What to do with popped inflatables this summer

As the summer holidays approach, many of us will be using paddling pools, rubber rings & the like to help keep the kids (and ourselves!) entertained. But what happens when your pool goes pop or your flamingo goes flat? Read on to find out what you can do with your popped inflatable – without resorting to throwing it away.

9 minutes to read

by Katie Skelton  / July 8th 2022

The popularity of cheap inflatables

Whether it’s the rise of social media posts with ‘Instagrammable’ inflatables in bright blue pools, or simply a growing number of cheap inflatables being sold at seaside resorts, many people view inflatables as good for one summer season and not worth investing money in to get one of higher quality.

And once they go pop, it’s a ‘nuisance’ to carry a broken rubber ring back with you from the beach in order to dispose of it properly. This means that many punctured inflatables are just left on the beach – they’re so cheap that most don’t even see the point in repairing one when it probably costs less to buy another one.

While we can’t directly stop the constant images on social media of people using new inflatables every summer, we can do our best to make ours last.

Repair them as best you can

Even if you’re the type to shy away from any sort of DIY, we promise this will be achievable even for the most DIY-averse of you.

Start with holding your full inflatable underneath some water, and check for bubbles to see where the hole is. Put a piece of duct tape on the hole when it’s still inflated, using strong glue to make sure the patch will hold when you’re using it. Make sure the glue is waterproof!

Or, for an even stronger repair, purchase one of the many inflatable repair kits online and your inflatables will last you even longer. The kits are fairly low cost and you’ll get multiple uses out of them.

Upcycle your broken inflatable

Is your inflatable too broken to repair, or does it have too many holes that duct tape won’t fix? Don’t give up and head to the bin. Instead, there are many ways you can be creative and upcycle the material.

While this might take a bit more of a sturdy hand and patience than throwing things away would, it’ll be much more rewarding. If you’ve already got a sewing kit for repairing torn uniforms or clothes, dig that out and get sewing. Or, for an even stronger build, use a sewing machine.

The material from your inflatables can be cut and used as a waterproof beach bag, or if you’ve only got a tiny bit of salvageable material you could make a small purse or a phone pouch. The options are endless.

If that’s too much skill for you, why not get your kids involved and make a crafts session out of it? You could make new decorations for their rooms or the garden, using the inflatables’ material to make brightly coloured pinwheels, saving on using cardboard or paper.

Check out Pinterest for some upcycling inspiration, too.

Wyatt & Jack’s inflatable amnesty

One of Wyatt & Jack’s amazing upcycled creations

If your inflatable is broken beyond repair and you’re out of ideas on how to upcycle it yourself, donate it to Wyatt & Jack’s inflatable amnesty. They’ll create something wonderful out of your broken inflatables and give the material a new lease of life. They’re a UK-based business creating bags and accessories from salvaged bouncy castles, inflatables, and deckchairs.

As well as knowing your inflatables aren’t going to landfill, you’ll also have the option to have a bag made for yourself. And if you’ve got a large number of items to send away, Wyatt & Jack will set you up as a ‘collection point’ to take all your items off you!


Don’t buy inflatables

There’s no hiding from the fact that inflatables are plastic – and a quick Ecosia search for plastic-free inflatables comes up with nothing. Inflatables are typically made with polyvinyl chloride, which is a synthetic petroleum-based plastic made to be durable. But, it’s one of the hardest plastics to recycle. They can also end up polluting the sea where they can negatively impact marine life, as animals will accidentally ingest the smaller bits of plastic. Microplastics are now in the food chain and in humans as a result of marine life consuming plastic from the water they live in, and humans going on to eat the contaminated fish.

As fun as inflatables can be, if you’re worried about their impact on the environment then the best choice is to steer clear from buying them at all.

If you’re realistically not going to use the inflatable that much, or your children will quickly outgrow it, then it’s worth reconsidering whether the benefits really do outweigh the costs. It can be hard at first to refrain from buying things you’re so used to having, particularly if it seems that everyone else has inflatables.

But with a bit of creativity and drive, you can have an inflatable-free summer without any loss in fun!

Download Ailuna to start your sustainable summer

If giving up inflatables seems a little daunting to you, download the Ailuna app and join our community of people like you who want to do their part and make a difference in the world. We use behavioural science techniques, challenging the users of our app to commit to small yet impactful acts of sustainability. 

We hope to see you there!

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