For people like me who aren’t as athletic as others, disc golf was an excellent way to get some exercise while having fun at the same time. It’s also surprisingly easy to learn, and you don’t have to spend as much on the equipment. In fact, a set of high-quality disc golf discs can last for years before needing replacement. So, the question now is, what to do with old disc golf discs?
For older and worn-out disc golf discs, there are several things you can do after they have served their purpose. Some examples include repairing them, storing them as part of your collection, or recycle them to make new discs. The last option is the most popular, but you should know that not all disc golf discs can be recycled due to the type of plastic they use.
When Should You Retire Your Old Disc Golf Disc?
Before discussing what to do with them, let’s first discuss when you should retire your old disc golf disc.
As mentioned, most high-quality disc golf discs can last for years before you need to replace them. While their long-lasting durability can be good for your savings and is undoubtedly more cost-efficient, this doesn’t mean you can use the same set forever.
After all, the more you use your discs, the more susceptible they become to wear and tear. In this case, your discs’ performance and accuracy might decline as well. Of course, how often you need to replace them will depend on how often you play and the type of terrain your disc golf courses have.
For those who play almost daily, they will likely need to replace their discs more often. At the same time, occasional players can enjoy a longer lifespan from their discs.
However, the general rule of thumb is that you should only replace your disc golf discs when they no longer serve their purpose or when they become too light.
While lighter discs require less effort to throw to get farther, external factors like wind can affect their course more, making your shots generally less accurate.
Can You Repair An Old Disc Golf Disc?
In general, yes, you can. Some players choose to repair their old and worn-out discs so that they can get more use out of them instead of immediately retiring them.
However, if you’re playing in tournaments, it’s generally recommended to keep the repairs to a minimum since the PDGA has a specific set of rules for what discs can be used. This helps keep a more level playing field and ensures no player has an unfair advantage over the others.
Therefore, all discs used in official tournaments must strictly comply with the given regulations and undergo a rigorous testing process for approval.
Suppose you’re only repairing minor dings and scratches. In that case, you don’t have to worry about being disqualified as long as the repairs don’t alter your discs’ flight.
If you don’t want to risk it, you can always have your disc repaired so that you can store them as part of your collection. Alternatively, you can also recycle your old discs.
Recycling Old Disc Golf Discs
When you decide to retire your old disc golf discs, aside from having them repaired or adding them to your collection, you can also choose to recycle them and use the plastic to create new ones.
However, before you do, it’s crucial to note that not all disc golf discs can be recycled since some types of plastics aren’t meant to be recyclable.
Because of this, before you go this route for your old discs, you need to identify what type of plastic was used for them.
Types of Plastics Used for Disc Golf Discs
In general, two types of plastics are used to make disc golf discs – thermoplastics like polypropene and thermosets like polyurethane.
Nowadays, most disc golf discs are manufactured using thermoplastics, specifically polypropene, which offers more versatility and stability compared to thermoset plastics. However, what’s most notable about this type of plastic is that it can be re-melted and re-shaped later on.
This means it can be recycled and used as the raw material for new disc golf discs. Moreover, since it’s recyclable, it doesn’t have a strong smell or emits toxic fumes during the production process.
Aside from this, the recyclable nature of thermoplastic discs makes them more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives.
However, you should note that different types of thermoplastics melt at various temperatures, so you need to know what type of thermoplastic it is beforehand.
On the other hand, some disc golf discs are still made from thermosets or thermosetting plastics, although they’re no longer as common as thermoplastic discs. The defining characteristic of thermosetting plastics is that they remain in a permanent solid state after curing.
This happens because the polymers in thermosets form a permanent and unbreakable bond during the curing process. As a result, they remain solid and don’t melt, even when you expose them to extremely high temperatures.
While this gives them increased durability and strength, even under scorching conditions, this permanent state also means that disc golf discs made from this type of plastic cannot be recycled.
Moreover, since they cannot be recycled, they can be harmful to the environment, mainly if improperly disposed of.
The Advantages and Challenges of Recycled Disc Golf Discs
Overall, if you don’t want to repair or store your old disc golf discs, recycling them can be an excellent and more sustainable alternative.
Moreover, you can also choose to use recycled disc golf discs since they offer several advantages. However, like with any material, using recycled disc golf discs also have some disadvantages.
With that said, check out their advantages and disadvantages below.
Advantages of Recycled Disc Golf Discs
- First and foremost, these are more eco-friendly and sustainable options than discs made from thermosetting plastics. By choosing to use recycled discs, you’re reducing the number of plastic materials being sent to landfills.
- Aside from sustainability, these discs also offer superior grip, making it easier for players to handle their discs in any weather.
- In addition, they offer a shorter break-in period, allowing these discs to adapt quickly to a player’s technique.
- Lastly, they’re also significantly less expensive than brand new discs since manufacturers no longer need to pay for additional material to create them.
Downsides of Recycled Disc Golf Discs
- Since they’re made from recycled plastic, they tend to be less durable than brand new discs.
- Due to their lower durability, their lifespan significantly decreases, so you might need to replace them more often than newer, non-recycled discs.
Overall, most disc golf discs are designed to last as long as possible, but this doesn’t mean they can be used forever. After all, constantly using them can lead to more wear and tear, especially if you play every day.
So, once your disc golf discs don’t perform as well anymore, it might be time to retire them and buy new ones. Of course, you don’t have to throw your old discs away. Instead, you can repair them for further use or store them and add them to your collection.
Aside from these, you can also recycle them, but there are a few things you need to know before you recycle them, such as what type of plastic was used for their construction.