How to recycle a tent (or Repurpose)

An array of tents on a camp site

Tents are versatile and necessary when braving the elements. However, if you have an extra tent on hand, recycling is always a great idea. Usable tents are in demand for homeless shelters as well as youth organizations. If the tent has seen better days, then you can also make use of the various components.

As every cleanup crew at a festival can tell you, it’s very common for people to leave behind tents they no longer need. However, it is much more conscientious to take the extra step and recycle the tents. Don’t leave it behind– give it a new life by recycling! Read on to find out how to recycle a tent or see different ways you can put your old tent to use.

Related: Looking to upgrade to a bigger tent? Check our list of the best 10 person camping tents.

Recycling center

It’s important to avoid putting your tent in the recycling bin. If you make a visit to the recycling center, they will be able to make sure that it is disposed of in the right way.

Tent poles are often recyclable while the main body of the tent isn’t. For this reason, we recommend looking to donate the tent rather than recycling it.

Donating to online stores specializing in camping equipment is one way to make sure that your return is being put to good use. There are many organizations to take a look at. Some of the best ones are Gear Forward, Tents4Homeless, and Share/Wheel.

There are a handful of organizations that accept tent donations. These will be given to youth groups, schools, or even homeless or refugee charities.

Reselling it

If your time is still working, but you just don’t want to use it anymore, there are a multitude of opportunities for you to resell it and make a little bit of extra income. Online shops and marketplaces are really useful for reselling tents. Potential buyers will search the right keywords and be connected with you and your tent.

Keep your tent out of the trash or nature. You can recycle them to be sure that they are being disposed of in the right way.


You can take the various elements of a tent and make good use of them in novel ways. Whether for gardening, arts and crafts, or a day at the beach, use the different elements of a tent in repurposed ways.

Tent poles

Tents polls are lightweight and versatile, and you can easily think of many ways to use them around the home. One of the simplest ways to repurpose a tent pole is to use it as a gardening tool. Either give growing plants a handy support for growing or as a trellis for vining plants to scale.

Tent stakes can be recycled to stand up plants
Tent stakes can be recycled to stand up plants

Tent material

If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you can use the tent material to repair patches and other camping gear. Other potential uses could be to make bags or socks that are water repellent. Some people have made backpacks or even wallets!

One fashion designer even used unwanted tents and created a line of children’s jackets out of the water repellent material.

Tent stakes

If you are at all the outdoorsy type, you may find many ways to repurpose tent stakes. They will ground anything that needs to be held steady from the rain, making them very useful on beach days. They will hold up beach umbrellas, sunshades, and even prevent camping chairs from falling over. Tent stakes are also great in the garden and help plants to stay upright. Also, they can stick shoe mats outside of the door or even to hold down tarps.

Next up: You want to bring a tarp to use as a footprint, protection from the rain or a sun screen – but what size of tarp should you bring? Find out what size tarp you need for a tent.

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