How do I get rid of luggage?

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You’ve finally decided to part ways with your old Samsonite. Over the years, it’s accrued stains, scuff marks, and tears of all kinds; an upgrade is long overdue. But before you dump that luggage in the garbage, you should know that even a used suitcase has plenty of recyclable value.

As Recycle Bank writes, suitcases are made of several valuable materials that are recyclable, including the zippers, plastic handles, and rubber wheels. The problem, however, is that your local curbside recycling program likely won’t accept the bag as is—you’d have to disassemble it on your own and then research whether the individual components can be recycled via your curbside program. You’re probably not going to do that.

Instead, contact your local recycler to see if they have a bulk pickup program that will offer to recycle your suitcase on your behalf. If that fails, TerraCycle, a consumer-waste recycle program, has its own luggage and travel bag recycling program. To participate, you’ll have to pay for a TerraCycle box to ship it (which won’t come cheap, as small boxes start at roughly $89). According to their website, however, they’ll separate the metals, fibers, plastics, and fabrics and recycle them for you, saving you from the effort of having to disassemble it on your own.

If these options don’t work, you do have plenty of other easy (and cheaper) solutions to the problem of your leftover suitcases—that might even do some good. Ebags, an online suitcase retailer, recently partnered with GoodWill to accept suitcases for donation. The process is free; just print out a free shipping label on their website and ship it in a box of your choosing. (You’ll also receive $25 off toward a purchase of a suitcase on their website.) For your bag to be eligible, all wheels, handles, and zippers must be in working condition to be donated, so it can’t be totally ruined by the time you need to offload it.

Here’s another tip, courtesy of a recent Reddit thread: If your bag’s still in good condition, do an online search for nearby foster care agencies, in addition to local emergency shelters. “Guests often need luggage to transport the belongings they’ve accumulated during their stay,” u/tradingthoughts writes. “They also end up using garbage bags to carry their essentials around.” Be sure to contact them in advance and ask whether they need suitcases before making the trip. While you’re at it, you might also check local Facebook groups for other organizations and non-profits that could benefit from your used suitcase.

Luggage pieces like suitcases, duffle bags, and travel backpacks go through a lot over the years. They get tossed on conveyor belts, squeezed into cargo holds of planes, and packed to the brim with all your belongings inside. It’s no surprise that they won’t last forever, especially if you travel a lot and maybe don’t tend to buy luggage for hundreds of dollars.

Sticking to affordable suitcases is absolutely fine, but you will end up replacing them more often. So what should you do when the day has come, and you’re getting rid of your suitcase?

If it’s still in decent condition, is there a better option than just throwing it away? Luckily there is, and this complete guide on how to donate old suitcases and what else you can do with them will help you find the perfect second home for your luggage.

Where To Donate Suitcases:

If you’re thinking of donating suitcases or other luggage items, you first need to make sure that it’s still in good condition. You cannot donate luggage that is broken or damaged, although minor faults like a few scrapes should still be acceptable. Here are some things you can do with your old luggage.

A lot of children in foster care have to move around frequently and usually leave their homes unexpectedly. This means that they rarely have a suitcase or bag with them and are forced to rely on what their foster families will give them.

Giving your old but still usable luggage to a foster care agency will ensure that the suitcase or bag can still be appreciated in the future and might just make a child’s day a little bit brighter. There are several non-profits in the US that focus on second-hand luggage, so have a look at whether there is a collection point near you.

At the beginning of the year, the popular luggage brand Briggs & Riley announced that they would give anyone who donates a suitcase through the non-profit organization Comfort Cases up to $100 in vouchers towards their online store. Note that this special offer is not valid all of the time, and terms and conditions apply. Double-check their website to see if you are eligible and what months this deal is available.

If you’re unable to donate your luggage to foster care, you should still look into giving your suitcase away to a charitable organization or good cause. Have a look at second-hand shops near you and ask whether they are taking donations.

Since good luggage can be expensive, suitcases are usually a popular item. Goodwill is also very active with luggage donation, although this will depend on the location. Prioritize donating to places that are part of a non-profit organization so any funds can go to charity.

Especially in big cities, there will be a good amount of women’s shelters, homeless shelters, or youth projects that are always looking for donations. These charities frequently work with people who have lost everything, so every little bit helps. Your suitcase might not be necessary for you anymore but someone else could still get a lot of use out of it. Again, make sure your luggage is in good condition before you donate it.

