.

Many people have no idea what to do with their old backpacks, entirely baffled by the concept. 

However, even if some of these bags are no longer in their original colors and sizes or styles, they are still pretty usable, and there are many other things you can do with them that you can read about here.

However, it would be best if you chose what to do with these backpacks for the benefit and safety of your environment as well as that of the wider public. 

The majority of individuals toss their old backpacks into the trash.

However, it’s important to remember that you can use older packs for various purposes. 


Table of Contents
What to Do with Old Backpacks
What to Do with Old Backpacks?

Are Backpacks Recyclable?

Most parts of the backpacks are recyclable. It is due to the fabric and metallic items that compose them. It is better to consider giving it to a recycling company to protect the environment instead of throwing your backpack inside the dustbin.

Your equipment may consist of cotton, nylon, plastic, PVC, and metallic parts.

You will find many things about what to do with old backpacks when you learn about different recyclable items.

You can search for the recycling stations nearby and ask about the recyclable parts.

How Are Backpacks Recycled?

We can divide the backpack recycling into five steps.

The process starts when you decide to give your backpack to recycling stations.

The recycling company completes most of the steps of recycling.

1. Collection

You can call the recycling unit to collect the backpack if they are available at a distant location.

It is also suitable to drop off by yourself.

It is to ensure you give the backpack to the authentic recycling unit.

2. Sorting

The recycler will sort the backpack into different materials to ensure they process each accurately.

You cannot recycle synthetic and plastic materials with the same process.

Recycling unit technicians will remove all the plastic and metal parts from the backpack with their hands to avoid contamination.

They will melt the plastic and metals to use them in different products.

3. Grading

They will give a grade to the backpack when everything is sorted.

Some parts are in good condition as they will use them in other products without processing.

These parts will get the highest grade ratings.

4. Shredding

It is a process of converting the backpack material to fibers by shredding.

Recycling unit technicians may clean the synthetic fibers at this stage also.

Cleaning will ready it for the other processes.

5. Yarn

They will spin the fibers on the yarn to make new products.

It is hard to use cotton because the cotton fibers degrade fast.

They love recycling synthetic fibers as they have high durability.

What to Do with Old Backpacks?

Many do not know they can use the old backpacks in many different ways.

It is a mistake to throw the backpack in the garbage after it gets old.

You can repair, recycle, or repurpose the backpack instead of throwing it.

Some charities also collect backpacks for the needy.

You donate it to them also. You can find many articles on what to do with old backpacks to know more about their use.

We have compiled a list to help you find what you can do with old backpacks.

  1. Recycle
  2. Upcycle/Repurpose
  3. Repair
  4. Use Old Backpacks as a Tool Kit
  5. Put Your Old Backpacks up for Sale
  6. Dismantle Your Old Backpacks for Parts
  7. Design a Tablecloth
  8. Donate Your Old Backpacks

1. Recycle

If you throw your backpack in the trash, it will end up in the landfill.

You are increasing the waste products on the planet.

It is better to do the opposite and give it to the recycling station as they will sort different parts of the backpack and make useful products from them.

Most backpacks consist of synthetic fibers.

Recycling units can use the shredding process to convert them to thin fibers and use yarn to assemble them again.

They will process the plastic, metal, and natural parts separately.

It is much better than throwing your backpacks.

2. Upcycle/Repurpose

If a part of the backpack is worn, there is no need to throw it.

You can use different methods to upcycle or repurpose it.

You can get help from a technician to repair the damaged part of the backpack.

It will look better after the repairs as the technician will fit the loose sewing strings.

You can see many videos on Youtube to learn the fabric repair methods.

You can sew a patch on the damaged part of the backpack to give it a unique look.

You will find patches with many colors and prints.

Using one of these on your backpack will provide a personal look.

People turn them into toolboxes due to their durable materials.

3. Repair

You may have to train yourself to repair different fabrics if you want to repair your backpack by yourself.

Many hikers prefer to repair their backpacks themselves because it gives them confidence.

They know the materials they used to repair these products.

It also creates a sentimental connection with your backpack.

There is no need to do it yourself if you do not have time.

Sending it to a trustable repair technician is also an excellent decision.

You may visit the market several times to find the perfect parts for your backpack.

It saves a lot of time when you send it to the technician.

He may charge you more money as you will get peace of mind in return.

4. Use Old Backpacks as a Tool Kit

When you store your tools in the basement, they are frequently left uncovered and exposed to the surrounding environment.

Your old backpack can serve as a convenient storage solution for these items. 

The tools will be protected at all times as a result of this procedure.

As a result, they will be protected from external elements, allowing them to last for a longer amount of time.

5. Put Your Old Backpacks up for Sale 

Instead of simply tossing things out, you may host a garage sale with other items from your collection.

You’d be shocked at how many people purchase older backpacks on the market. 

That is why you should consider selling your old backpacks rather than throwing them away as a last resort.

