Everything You Need To Know About Disposing Of Bowling Balls

Are you looking for ways to dispose of bowling balls? You and your bowling ball shared some wonderful times, but now it must be retired. You need to decide what to do with your worn-out ball now. Have no fear, we have a few options for you!

There are many ways to dispose of a bowling ball. You can resell, repair, upcycle, donate or recycle your old bowling balls. 

There are many ways to get rid of your old bowling ball instead of just throwing it away. This article will give quite a few options on what to do and where to take your old ball for retirement. The variety of choices available will astound you, so keep on reading!

Do Bowling Balls Expire?

An excellent quality bowling ball can last from five to ten years, depending on its condition and usage. Some factors you should consider are how hard you use it, how well it’s taken care of, and how hot or cold it gets in your area.

Regular maintenance can help remove visible tracks while polishing, re-polish, replacing finger inserts, and resurfacing or replacing the coverstock can help with the longevity of your ball.

What To Do With Cracked Balls?

  • Identify the cause of a crack.
  • Bring it to the professional for a fix

Identify The Cause of Crack 

You can fix the cracked bowling balls only if you can identify the cause of the crack. This way, it will allow you to avoid asking the same question repeatedly, and it will not cost you a fortune to fix it.

A bowling ball’s core, coverstock, and filler are three components. The core determines how the ball handles. The filler is a component of a bowling ball’s interior, usually made of glass beads or other materials. The other two components of a ball are the core and the coverstock.

As a bowler, you should pay attention to the coverstock, as it is the last component of the ball. There are various kinds of coverstock surfaces that you can use with different types of balls.

You need to store the three components at a stable temperature. They’ve either reached the end of their useful lives, and it’s time for a replacement, or the cracks appear for no apparent reason.

After learning about the inner workings of a bowling ball, you must check to see whether you can still fix it. 

Bring It To Professional

If you have doubts about the cracked bowling ball, you should bring it to the experts. If you have a problem with your bowling ball, you can ask the pro shop if they can get it fixed. Some establishments can recycle or even dispose of used balls. Given the numerous methods by which professional shops can recycle goods 

Signs Of Wear And Tear Of Bowling Balls

​​Repainting, removing visible tracks, replacing finger inserts, polishing, and fixing cracked coverstocks can keep bowling balls in tip-top shape. One sign of an old bowling ball is the loss of its hook and reaction. 

If this happens, it’s time to get a new one. Core separation can also be caused by hitting the pins and hearing a hollow sound.

Can You Put Bowling Balls In The Garbage?

If you’re planning on getting rid of your resin or rubber bowling ball, chances are it will end up in the trash. Due to its composition, it’s not suitable for recycling. Instead, some repurpose these balls into new products.

What Happens In Bowling Balls In Garbage?

Some workers in the garbage area take bowling balls by hand and drop them into a chute, while others pile them up and send them to the landfill. They join other commonly non-recyclable items, such as umbrellas and three-ring binders, that can take thousands of years to degrade. 

Risks In Disposing Of Bowling Balls

From a recycler’s perspective, bowling balls pose several problems. First, they consist of thermoset plastic, which means they can’t be melted down or reshaped. The second issue is that they’re filled with various materials, such as paints, plastics, and chemicals. 

Recycling plants must find ways to make money from the materials they collect, typically through secondary-use markets. For instance, aluminum cans can be cleaned, crushed, and sold to companies that create new containers.

Many materials end up in landfills. Hickland, the former designer of bowling balls, tried to find a way to reuse them. He noted that there were various ways that he could make them into useful items, such as asphalt. Unfortunately, the process involved a lot of energy and money.

Also, according to Miller, the amount of plastic produced globally since the 1960s has gone up to 8.3 billion metric tons. Only 9 percent of this material is recycled. China, which used to buy many recycled materials from the US, stopped letting in different kinds of trash in 2019. Thus, this resulted in a global recycling economy that was spinning.

