Ever wondered where all those missing tricycles, scooters, and pedal cars end up?

In Ireland alone, children’s lost toys contribute nearly 500 tonnes of plastic waste each year—that's the equivalent of over 30 million plastic bottles dumped into landfills!

As startling as these figures are, they only scratch the surface of a global issue.

Recycling ride-on toys isn't just about decluttering your home; it’s about taking a significant step towards environmental conservation.

Types of Ride-On Toys That Can Be Recycled

Here's How To Dispose of Kids Ride on Toys - A pile of assorted kids ride-on toys including cars, bikes, and scooters, neatly arranged for recycling or donation. 

Whether it’s the plastic tricycle that’s seen better days or the balance bike your kid has outgrown, many ride-on toys can be recycled.

Common recyclable types include:

  • Plastic tricycles
  • Scooters
  • Balance bikes
  • Pedal cars
  • Other toys made from recyclable materials

Preparing Ride-On Toys for Recycling 

What To Do With Your Ride On Toy When Your Kid Has Outgrown It

Before you send off your ride-on toys to a new life, they need a bit of prep:

  • Clean them thoroughly to remove dirt, debris, and any personal items.
  • Dismantle non-recyclable parts such as batteries and electronic components—these require special disposal methods to avoid harming the environment.

Finding Recycling Facilities or Programs

Not sure where to take your ride-on toys?

Start with your local recycling centre or waste management facility.

You can also look for specialised programs:

  • Manufacturer take-back programs: Some toy manufacturers will recycle old toys.
  • Community initiatives: Check if local community centres or schools run toy recycling drives.

Online Resources for Locating Recycling Options

Finding a place to recycle your ride-on toys might seem daunting, but there are several online resources designed to make this easier.

Websites such as Earth911 or RecycleNow offer comprehensive databases where you can input your zip code and the type of material you wish to recycle—be it plastic, metal, or electronics from battery-operated toys.

These platforms will then provide a list of nearby facilities equipped to handle your recycling needs, ensuring your old toys are processed responsibly and do not end up in landfills.

Identify Recyclable Materials

Before you dive into the recycling process, it's essential to understand which parts of your ride-on toys are recyclable.

Most toys include a combination of materials, primarily plastics like HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) or ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), both of which are commonly accepted by recycling programs.

Metal components, often found in the structural parts of tricycles or pedal cars, can be recycled with scrap metal.

By identifying these materials, you ensure that each component is properly sorted and sent to the right recycling stream, helping reduce contamination and increase the efficiency of recycling processes.

Donating or Selling Ride-On Toys

3 kids with recycling images on their t shirts

If your toys are still in good shape, consider giving them a second life:

  • Donate to local charities, schools, or community centres.
  • Sell or give away on online platforms or local buy/sell groups.

Tips for Effective Online Selling

If your ride-on toys are still in good condition, selling them online can be a great way to extend their life and avoid waste.

Here are some tips to make the process effective:

  • Photograph your toy from multiple angles, using natural light where possible to show the true condition of the item.
  • Provide detailed descriptions, including any wear and tear, to maintain transparency and build trust with potential buyers.
  • Be responsive to inquiries and reasonable offers to facilitate a quick sale.
  • Use relevant keywords and hashtags in your listings to improve visibility, such as #UsedToys, #RecycleToys, or #EcoFriendlyToys.

Repurposing or Upcycling Options

Feeling creative?

Here’s how you can repurpose ride-on toys:

  • Turn an old tricycle into a quirky garden planter.
  • Use scooter parts as funky storage containers or decorative pieces.
  • Explore online for DIY project ideas that transform these toys into something new and exciting!

Safety Tips for DIY Projects

Repurposing ride-on toys into new items like planters or furniture can be a rewarding DIY project.

However, safety is paramount:

  • Wear protective gear such as gloves and safety goggles, especially when cutting or drilling.
  • Ensure all finishes and materials used are child-safe, particularly if the repurposed item will remain within reach of children. Opt for non-toxic paints and adhesives.
  • Check for stability and durability in the finished product to prevent accidents, especially if it will be used as furniture or play equipment.

Safety Considerations

Ensure that toys are safe and in good condition before repurposing or donating.

Check for any recalls or safety issues, and properly dispose of toys that are damaged or unsafe.

Guidelines for Disassembling Toys

Disassembling toys might be necessary for both recycling and repurposing projects.

Here’s how to do it safely and efficiently:

  • Use the right tools for the job, such as screwdrivers for screws and pliers for removing snaps or rivets.
  • Keep small parts organised in containers to prevent loss and potential choking hazards.
  • Label parts if needed, especially if you plan to reassemble the item or use specific components for other projects. This organisation helps keep track of materials and simplifies the process, whether you’re recycling or repurposing the parts.


Every toy recycled, donated, or repurposed is a step towards reducing the massive environmental impact of toy waste.

In a world where the e-toy category alone contributes significantly to global e-waste, every action counts.

Let's make recycling ride-on toys a common practice—not just for our closets' sake but for the planet's future.

Remember, engaging in community efforts and advocating for recycling can amplify our impact.

This conversation isn't just about clearing out the garage; it's about making responsible choices that benefit our environment and future generations.

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