How can I reuse or recycle bowling balls?

bowling ballsWe’ve had an email from Marsha asking:

where or how to you recycle old bowling balls? They are petrol based. estimates of at least 100,000 are just put in land fills. thanks

Ooh, good question.

If they’re still in good condition, I’d offer them on Freecycle or to the local bowling alley – if they can’t use them because all theirs need to be a particular brand or whatever, they might know a customer who could use them.

If they’re cracked or what not, I’d still be tempted to offer them on Freecycle – for people wanting them for a fun decoration (a GIANT paperweight perhaps ;) ) or for a craft project.

Actual recycling will depend on exactly what type of plastic it is, for example, some balls are made out of urethane and that is cost-prohibitive to recycle – so it’ll probably be easier to think of good reuses than get the plastic back into the system.

So reuse suggestions?

(Photo by bas3ssen)

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25 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle bowling balls?”


  1. Cover it in concrete and use as a ball for a gate post? Don’t know if this is feasible.

    Use as a weight for something?

  2. Anonymous says:

    cover it with mosaic items (can even be more recycled materials like broked glass or dishes) and then put it in your garden like a gazing ball or decoration.

  3. Lisa says:

    I knew a fellow who kept a large cat, think it was a cougar. He used old bowling balls for cat toys. Perhaps a local zoo might have a use for them.

  4. Jill says:

    If they are bright colours like the ball picture they would look neat buried halfway in flowerbeds or perhaps even just in the grass in your lawn. Likewise, if you had several, you could make a border for a flower bed or line a pathway.

    • reverenddave says:

      ha ha cool idea

    • Mike says:

      There is a club in town that used them between the building and their outside bar, the ground was sunken between the two so they filled the hole with a ton of bowling balls. All the balls where at different heights giving the area a texture and colorfulness.

  5. Glenna says:

    I heard them in a percussion show once (hit with drum sticks). Fantastic!

  6. Condo Blues says:

    if you had a bunch of them you could use them as a garden border instead of bricks.

  7. t says:

    I agree with Lisa, contact your local zoo or sanctuary they can be used for animal enrichment!

  8. Agata says:

    Put some long lasting plant in it,it will grow thru the holes :)

  9. kenart says:

    put them in a pond or creek or lake, they will become a habitat.

  10. SHERRI says:

    how can i get some of these boling balls where and how lol i would like to get some to be crafty with

    • Kaycie says:

      My dad has run a bowling pro shop since he was 21 years old, and he is sort of a hoarder of these bowling balls. We are remodeling our house and came up with nearly 50 bowling balls we’re looking to get rid of. I really dislike wasting things and I don’t want to just throw them into our dumpster and say adios, so I was researching ways we could recycle them. I saw a lot of people are interested in getting some bowling balls, we can certainly sell them for a couple bucks a ball or for free depending on what my dad agrees to. :) If you’re at all interested, just e-mail me: stemmy3softball@aol.com and having the subject as “Bowling Balls” and I’ll get back to you ASAP! Thanks, and happy recycling. :)

      • Jessie says:

        Contact the local Senior Center. Ours is collecting old bowling balls to make lady bugs, bumble bees and other items that can be used in the garden. Instructions for making these items are easily found on the internet.

  11. Matt Cole says:

    Matt Cole jewelry made from recycled bowling balls!

  12. mali marsh says:

    I’m not 100% about this one, but wouldn’t a bowling ball make a good plant pot. . . ? Saying that – how often do people throw these away as I thought they lasted for almost forever.

    Still. . . . . I think if I had a number of bolwing balls and they were different colours, I’d probably drill large holes in them and make them into candle holders. . . . just a thought of course.

  13. Susan Monak says:

    I mosaic old bowling balls with glass & sell them. I’ve even recycled old bowling pins & created Pin People. One of my creations won first palce in a national art competition. I’m a stained glass artist, so all of my glass is just left over from other projects. I get the balls for free from a local bowling alley. People drop them off there all of the time. I also get the pins from there but there aren’t as many of those being discarded. It’s good to find a way to reuse the balls as they will last forever in a landfill.

  14. mali marsh says:

    That sounds pretty cool. . .

    So what part of the house do people put your designs?

    It’s amazing what ideas people come up with. . . impressive. .

  15. Belinda says:

    Hi,
    I am looking to get at least one old bowling ball so that I can turn it into a cool gazing globe for the garden!!! I have seen these done and they are way cool! So dont throw them away.
    The people that use them usually clean them with some denatured alcohol first and then use a spray primer and spray paint and then glue some flat glass gems on them with weather proof silicone glue.
    and there ya have it, A COOL GARDEN GAZING GLOBE

    • I recycle old bowling balls. Cracked or not. I make them into bumble bees and ladybugs! Check my website out for ideas. I also buy old bowling balls!

      • Kaycie says:

        My dad has run a bowling pro shop since he was 21 years old, and he is sort of a hoarder of these bowling balls. We are remodeling our house and came up with nearly 50 bowling balls we’re looking to get rid of. I really dislike wasting things and I don’t want to just throw them into our dumpster and say adios, so I was researching ways we could recycle them. I saw a lot of people are interested in getting some bowling balls, we can certainly sell them for a couple bucks a ball or for free depending on what my dad agrees to. :) If you’re at all interested, just e-mail me: stemmy3softball@aol.com and having the subject as “Bowling Balls” and I’ll get back to you ASAP! Thanks, and happy recycling. :)

  16. Barbara Davis says:

    My husband passed away back in November 2011 and was a fantastic bowler. I happen to have over 30 old bowling balls that I would like to sell cheap..Both my daughter and myself have our own bowling balls. I live in La Porte, Texas if anyone locally in the Houston area wants to buy some or all… Contact me at bfdavisxx@yahoo.com if interested for whatever you want them for.



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