Before selling them, make sure that you wash your backpacks properly.

6. Dismantle Your Old Backpacks for Parts

If the above options do not appeal to you, you might want to consider stripping them down for parts instead.

The buckles, the zippers, and the straps are all frequently employed in this fashion. 

However, if the only problem with your old backpack is a broken zipper, learn how to fix zippers on backpacks, before discarding your backpack.

For this reason, you must disassemble them for pieces, as they will be helpful later on.

These components can be reused in other backpacks, allowing for further recycling of the materials. 

That is why you must consider dismantling them and keeping those parts with you as well.

Learn what materials are backpacks made of and how to consider choosing the most durable backpacks.

7. Design a Tablecloth

Using the fabric in your backpack, you can quickly and easily make a table cloth. 

You need to make sure that all of the attachments, such as zippers and buckles, are removed before you can begin constructing the table cover, which should be relatively simple.

You will, however, require some sewing abilities to complete this project.

8. Donate Your Old Backpacks

Rather than allowing these old backpacks to pollute your environment or lay unused in the corner of your home, you can opt to offer them to millions of children and others throughout the world who require them.

According to studies, millions of students lack the tools and materials they need to succeed in school.

You can make a difference.

However, before you donate your backpacks, make sure they meet the following criteria.

  • Make certain the zipper is in good working order.
  • Examine the bag for tears or holes.
  • Make sure the bags’ straps aren’t ripped or worn out.
  • Examine the texture and color to see if they are still appealing.
  • If necessary, make repairs.

Where Can I Donate My Old Backpacks? 

If your old backpack is in a good condition, you can donate it to the following places.

  • Learning Institutions
  • Adoption Centers and Foster Homes
  • Youth Centers

Learning Institutions

Many kids do not have a backpack in which to carry their notes and supplies to school. 

You may help reduce the gap by scanning nearby schools and universities for kids that could benefit from your old backpacks.

Adoption Centers and Foster Homes

You’re probably familiar with the types of places you’ll discover here, aren’t you?

Most adoption centers and foster homes lack the financial means to give every kid the school supplies and accessories they require, notably backpacks. 

You may contribute by finding foster homes and adoption centers in your area and donating your older packs to them.

Youth Centers

These facilities are dedicated to assisting these young minds to regain their footing, which is best accomplished through education. 

These centers don’t have the materials that would make learning more enjoyable and appealing to them.

You can give them your old backpacks.

As a result, rather than simply throwing out your old bag, you must follow these simple guidelines.

Using these few suggestions, you will find it much easier to repurpose your old backpack, or at the very least sections of it, in the future. 

When you use it, you can rest assured that you will reduce your need for other resources.

Over time, this will enable you to save a large amount of money.

Frequently Asked Questions about What to Do with Old Backpacks

People have many questions about the old broken backpacks.

Many do not want to throw it because they want to avoid spending more money on backpacks.

We have compiled the answers to some of the most crucial questions.

After getting this information, you will feel more confident about using your repaired backpack.

How Do You Upcycle a Backpack?

You may need to identify the areas on the backpack you need to upcycle.

You have to arrange different materials to upscale your backpack.

You can get buckles of different designs and colors to give a unique look to the backpack.

Iron adhesives are an excellent source for providing unique looks to backpacks.

You also need a sewing kit to attach several things to them.

Can Broken Items be Recycled?

You can recycle most broken items because recycling units will convert them to raw material for manufacturing other things.

You can find information about the items you can recycle after they are broken on the internet.

You may not find information about all the items.

It is better to contact the recycling unit near your home to find out if they recycle the broken things.

The information may vary depending on the types of recycling units in your area.

One recycling unit may specialize in processing different broken items.

Glass and metals are the materials you can recycle after they are broken.

How Do You Make an Old Backpack Look New?

You can make an old backpack look new by repairing the broken parts.

You can also use deep cleaning techniques to remove all the dirt from the backpack.

It will improve the backpack’s appearance.

You can remove the debris with the vacuum cleaner and remove stains with a soft brush.

It is easier to make it look new when you got a high-quality backpack at the start.

If your backpack looks worn out before the end of the replacement warranty period, you can ask for a replacement.

Are Backpacks Bad for the Environment?

Manufacturers use synthetic materials to make backpacks to increase their durability.

Polyester and Nylon materials are the most abundantly used fibers in backpack manufacturing.

It is not easy to degrade synthetic fibers with natural processes.

Backpacks are bad for the environment if you replace them every season.

If you do not buy a new one and repair the old one every season, it is not as harmful to the environment.

There are chances that your backpack may end up in landfills. It will stay there for hundreds of years.

It may degrade into harmful chemicals also.

You can recycle them instead of buying a new one for every season.

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About the author 

Kevin

Kevin loves bouldering. Mainly because he can practice it alone without considering other people. Although he rediscovered this hobby in the last three years, the boulders turned out to be his most visited landmarks.

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