How can I reuse or recycle climbing ropes?

climbing-ropeLast week’s post about super thick rope made me think about climbing ropes.

For safety reasons, they have to be replaced regularly – I read someone suggest they are replaced when the outer layer gets to a level of fuzziness comparable to a wool blanket or if they’ve sustained a fall – but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be used for other non-life-risking purposes.

Because they’re a thin but strong, lightweight rope, they’ll be great for a huge number of practical purposes around the home and garden – supporting tree branches, tying down roof racks, generally tying, um, things to other things…

But can they actually be recycled? They’re usually polyamide/nylon but are there any particular places that collect them for recycling?

And has anyone made any fun things with them? I wonder if they could be coiled up to make a fun basket or something… Any ideas?

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17 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle climbing ropes?”


  1. Clementine says:

    I use them to make horses halter. You can find instructions on the net (for exemple there : http://www.frontrangefrenzy.com/horse-halter/make-rope-halter.html ).

    ps : this blog is really useful and i do really enjoy reading it, thanks !

  2. I have a very large ugly 80′s vase. I would pull out the E6000 glue to wrap and glue that pastel monster of a vase with the rope……

    It would be interesting to see functional uses of it as well.

  3. Erin says:

    A clothes line?

  4. Sarah says:

    I work at a summer camp, on the ropes course/climbing wall, and we go through ropes fairly often due to the amount we use them. This year, we had 3 “retired” ropes, and 2 of them will be cut into smaller sections for practice rope (good for teaching the knots to groups of people), and one of the ropes was given to the sailing department, to use as painters and other such things.

    • Patti says:

      I also work at a summer camp and we take the kern our and make bracelets among other miscellaneous things with the retired rope. I have made anything from flip flops to bracelets to pencil holders. I am in the process of figuring out how to make place mats out of rope.

  5. Lizzy says:

    lengths for skipping ropes…?

  6. pmofnz says:

    You can send the used ropes to your local WMD manufacturer. The abseil ropes are exactly what the doctor ordered for powering up trebuchets and other pre-gunpowder artillery.

    Donations of used long abseil ropes I am sure will be gratefully accepted by Murray at http://hittingmetalwithahammer.wordpress.com in the Antipodes. Freight will unfortunately be at your expense.

  7. I had to give up climbing after starting the business and my wife having our son. 5 years on, I pulled out the old 12mm single rope and used it on our boat for mooring lines. We then used another length with a couple of belays for our Labrador. Made a great running line for her in the back yard! Never snagged either.

  8. Shorty says:

    Use them to tie things to your bike/car.

  9. Alice says:

    Climbing ropes are a little bit stretchy, but they and most other kinds of rope can be taken to your nearest canal and given to boat people, who can usually find a use for decent bits of rope.

  10. Greg says:

    Hey, I have trouble throwing away my old ropes too. Here’s a few ideas of come up with. A 10.2 mm rope or bigger is just about right to fit over a Cambelbak hose once you pull out the threads! I cut mine to length and it just takes a few minutes to work it on. Looks pretty cool. Also you can pop off a Nalgene lid and it’s plastic bottle connector. Fold the connector in half and slide the rope on the little loop that is formed between the cap top and the bottle body. My climbing partner and I do this to our bottles to keep them seperate w/ our different rope covers. I have a few makeshift gear slings, pretty easy to make… I’ve been thinking about cutting some lengths and sewing them about 3 wide together and making some backpack shoulder straps so I can have a neat ruck for when I’m hitting the climbing gym. Still working on more ideas! I’ll let ya’ll know if I come up with anything else. Happy Climbing!!

  11. Amberjet says:

    Add some yarn or old fabric scraps and you can make a bowl like this:
    http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/coiled_yarnwrap_basket

  12. Mandy says:

    This company reuses ropes to make rugs and other things

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Retied-Rope-Rugs/310696395725?v=wall

  13. urka says:

    make a spider web to hang in the corner of a room for storage (great for stuffed animals and other large lightweight things)

  14. Barry says:

    I teach knots to people (I am a member of the IGKT – see http://www.igkt.net) and some used climbing rope is ideal for practice. I live on Merseyside so if anyone has some they want to get rid of I can collect within say 30 miles or so.



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