In 2020, before the lockdown, Janet Napolitano was interviewed about the state of New York’s recycling. She noted that people felt better when they put their items in the recycling bin instead of the trash. A year later, after the pandemic outbreak, she said that people were still unaware of their recycling responsibility.

Can Bowling Balls Be Recycled?

Reduce, reuse, recycle sign set in gradient color.
  • Plastic or polyester bowling balls are impossible to recycle
  • Rubber or resin balls can be recycled

Plastic Or Polyester Bowling Balls

Unfortunately, it’s not feasible to recycle some bowling balls. You cannot recycle resin balls. They contain different materials, making it hard to reuse or recycle them.

If you’re new to bowling, try out plastic or polyester balls. They usually consist of either of these materials. Recycling them can be challenging due to how long they’ll last.

Rubber Or Resin Balls

You have two options for throwing away your old bowling ball: recycle it or throw it in the garbage. A local recycling center can accept resin or rubber balls.

According to a rule, resin and rubber bowling balls can be recycled at any facility. However, ensuring that the facility accepts the balls before dropping them off is essential.

Rubber and resin are both easy to recycle because these materials can be melted down and reshaped into different shapes. The method would be unremarkable if you could recycle your ball this way because bowling balls are only sometimes manufactured out of rubber or resin.

Also, polystyrene is a recyclable material that you can reuse to make new products, like packing peanuts, insulating foam, and plastic cutlery. However, you cannot recycle this material into new bowling balls. 

Also, you can recycle polypropylene into plastic timber, decking, or fencing. Unfortunately, you cannot reclaim this into a new bowling ball. 

Ways To Dispose Of Bowling Balls Safely

  • Upcycle 
  • Sell or donate


Through the process of upcycling, an old bowling ball can be transformed into something valuable. There are a variety of creative ways to reuse this item, such as the following:

  • Craft projects
  • Garden border
  • Repair 
  • Transform into other game

Craft Projects

You can easily turn your bowling balls into art by painting them, using glass tiles, or creating a snowman out of an old one. Plenty of guides on the Internet will teach you how to do this. Also, some local community colleges’ art programs can use these bowling balls.

Garden Border 

Old and broken bowling balls can transform into an exciting garden border. The dirt won’t get washed away by floodwater, and you’ll have a nice visual effect. You can also halve your scarce bowling balls to make them last longer. A gazing ball can also add a bit of uniqueness to your garden.

Take, for instance, the viral story of a homeowner, David Olsen, who discovered 150 bowling balls underneath his house when renovated. He decided to use the balls for his landscape design. They were a great addition to the family’s yard and gave the appearance of a well-designed home. 

The consistency of the balls’ colors made the project look very appealing.

Although the home’s value might not go up due to the balls, this idea is still a great way to get people talking. Some people suggested that he hold a bowling tournament using the balls. He could earn a few bucks by letting the balls stay in place.


If your prized bowling ball has sentimental value, it’s a good idea to keep it in good condition by repairing it. Doing so can restore its original appearance and prevent it from deteriorating. Some simple steps include sanding down the bumps and cracks on the surface and then applying a couple of coats of polish.

However, if your ball has a deep or large crack, it’s best to get a new one. It’s expensive, so you should only get it fixed if it’s minor and easy to set. Also, remember that some leagues may prohibit the repair of balls.

Unlike larger repairs, minor scratches and chips are the easiest to fix because they’re not as big of an issue and won’t require much care. You can sand them with wet sandpaper.

If your bowling balls are not working correctly, you can use a repair kit or buy a sealer and sandpaper. 

Before you can sand them down, you’ll need to fill any cracks. Depending on the type of sealant you choose, it may take up to three days to fully restore them.

After sanding down the entire ball, the next thing you must do is polish the ball. Make sure to take extra care near the fracture and wait until the polish has thoroughly dried before you return to the lanes.

Lawn Game

Create a new outdoor activity with your old ball, like a giant game of billiards or a creative take on the traditional sport of shot put. You can use these bowling balls creatively to create entirely new games. There’s no need to worry; all it takes is a bit of creativity and effort on your part.

