In an effort to address the environmental challenges posed by the disposal of ski and snowboard equipment, Recycle Utah has revamped its approach to managing old winter sports gear, pivoting from traditional recycling methods to a more sustainable reuse program.
Launched in 2016 in partnership with the Snowsports Industry of America (SIA), the initiative initially focused on recycling skis but has evolved significantly due to changes in the recycling market and the inherent complexities of processing mixed-material equipment.
Skis and snowboards are notoriously difficult to recycle due to their composition: a mix of steel, aluminum, plastic, wood, and fiberglass. The breakdown of materials in a typical ski, for example, is approximately 5 percent steel, 25 percent aluminum, 60 percent plastic, and 10 percent wood and fiberglass. Around five years ago, SIA discontinued the program due to market shifts rendering the recycling process unviable, leading Recycle Utah to shift its focus toward a reuse-centric model.