What To Do Before You Donate Your Old Suitcases

Before you can donate your used luggage to places like foster care agencies or shelters, you need to make sure it’s in good condition. This is an excellent time to give your suitcase a once-over and clean it out. Make sure there are no personal belongings left inside, and don’t forget to check any small inside pockets or hidden zippers that you might have forgotten about.

If it’s a suitcase, check whether it has a zipper in the lining, which is always a place where small items can accidentally get lost. Wipe everything down and maybe spray with a scented spray or fabric softener to make your bag feel fresh and like-new. 

What Else Can You Do With Old Luggage Other Than Donation?

Sometimes shelters or charities aren’t currently taking any donations, or perhaps you can’t find one near you. In that case, don’t just throw away your used suitcases, though! There are still some other options you can consider.

  1. Give it to a friend

Just because you don’t want your old luggage anymore doesn’t mean that it’s worthless. Ask around and see whether there are any friends or family members who could use your suitcases or bags.

Also, maybe consider if you don’t want to keep it after all. Luggage isn’t only useful for traveling. It can be a great way of storing things in your attic or basement, for example, or maybe be helpful for collecting old clothing you don’t need anymore, which you can then easily take to a second-hand store without having to unpack it. 

  1. Have it fixed

If you cannot donate your old luggage to foster care or charity because it is broken, then why not have it fixed? It’s easy to always buy something new if an item breaks, but it’s also terrible for the environment and expensive in the long run.

Why not give your suitcase a second chance and take it to a local repair store? This mostly makes sense for high-quality luggage, but even a cheap suitcase could be worth repairing for minor issues like a broken zipper. You might even be able to do basic repairs like a hole in the fabric at home if you have sewing supplies.

  1. Upcycle your suitcase

If you have a particularly nice piece of luggage, why not turn it into something completely different? Spend an afternoon on Pinterest and let yourself be inspired by all the possibilities for home decor or functional upcycling projects.

Maybe your old suitcase could become a dog bed or a wall-mounted shelf. You’ll be surprised what you can do even without needing excessive knowledge of tools and crafting. Invite some of your friends over for drinks and then spend the evening painting your old suitcase to turn it into an exciting new piece of art that can serve a function and hold objects or clothes in a closet or on a shelf.

  1. Have a garage sale

A used suitcase is a great garage sale item and might even make you a little bit of money that can go towards your next suitcase. Selling your used suitcases will work best if they’re branded and in good condition. Budget luggage that didn’t cost much to begin with, will be much harder to sell and will most likely be more suitable for donation.

Can You Recycle Old Luggage?

Unfortunately, in most cities, you cannot recycle old suitcases or backpacks. The materials they are made of are usually not eligible for communal recycling projects, and you shouldn’t just blindly throw away your luggage in recycling.

If your old bags or suitcases are completely unusable and broken to the point of no repair, you need to keep an eye out for curbside pickup schedules and get rid of your luggage that way. Some places might have special curbside recycling, which will take unusual items like luggage pieces, in some cases, which might be a more environmentally friendly option for your used bags. 

What can you do with suitcases?

7 Creative Ways to Store Your Luggage, Suitcases, and Carry-on Bags.
Store luggage under your bed. ... .
Store your carry-on inside a suitcase. ... .
Use your luggage to store other stuff. ... .
Store your suitcases on a high shelf in your closet or garage. ... .
Turn your suitcase into a shoe rack. ... .
Hang your luggage from sturdy hooks or pegs..

Is an old suitcase recyclable?

While you can't just throw a full piece of luggage in the recycling bin, you can still recycle most of it. This does mean you'll have to disassemble the luggage into pieces.

Can I put a suitcase in the bin UK?

Leave by dustbins in the street on rubbish collection day. just before bin men come. make sure there is nothing to identify you on suitcase that can trace back to you as in some cases this could be defined as litter and get a fine.

How do I dispose of luggage in London?

If you need to dispose of items which are not suitable for reuse, please call the City of London Contact Centre on to arrange a collection by our waste contractor Veolia. Collections are made on Monday and Thursday between 8am-4pm. You cannot book specific time slots.