Last month, we sang the praises of ski swaps as a great way to give new life to old skis and snowboards. But events such as swaps will never divert all old ski sticks and boots from the landfill. Fortunately, there's a concerted effort underway to turn the gear no one wants back into useful items—and maybe even back into skis and snowboards.
Last year, the Snowsports Industries of America (SIA) started a pilot program in which it collected unwanted skis, snowboards and boots at participating ski shops in Colorado and then put them through a multi-step recycling process in order to separate the metal and plastic materials. The plastics can then be used as feedstock for building materials and flooring (Trek lumber is a good example).
"The pilot program was highly successful," says Greg Schneider, the recycling program manager, "we collected 100 tons of equipment."