Consumer Reports contacted five companies that make treadmills and other exercise equipment to ask about recycling options. The two who responded said they were not aware of any large-scale recycling initiatives for these sorts of machines.
Anyone trying to figure out how to get rid of equipment should first make sure an item truly isn’t functional, Miller says. (Test it out if you just haven’t used it as anything but a clothes rack in a while.) In some cases, an item may still be usable or easily repaired—potentially even under warranty—and could be donated. Many treadmills have lifetime warranties on the frame and motor, and three to seven years of coverage on parts. But if you’re outside the warranty period, you may not want to invest in a potentially costly repair for a treadmill you don’t want.
If the equipment really is no longer functional, contact the manufacturer to ask if it has a take-back program, Miller says. Even if these programs don’t exist now, consumer interest could promote their adoption in the future.
If the manufacturer doesn’t have a recycling program, as is likely, Miller says that you should contact your city or municipality to see if there’s an electronic waste (sometimes called e-waste) recycling program that will take equipment and recycle the components.
If not, some cities offer bulk trash pickup. If such an option isn’t available, you may need to contact a junk removal company that could take it out of your home for a fee, Galeotafiore says.
In Europe, some countries have started to require manufacturers to have a plan to take back and recycle equipment at the end of its life cycle, Miller says. This type of program, known as extended producer responsibility, started to apply to exercise equipment in France last year.
Similar regulations don’t exist in most of the U.S. yet. “Manufacturers need to do a much better job about coming up with a plan for the end of life of these appliances,” Miller says.