How can I reuse or recycle a motorcycle helmet?

helmetWe’ve had an email from Sue:

I’d be grateful if you could help me. I am trying to find somewhere to take an old motorbike helmet for recycling – I have googled but the only useful suggestion I could find was to take it to an old ambulance station for them to use to practice taking off dummies! I live in London but am willing to post it somewhere to be put to good use.

I’m presuming the helmet is damaged in some way that it wouldn’t be safe for use on a motorbike any more – if it is ok, just no longer wanted, it could go on Freecycle/eBay for re-use for its intended purpose. UPDATE: Ok, turns out they shouldn’t really be used secondhand (see comments).

What if it is damaged/potentially compromised though? I love the ambulance station idea or using it as an educational aid in other ways – anyone know of any initiatives/organisations that could use it?

Are there any creative reuses for them? I wonder if they could be turned into themed furniture/houseware for a motorbike fan – I have half a memory of seeing one turned into a lamp but can’t find anything about that now. The only thing I can find is a link to an artist who builds on them to make scary alien/fantasy creature heads – which isn’t the same things at all ;)

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12 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle a motorcycle helmet?”

  1. Nicole says:

    Might also make for a good theatre prop

  2. No says:

    Even if it is OK, you should never use a secondhand motorbike helmet.
    1. You can’t trust that it hasn’t been damaged.
    2. They need replacing after a few years anyway.

  3. 1) Give to kids. They love playing with them, for years.
    2) Use for Mailbox or Lamp posts, kind of like tribal markings.
    3) Seal neck area and use for storage. Have 3 in my garage, look cool.

  4. I was commissioned (unpaid) by Davida who make helmets in Birkenhead to recover a helmet which I did and has gone on exhibition with their stuff. I covered it with recycled wire and was sort of Flash Gordon inspired or Indonesian in style. They also had another hemet that had a papier mache super structure.

  5. Lynsey says:

    How about turning it into a planter in the garden? It might be a bit tricky due to the curved sides of the helmet but you could also try to turn it into a hanging basket!

  6. Alison says:

    All fine suggestions, but what, exactly, was wrong with donating it to the fireman/EMTs/paramedics for practicing removing it from injured riders?! That seems like “good use” to me & mighty commendable!

    • louisa says:

      Oh there was absolutely nothing wrong with that! It sounds a great idea! I just thought there might be more spare helmets (especially as ‘No’ says you have to replace them every few years) than there are ambulance stations so I thought it would be worth having some other ideas kicked around too.

      -louisa :)

  7. David says:

    Actually, all of the motorcycle (specifically motorcycle) helmets I’ve purchased have come with a warning stating that the motorcycle is unsafe for us by someone else. The note is that the helmets inner shape will eventually match with the rider’s, and will not function properly in the event of an accident with someone else’s head.

    And, like No said, can you trust a used helmet? And how old/dried out is it? A new helmet feels very different from a helmet thats been used for a heavy riding season.

  8. Tim Grimley says:

    I’m in need of two used motorbike helmets – we’re taking on a banger rally to Prague at the end of the month and there is a fancy dress requirement to take a costume to be The Stig from Top Gear! We’re doing it in aid of the Air Ambulance which I reckon is not a bad cause – so if any folk have got a couple of spare elderly large or extra large helmets then I could put them to good use! Have a look at for details of the rally or for more about us.



  9. Diane says:

    I have recycled my old helmet by turning it into a hanging basket which is hanging by the side of the garage door. I fitted a piece of fairly thick wood into the part where it would fit over your head and then added soil up to where you would look out from. Then just add you as many flowers as you want to. Lots of people have made comments on how good it looks.

  10. Ele Bell says:

    I am looking for old vintage style open face helmets to do this with:

  11. Stephen says:

    I think I’m going to convert a few old helmets into the bird houses. I’ve got the picket fence to do it on too!

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