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How To Recycle Inflatable Pools And Inflatable Pool Toys

If you’re done with your inflatable pool or pool toys, you may be wondering how you can recycle them. I wanted to do the same, so I spent some time looking into it, and here’s what I learned.

Most inflatable pools are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and are not accepted at most recycling facilities. You can tell by the recycling number 3 on the material that it’s difficult to recycle. However, there are recycling facilities that will accept PVC, they are just harder to find.

If you find out below that it will be difficult to recycle your inflatable, there are other options. Up-cycling, repairing, and donating are all alternative ways to recycle your inflatable pool and pool toys.

How To Tell If They Can Be Recycled

To find out if your inflatable pool or pool toys can be recycled, check the recycling number. If there isn’t a recycling number printed on the pool itself or the packaging it came in, it will most likely be recycling number 3, and will be difficult to recycle.

Here’s a handy chart to let you know what the recycling numbers mean.

Recycling CodeMaterialRecycle Difficulty
1 – PETEPolyethylene Terephthalate
Plastic Bottles
2 – HDPEHigh Density Polyethylene
Milk Jugs
3 – PVCPolyvinyl Chloride
4 – LDPELow Density Polyethylene
Grocery Bags
5 – PPPolypropylene
Tubs, Ropes
6 – PSPolystyrene
7 – OOther

Keep in mind that even though recycling of a certain material is listed as difficult, doesn’t mean it’s not recyclable. Call your local recycling facility to see what they take and what they don’t. However, if it’s difficult to recycle, it won’t be easy finding a place that will take it.

The more difficult it is to recycle, the harder it will be to find a place that accepts it.

Here’s a video explaining how complicated the process is if you want to know more.

Find A Recycling Facility That Will Accept PVC

I wasn’t able to find a place nearby that took PVC, recycling code 3, or inflatable pools. I was also surprised to find out how many things are actually made with this PVC material that isn’t accepted for recycling.

Common Items Made From PVC:

  • Beach Balls
  • Inflatable Toys
  • Pool Toys
  • Blow-Up Toys
  • Water Wings
  • Tubes
  • Floaties
  • Inflatable Pools
  • Blow-Up Pools

Even though I couldn’t find a place nearby that would accept my old inflatable pool, I did find a place a couple hours drive away. I used this vinyl recycling directory found here to find the closest place to me, called them up to make sure they would accept it, and drove it over to be recycled.

Edit: Some people are finding that the places listed in Vinyl Recycling (above link) don’t always accept everything. Please call first.

Another site to try is Earth911 to find places near you that accept this type of recycling. Always call the recycling place first to make sure they accept it so you don’t waste a trip.

Here’s a quick video showing the process used to seperate PVC at a recycling facility.

Are Vinyl Pools Recyclable

Yes, vinyl pools such as above ground and large inflatable pools are recyclable. However, they are typically made out of polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC with recycling number 3, and it may difficult to find a recycling facility that will accept them.

Depending on your local recycling facility, you may be able to put vinyl pool liners right in your recycling bin for pick up, while in other areas, you may be required to drive to a facility that will take that type of plastic material for recycling.

Call your recycling company before putting vinyl pool liners in your recycling bin.

If you find that your recycling facility doesn’t accept vinyl, consider up-cycling, gifting the inflatable pool to someone else, or finding a facility that will accept vinyl pool material.

Patch And Repair

If you’re getting rid of your inflatable pool because of a rip or tear in the material, I would reconsider. Inflatable pools are actually pretty easy to patch, and can last a long time if taken care of properly. I’ve patched a couple inflatable pools, and the patches are still holding strong today.

Check out this step by step guide to Patch And Repair An Inflatable Pool for some tips and tricks to get a quick and solid patch job.

If you can patch the pool and keep using it, that would be the ultimate solution. No need to recycle at all, and will save you money from buying another one some day. Not to mention you still get to have a pool to cool off from the summer heat in.


Up-cycling is basically re-purposing the inflatable for another use. There are even do it yourself recycling groups that will take old inflatable pools and pool toys to make things out of them, such as bags or wallets. You can find one of these groups here.

Or you can up-cycle the inflatable pool yourself into something useful. I would prefer to repair the pool or gift it to someone else, but for someone into arts and crafts, this could be a fun little project.

Up-Cycling Ideas:

  • Bag or carry tote
  • Purse or wallet
  • Tarp or covering
  • Place mats
  • Table cloth

Here’s a short clip showing a bag that has been up-cycled from an old inflatable.

Gift It To Someone

If you’re getting rid of your inflatable pool or pool toys simply because you or your kids have outgrown it, consider donating or giving it to a friend or neighbor instead. Let them deal with disposing of it, just kidding! But seriously, if someone else can make use of it, that’s the best kind of recycling there is.

We’ve given away a smaller inflatable pool that we grew out of as we upgraded sizes. If you find a family with kids, chances are they’ll take the inflatable off your hands no problem.

How Do You Dispose Of A Kiddie Pool

To dispose of a hard walled or hardened plastic kiddie pool, check the recycle code on the kiddie pool, and call your local recycling facility to find out which types of plastic they accept for recycling. Recycling code 5 is most common for hardened kiddie pools, and are accepted at most recycling facilities.

Before getting rid of the kiddie pool, consider giving it another use instead. Here’s a helpful video that will give you some good ideas on how you can re-purpose your kiddie pool for other uses.

If you’ve finally decided you can’t fix the pool and keep using it, gift it to a friend, or reuse it in some way, then your best bet is to recycle or dispose of it. Most recycle collection companies will allow you to leave the pool right next to or in your recycle bin. But check with them first, they may need you to drive it to their facility depending on the size of the pool.

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