What Should You Do With Your Old Paddling Pool, Inflatable or Bouncy Castle?

Lockdown seems to be coming to an end and Summer is just around the corner, but some of us are still stuck indoors at the moment and if your family is anything like mine, you’re desperately looking at ways to keep the kids entertained while trying to stave off the effects of cabin fever.

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If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden or patio and the weather is in your favour, then paddling pools, bouncy castles and inflatables are a firm favourite and found in many a British backyard.

Unfortunately most inflatables and PVC or plastic setups don’t last longer than a few years, whether through neglect or puncture, and as a result we see tonnes upon tonnes of these plastics end up in the tip and ultimately in the landfill!

With recycling centres across the country still under the click and tip rules, disposing of these cumbersome toys can be a chore in its own right.

Thankfully there are now a few options you have before resorting to throwing your old PVC based setups in the bin!

How Do I Clean My Current Pool or Toys & Do You Really Need to Replace Them Yet?

Before looking at a new paddling pool or bouncy castle setup, ask yourself, do you really need a new one yet? Or is your current kit just in need of a bit of a clean.

While it’s a chore, it’s important for us to increase the lifespan of our plastic based toys. When properly taken care of, these toys can last a decade. The majority are not recycled and they take years to break down in a landfill.

How to clean your paddling pool or old PVC inflatables

  1. First dry off your inflatable by wiping it down with an old towel or microfibre cloth.
  2. Use a cleaning solution to remove any dirt or algae that may have accumulated in the pool.
    1. If the pool is relatively clean, I recommend using a mixture of warm water and fairy liquid. Wash gently with a large sponge or soft-bristle brush.
    2. If you’ve got algae or mould then create a 1 part bleach, 5 parts water mix and scrub with a light duty brush. (Please don’t use hard bristles…)
  3. Don’t pour the entire bucket into the pool but clean it methodically.
    1. Start with the floor, paying special attention to any slippery areas – these are caused by algae and bacteria and should be removed before storage.
    2. Move on to the inner walls and if you’ve got any extras like a fountain or slide, clean these last.
  4. Rinse with cold water from a hose or pressure washer on a low setting. Paying extra special attention if you’ve used bleach.
  5. Finally wipe down again with a clean rag or microfibre towel before packing up and storing in a dry area.
  6. Optional: I like to hang my pool up in the utility room and have it sit under a dehumidifier for a few hours as this ensures there’s no moisture left and this prevents mould from growing)

How often should you clean a paddling pool?

If you dry it properly, aside from a quick wipe with antibacterial spray you shouldn’t need to clean properly again – until the next time you bring it out after months of being away in storage.

Can (PVC) Inflatables be Recycled?

Unfortunately Polyvinyl Chloride is notoriously difficult to recycle and most of it ends up in a landfill even if your local council claims to recycle it.

If you’re eco-conscious or are just looking for an alternative to the landfill then keep reading!

What Can You Do With Your Old Toys?

If you’re the DIY type then these plastics can be repurposed into many different things.

Take a look below for some ideas on what to do with your old pools and inflatables.

Upcycling old PVC Toys

How Can I Up-cycle Them?

If DIY isn’t for you, then fear not – thanks to the eco-work at Wyatt and Jack you can send your old pools, inflatables and bouncy castles to them for free and they’ll get repurposed into a delightful array of bags and pouches to be purchased by conscientious customers.

They’ve stopped over 100 tonnes of plastic due for the landfill and with your help they can stop even more!

They accept most items, (even if it’s dirtybut don’t be lazy give that pool a scrub before sending it across).

They do ask however, that you do not send any mouldy pools across. These aren’t salvageable and you really shouldn’t be posting mould anyway!

Where Should I Buy New Bouncy Castles and Pools From?

If you’re absolutely certain you can’t re-use your current toy then take a look at our two posts on our favourite bouncy castles and best paddling pools for this season.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a PVC toy, do make sure it’s definitely at its end of life.

There’s a lot of plastic waste generated every month and it’s down to us to minimise our waste output by ensuring we repair what we can, clean before disposal when possible and recycling if our end of life toy is suitable for repurpose!

Have you managed to up-cycle or repurpose your old PVC toys? Do you know of anywhere else that accepts old PVC? If so we’d love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment or get in touch with us via Facebook.

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