Can You Recycle Garden Hoses: The Answer Plus Up-cycling Ideas

It’s common for homeowners to ask, can you recycle garden hoses? 

Generally speaking, the answer is no, you can not recycle a garden hose. Even though it’s a tool that you can use for an assortment of environmentally-friendly tasks, most hoses are not designed for recycling unless they are made from specific materials. 

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to throw it out, as there are a few creative ways you can “up-cycle” a hose instead of recycling it.

Can You Recycle Garden Hoses? No, but Why?

Here are the reasons why you can’t recycle your garden hose:

1. City Bylaws

The first thing you should do before deciding on whether to recycle your garden hose or not is to take a look at your city bylaws and disposal requirements. 

There are plenty of municipalities that suggest you should not recycle your garden hose due to their materials.

2. Tangler Category

Another reason as to why you might not be able to recycle them is because they fall within a category known as “tanglers”, along with chains, cords, and ropes. 

When you put these items in a recycling bin along with all of your other things, they can easily tangle and create a giant ball of mess that the recycling facility needs to address. 

Since machines and not humans complete most of the steps in these facilities, you might create an enormous disruption by inadvertently tangling the equipment, causing malfunctions and safety issues for the workers.

The more tanglers that recycling facilities receive, the more downtime they’ll have while trying to recycle other essential items, which can make recycling a more expensive task. 

Interestingly enough, garden hoses are ranked as one of the top five contaminants in the recycling world that cause the most headaches, according to a large group of recyclers.

3. Material

As earlier discussed, the materials used to create rope can also be a significant issue for recyclers to deal with. 

In the industry, certain plastics are easy to recycle and hard to recycle, depending on the components used during manufacturing. 

Garden hoses, for example, are rated as number three and number seven plastics, based on plastic resin ID codes.

Most models will have a combination of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU), which are two of the most robust plastics to recycle. 

Some of the more expensive models may be made from rubber, which is typically used for tires and other mechanical applications.

How to Dispose of a Garden Hose

Even though you might not be able to throw your old garden hose straight into recycling, you can certainly put it in the garbage where it will be dealt with accordingly. 

The problem is that your garden hose is still classified as a “tangler”, even in the heavy-duty world of waste management. 

To make lives simpler, the best thing you can do is cut your rope down into smaller pieces before throwing it in the garbage.

By using a utility knife or sharp scissors, you can create one-foot pieces, or smaller, and throw them in your garbage bag. 

This way, you won’t be putting a giant tangled mess into the trash, which can help to avoid plant shutdowns or workers having to unclog the machines in the processing facilities regularly.

Up-cycling a Garden Hose

If you’re searching for a more eco-friendly way to make the most out of an old garden hose, there is an assortment of tricks you can use to repurpose something old into something new and useful. 

The best part is that you won’t just have a whole pile of old hoses taking up space in your yard since you can’t recycle them.

First, before you take on any creative projects, you want to consider whether the hose can be repaired and can still be used. 

Frequently, a hose may spring a leak thanks to a tiny hole somewhere along its length, but instead of declaring it a useless piece of garden equipment, why not attempt to repair it at home?

You might even find that there are specialty stores in your area that can repair garden hoses for you at a low cost. 

Using a patch can typically be a great way to get rid of any holes in the hose so that you have optimal water pressure to put to good use.

Alternatively, if the holes aren’t too bad, there’s no reason as to why you can’t continue to use the tubing until it is far too damaged to be useful. 

Sometimes, you may even be able to repair the holes and resell it to a coworker, friend, or family member and then reinvest your profits into a new one for your home.

can you recycle garden hose

1. Blade Protectors

Do you have an assortment of cutting tools and equipment at home, such as saws? 

If so, there’s no need to invest in specialty covers when you can make your own with the help of your old hose. 

You can easily cut out sections of various lengths and create a slit down the center of the hose that allows you to cover the sharpest parts of your tools.

Even though it might not be the preferable option for portability, as the covers might fall off in transit, it’s a very convenient solution for storing your tools in your shed.

2. Gardening Baskets

When working on the flowerbeds on your property, do you find you are continually going back and forth between the shed and the garden to get or put away tools? 

A better alternative would be to have a basket where you can keep everything organized while not in use and also be able to carry everything with you as you move along your property. 

By using zip ties and an old hose, you can easily coil and affix pieces together to create your very own gardening basket.

One of our favorite things about this DIY is that you can wash the entire thing down any time there is any dirt or grime caked into the crevices of the basket. 

As the hose will get wet, it will dry quickly, instead of other basket materials, such as wicker. 

To learn how to make gardening baskets, we recommend taking a look at this easy-to-follow tutorial.

3. Soaker Hose

If you do a lot of irrigation on your property, you’ll likely want to invest in a soaker hose, which is specifically designed to wet a large area quickly and effortlessly. 

But if you already have a hose with holes in it at home, why would you need to buy a brand new specialty one? 

A better option would be to take a drill and to make more holes in your old hose, creating your very own soaker version.

You’ll love how you won’t have to spend any extra money, just a little bit of spare time, and it won’t even matter if more holes get made over the years. 

This step is by far one of the best ideas for figuring out how to up-cycle an old hose that you would otherwise have thrown out.

A video that helps demonstrate up-cycling a garden hose to a soaker hose

How to Preserve Your Garden Hose

Above all else, the best thing you can do to make sure you don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of getting rid of old gardening equipment is to preserve it for as long as possible. 

With garden hoses, since they are plastic, they can experience a lot of weathering when they’re exposed to the elements, especially if you live in an area with drastic temperature changes. 

Your best option for preserving your garden hose is to keep it on a high-quality hose reel and store it in a warm and dry place over the winter, such as your garage or an outdoor shed.

Final Thoughts

The simple answer to “Can you recycle garden hoses?” is no since it can cause several disruptions and safety concerns at your local facility. 

Instead, cutting it into pieces and throwing it in the trash is a better alternative, unless you want to reuse it for another project.


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