How to Recycle Pool Inflatables

Do you have an old pool toy that’s had its last day in the sun?

Inflatables doomed for landfill can be turned into beautiful, useful, one-of-a-kind bags!

I first heard of I Used To Be from Ethically Kate on Instagram. I fell in love with their mission and started collecting as many old, forgotten inflatables from work as I could. Rather than throwing them away to be sent to landfill, I Used To Be repurpose them into unique and one-of-a-kind bags, plus other nifty things. They’re made into purses, key chains, or mini, small, or medium-sized bags for any type of occasion, such as heading to the beach, pool, gym or a night away! You can throw all you need in them.

One of the bags made out of pool inflatables made by Nina from I Used To Be.

What’s more, these bags and other repurposed items last REALLY WELL, as they material pool toys are made out is PVC, a type of plastic that’s not recyclable in New Zealand (where I Used To Be is found) and many parts of the world (including Australia). So, rather than throwing them away, pool toys can have their life extended through being repurposed into fun, functional, splash-proof bags!

Once I had a big enough collection going, I sent the pool toys over to New Zealand, packing them in some old boxes I’d collected together from previous online packages I’d received.

Pool inflatables I’d collected, packed in boxes to ship to New Zealand.

If you have old inflatable toys you want to send their way, rather than send to landfill, DM @iusedtobe_official on Instagram, letting them know you want to upcycle your pool toys, or email them at (or even take a moment to check out their sweet ass bags).

You can also see the I Used To Be website for addresses on where you can drop old pool inflatables off in Auckland.

It’s so wonderful to see these materials being reused and repurposed into beautiful bags, giving them a second life <3

Just ensure your inflatables are clean and don’t have mould on them, otherwise they can’t be used.

Nina is the amazing woman behind I Used To Be, making all these beautiful, practical bags out of forgotten pool toy items. I Used To Be was born out of her frustration with the way our society carelessly throws away so much of its waste, and wanted to take up the challenge of reducing plastic pollution.

She wanted to inspire others to think differently about our consumerist culture and its wasteful ways, and see how each of us individually could reduce our waste.

Before and after the inflatables had been packed. Once ready, you can take them to the post office to ship to I Used To Be in New Zealand.

This is a way of looking at so-called “rubbish” differently, one pool toy at a time.

So, if you’re looking to recycle any old inflatable pool toys, here’s how.

How to recycle inflatable pool toys

  1. Collect up any pool toys or inflatables you wish to donate.
  2. Message or email I Used To Be to find out where to post or drop off your inflatables for them to collect (or check out their website, they list some drop-off points in Auckland for those wishing to take their items straight there).
  3. If posting, pack up items into boxes (ensuring they’re clean and free of mould), label the address on, and post away!

Do you have any old pool inflatables you wish to recycle? Also, if you have any ideas or suggestions on ways we as a collective can reduce plastic waste, please share in the comments! We’d love to hear your ideas!

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa