It turns out that helmets actually have an expiration date, and for many reasons. Once they expire, we need to be careful of how we dispose of them.
Expired Helmets have several different materials, so they need to be taken apart and then disposed of individually. Otherwise, they will be thrown into a landfill. Besides recycling, helmets can be repurposed into household items like flower pots, lamps, and decorations.
Continue reading for ideas on what to do with your specific helmet.
How to Know When my Helmet is Expired
Helmets expire about three or five years after production, which should be printed on the tag inside the helmet. The reason they have an expiration date is that over time the materials can deteriorate and not be as effective. Materials deteriorate from sweat, body oils, and the sun. The foam and glue in the helmet also naturally become less effective over time. Once these materials start deteriorating the helmet is not as safe for constant use.
When your helmet truly expires depends on how often you use it. If the helmet is used once every year, its livelihood will be extended. If you ride every morning before work, you may want to get a new helmet more often than every few years for maximum safety.
If a helmet fulfills its purpose it may crack or break upon impact. Once this happens a new helmet needs to be purchased. It may be hard to buy a new helmet after only using it for a short amount of time, but after it saved your life, it should be worth the price. Once the helmet reached the end of its life, how do we properly dispose of it? (Source)
Recycling or Disposing
Helmets are not easily recyclable, because they have so many different materials all put together into one product. this makes it difficult for recycling centers to recycle them and the helmet may just end up in the landfill. So, in order to make sure the helmet does get recycled, take it apart and dispose of the materials individually. Most helmets have a plastic outer shell, foam liner, and strap and buckle. You can take off the outer shell and put it in the plastic recycling, put the strap and buckle in the normal trash, and break up the foam into small pieces before you throw it away. Doing this beforehand will reduce the waste and space it takes up in the landfill or recycling center.
If you don’t have the time to take your expired helmet apart, there are still some places that dispose of helmets for you. Call your local recycling center and ask if they recycle helmets. More and more places are developing programs to properly dispose of helmets and their materials. For further guidance, each helmet should have information available by the manufacturer on how to recycle it. (Source)
Reusing or Donating
Donating to charity or friends in need is always a great idea. You could donate to a friend if the helmet hasn’t been used or has not reached its expiration date. Depending on how old it is, you could be saving someone’s life. Sometimes people ride around with no helmet because they simply cannot afford one or don’t prioritize wearing a helmet. It always feels good to donate items you don’t need or use anymore, especially when you could be saving someone’s life. Not everybody wears helmets anymore, and they need to be made a priority. I’ve heard several stories about how a helmet was the only thing between someone’s head and the end of their life.
If a helmet has reached the end of its life and is no longer usable, there are so many ways we can repurpose and reuse the helmet, instead of throwing it away. Ideas include creating flower pots, lamps, decorations, displays, bird feeders, baskets, or even bowls! The possibilities are endless. All you need to do is find the proper supplies and put your imagination to use.
Turning expired helmets into flower pots is amazing, not only because they are free flower pots, but they are now hanging flower pots, thanks to the straps. Helmets also have natural holes and ventilation, creating a better environment for the flowers to grow in. First, take out all of the extra materials like foam and padding so that it is just the outer shell of the helmet. If there are holes in the helmet, you can add coconut husk fiber first and then add the correct dirt for your flowers. Plant the flowers, add some water, and they’re ready to grow! Find a hook on the outside of your house in contact with the sun and you now have hanging flowers. (Source)
If you have been riding for a number of years, you may have enough expired helmets to make a wall of them. This can be a great way to decorate your house and show off your personality and what you like to do for fun. Another idea is to create a lamp. Helmets are a great cover for lightbulbs because they have holes for the light to shine out of. Whatever craft you create out of your old helmet, painting the helmet first can add a lot to the decoration. This allows you to customize the helmet to make it unique and show off your personality or style.
The foam inside your helmet can also be broken apart and used as packing material. It’s important to try and reuse the foam since it isn’t easily recycled. (Source)
There are no official rules on how to dispose of an expired helmet, but it’s smart to properly destroy it so that nobody else can use it. Once you throw it away, who knows where the helmet could end up. Someone in need of a helmet might use it, thinking that it is safe. Make sure to cut off the straps and take apart the materials so that it is no longer useable.
It’s important to not use helmets once they’ve expired. Other uses for them include planting flowers and decorating your wall if you don’t want to throw them away.
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