Other Games 

You can turn your old bowling ball into an exciting new outdoor activity by creating a game of billiards or shot put. You don’t need to worry; as long as you’re creative and willing to put in the effort, you can make these games happen.

Moreso, you can use your old bowling balls for a fun game in the backyard. For instance, you can make a game of throwing the ball the farthest, or you can try a variation of a game such as crickets or even a type of game known as shuffleboard.

Sell Or Donate

You can easily eliminate your old bowling ball by selling it or donating it online. You can also ask your loved ones if they want to use it. Another option is to post a free bowling ball ad on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. These two sites are great for selling/giving away used items.

You can expect to earn anywhere from ten to seventy dollars for your bowling ball, but the amount you get will depend on its condition. If it is in pristine condition, you can start with a high asking price and then negotiate.

You will likely make more money off a vintage bowling ball if you have it in your possession. People interested in purchasing memorabilia relating to the event may also be interested in buying your ball. 

Next, you can try selling your old ball to a bowling center. However, they may still need to offer the same deal for pre-owned equipment. Because of this, you must inquire about the availability of pre-owned equipment at the store that you typically frequent.

Shipping fees are typically low enough to make much money from selling or giving away bowling balls. However, if you can sell or give away these items, hopefully they will not end up in landfills. 

Where To Donate Bowling Balls

If you intend to give the old bowling balls away, there are a wide variety of organizations that can accept these items, such as:

  • Bowling alleys
  • Youth centers
  • Thrift shops 
  • Zoo

Bowling Centers

A local bowling alley, in addition to being a great place to store your old bowling ball, is also a great place to donate it if you’re looking to get rid of it. These establishments frequently sponsor leagues and teams for children and people of all ages who have special requirements.

Youth Centers

Bowling balls, basketballs, and other sporting equipment are frequently in short supply at youth centers and other places intended for children. Bowling is a fantastic activity that can serve as an alternative for children who do not enjoy participating in team sports such as football or basketball. 

Kids can use bowling balls for various purposes, including making arts and crafts, even if the bowling balls are in poor condition.

Thrift Shops

If you no longer want to use your bowling ball, you can donate it to a thrift shop. This way, you will allow someone else to enjoy the sport without breaking the bank. Thrift shops can also be great places to find supplies for creative projects or home improvement projects.

Before you try and find a bowling ball store that accepts them, you’ll have to call around to different shops and secondhand stores to see if they can accommodate them. It’s essential to note that thrift stores often require that balls be in playable condition.


Toys for the animals at a local sanctuary or zoo could be made from unshattered balls. Animals may sustain injuries due to the cracks in the bowling balls.

One good example is how Emanuel traveled almost 300 miles to deliver a trunk filled with bowling balls to the sanctuary in Georgia. Emanuel is a retired teacher from Georgia who bowls at the Strikers Bowling Alley in Rockingham. Her passion for making toys for animals at a local sanctuary has earned her the support of owner Mike Hill.

Emanuel said she came up with the idea to donate the used bowling balls to the park after seeing Hill throw them away. He agreed to keep them safe until she could retrieve them. She noted that the caretakers of the animals use various toys and balls to keep them healthy and happy.

Emanuel said she came up with the idea to give the used bowling balls to the park after seeing Hill throw them away. He agreed to keep them until she could retrieve them. The caretakers of the animals use the balls and toys to provide enrichment activities for the captive population. 

She also explained that these items are made from fire-resistant materials and can keep the animals healthy and happy.

What Influences Bowling Ball Performance?

The loss of hook and reaction can affect the performance of aging bowling balls. You might need a new one if you can no longer hook the ball with the same ease. In the same way, if the ball makes a hollow noise when striking the pins or a rattling noise when it hits the floor, it probably has a separate core.

