Celebrate Earth Day by giving a second life to your mobility device

Happy Earth Day! When we think about recycling, it’s often our pop cans or egg cartons that first come to mind. Yet mobility equipment also gets old, or we outgrow it, or our needs change. And since the last thing we want is to drop wheelchairs curbside and send them to landfill, so we thought what better time to share some resources on what to do with your wheelchairs, rollators and other equipment once you’re ready to part with them. Here are a few ideas:

Pass them along to someone in your network

If you’re ready to pass along your wheelchair or other device (or to rehome it on behalf of someone you know), ask around in your community to see if there’s someone in your network who may need it. Posting on social media such as Facebook, Instagram or any other platforms can be a great first step. 

Describe the condition of your device, along with any notes on whether you’re selling or donating it. You might also note that you’re willing for your post to be shared beyond your page. Including measurements plus a photo or two can help readers assess whether the device is right for them. 

You can also explore donating equipment to an agency or nursing home, although be aware that they may decline due to safety and liability concerns. 

Donate items to a charity 

Organizations like the Canadian Red Cross and others are open for donations of mobility equipment including wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, bath seats and benches, commodes and toilet seats and more. Check out the Canadian Red Cross to read more about donation protocols (equipment is no longer being accepted in Ontario, for example) and details about gift-in-kind tax receipts that may be available. 

Other organizations take used equipment and refurbish it to sell at a fraction of the cost. Ottawa-based STRIDE Wheelchairs is a non-profit operated by retired engineers, former health care professionals and persons with disabilities, that takes in wheelchairs and other equipment (you can even arrange for pickup for a small fee). Again, you should connect with the organization for full details and to make arrangements 

Another social enterprise launched in 2017 by students at Western University also accepts and refurbishes wheelchairs 

Sell or give away your devices via online platforms

Other organizations offer online platforms specific to selling mobility devices from crutches to scooters: 

The Canadian Disability Resources Society has an online classified page for donations 

AssistList is another resource with an equipment listings service 

Beyond these specialized classifieds, more general platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji can be places to donate or sell used equipment. 

Again, be sure to fully describe your equipment, include pictures (from multiple angles if possible) and dimensions that will help potential buyers assess whether your equipment is right for them. 

As with all online selling, be sure to meet any potential buyers in public places to avoid any scams or dangerous situations. 

Bonus tip

As with all used equipment, it’s best to buff up your device so you pass it along in the best condition possible. Check out our recent post on how to clean your wheelchair (and other devices) for some useful guidelines. You might even consider adding a friendly note with tips on how best to use the device.