As the outer shell of a bowling ball ages, it loses its reactivity and hooks. Even if you bake it a few times a week, it eventually wears out and needs to be replaced. The ball’s responsiveness may differ from when it was new, but that is still no reason to throw it out.

Bowling Ball Maintenance

Black bowling ball with arms carrying a tool box with wrench and bowling pin
The most helpful bowling ball of them all

To keep your bowling balls in tip-top shape, you can polish them, remove any visible tracks, replace finger inserts, and fix cracked coverstocks. But, depending on the crack’s length and depth, a new bowling ball might be better. But here are some tips on how to reasonably maintain your bowling ball:

You should always expect to notice a ring of oil surrounding your ball after you have made a shot. The lanes create this oil, and if there is an excessive amount of it, it can hurt the grip and performance of the lanes.

To prevent this from happening, you should wipe down your ball after each stroke using a microfiber cloth. You can hold it in one hand while the other cleans the surface. After each game, use a cleaning product to wipe down the balls.

Even if you maintain it properly, oil can still seep inside your bowling ball. If you notice that its grip is weakening, you can seek the assistance of a company. To do this, place the ball in an oven preheated to 110 degrees Fahrenheit and bake it while constantly spinning and wiping it.

Cleaning Tips

Also, in equal parts, rubbing alcohol and distilled water can make a great homemade cleaning solution for bowling balls. Shake it well, and add it to a spray bottle.

You’ll need a roll of waterproof tape, a bucket, and a microfiber towel to clean the ball. To keep the water out:

  1. Close the finger holes with masking tape.
  2. After pouring the water into the bucket, add dish soap and let it cool for around 20 minutes.
  3. Turn the ball over several times to clean it thoroughly.

It’s essential to repeatedly dry the ball until it no longer floats on the water’s surface. The time it takes to get all the oil out depends on how long it has been since you last cleaned it.

Grip Maintenance 

Changing the oil yearly is vital for your vehicle to run smoothly. If the old finger inserts remain in your bowling ball, you might need help to bowl well.

Depending on how long you have used these finger inserts, their shape and feel may have changed. These consist of a soft vinyl material that wears down over time, like the rubber on a tire or the sole of a shoe. The size of these inserts’ holes also changes, which can impact the comfort and reach of your grip. 

A good fit and a wide stance are some of the most important factors you should consider when improving your performance.

Not only do the finger inserts have to deal with wear and tear, but they also have to deal with chemicals like rosin and hand conditioners. These can affect the feel and texture of the insert.

Maintaining your bowling equipment is also important to keep it in tip-top shape and improve your game. Every three to four months, replace the old insert.

Resurfacing Bowling Ball

After sixty games, your ball will require new finger inserts and a full resurface. There’s a need to repeat the three actions at regular intervals.

After every game, it’s important to use a bowl cleaner to lessen the grease your ball absorbs. To keep it safe, keep it inside a bag. The interior of this item will be oil-resistant and cushioned to prevent transmission.

Your bowling ball should last for at least ten years with regular care. This maintenance tip is the best option if you have played with it for a long time and are not planning on replacing it.

How To Prevent Cracked Balls 

A cracked bowling ball is often the result of improper storage. After returning from the establishment, many patrons pack away their bags and forget about their balls. It’s important to learn about the sphere’s physical properties because stress can cause it to break. The entire mass of a ball can only be placed on a single spot, which can cause it to break.

One of the most effective ways to avoid a crack is to spin the ball. This method is best for whenever a bowler puts their balls away for a prolonged period. It can help minimize the pressure that the coverstock exerts against the core. Doing this regularly can also help improve the ball’s performance.


Bowling balls are not made from polystyrene but can be reused to create insulating foam, packing peanuts, and plastic cutlery. Meanwhile, plastic bowling balls are not from recycled polypropylene, but you can reuse them to create plastic timber, decking, and fencing. 

Even if you can’t bring your old bowling balls to a recycling center, you can recycle them in other ways. There are plenty of creative individuals out there who are willing to take on the task of reusing or repurposing old bowling balls.

Similar Posts