What to do with old equipment that you no longer need?

I am sure everyone has come across this problem! What to do with old equipment that you no longer need? e…g as your mobility, and support needs change over time, or you found equipment wasn’t helpful or no longer helpful. It accumulates and ends up taking over the space, and unless it was supplied by Mediquip, and is replaced because it’s broken, etc, they won’t take it. We have an assortment of zimmer frames, walking sticks, and other bits that have been arranged by NHS or Social Services, that charity shops won’t take, and the only solution offered were to call the council to ask them to take it away (as rubbish/landfill!). I have tried to find out if charities exist, or other way that they can get used. Anyone found any solutions?

Try the Red Cross.

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Or failing that - Age UK

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Hi @Sun-light-17,

Apologies for the lengthy response in advance, but I thought you’d probably appreciate it if we offered you a few options.

Some equipment isn’t re-useable because it has been designed for a specific individual, or because it must meet certain safety standards. However, a lot of second-hand disability equipment can be donated or sold.

Donating equipment

Some local charities will accept donations of disability equipment. For example, Scope will accept items from within a 30-mile radius of their head office in Milton Keynes. Visit www.scope.org.uk for details.

Some local Salvation Army branches will accept donations of second-hand wheelchairs. Find your nearest branch at www.salvationarmy.org.uk

Disabled Equipment Sent Overseas (DESO) accepts donations including crutches, walking sticks and wheelchairs, and gives them to people in need overseas. Visit www.desouk.org for details.

Sites like Freegle (www.ilovefreegle.org) and Freecycle (www.freecycle.org) connect people giving away an item with those trying to find something.

Selling equipment

The Disability Equipment Service (DES) (www.disabilityequipmentservice.co.uk) is an online marketplace for new and used equipment.

Disabled Gear (www.disabledgear.com) is a free-to-use site where you can advertise and search for second-hand equipment.

The Mobility Market (www.themobilitymarket.co.uk) lists second-hand mobility equipment for sale.

Some companies will buy back second-hand equipment, such as stairlifts, as they can be re-conditioned. Contact the supplier of your item to ask.

Ebay (www.ebay.co.uk) has a section for selling mobility, disability and medical equipment.

I hope this is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us, either by email or on the helpline: 0808 800 0303 (Monday to Friday 9am to 7 pm except Bank Holidays, Saturday 10am to 2pm).

Best wishes,

They don’t take it back like the old days hospitals cost more too sterilize wicked

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Thanks Gerard, so far, I have not asked those charities specifically, but did find so far that e.g. British heart foundation don’t accept mobility aids, which I think they class as medical equipment, and I imagine that to do be the same in other places, but I will find out. It’s such a stupid waste.

Yes, it makes no sense. I understand they need to be sterile. In hospital equipment - chairs, beds, etc, are re-used. By their nature, the equipment will only be used for specific purposes/periods, and they will always be needed. Such a waste.

Thanks Reah.
I understand people need to be properly assessed, and matched to equipment, and also there have to be safety standards, but that is why I thought there would be a charity or social enterprise that might exist that takes/provides the equipment.
I did a bit of research before posting on this forum, and had already tried contacting Disabled Equipment Sent Overseas. I don’t think they are in operation (or at least not very active, and not taking equipment). I re-sent my email to another address for DESO, as I heard nothing, and they got back to me and re-directed my to try Salvation Army. Re charities, ones I tried so far dont take medical/disabled equipment, but I will follow up with ones you suggested (although it is not a wheelchair, there are walking sticks and walking frame, etc). We are not looking to sell it. For people in the UK, they should get free mobility aids via NHS or social services (and be properly assessed) so I am not sure re freegle.

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I get your struggle with old equipment piling up and taking over your space. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. But don’t fret, there are some options out there! First things first, have you thought about reaching out to harmonycr.com? They specialize in medical equipment. They might be able to take some of that equipment off your hands and give it a second life! Another option is to check out local Facebook groups or online marketplaces. You never know who might need some equipment and would be willing to take it off your hands. Plus, you might even make a few bucks in the process!

A physiotherapist once told me that mobility aids, walking sticks, crutches and the like can’t be recycled as many people do not check or change the ferrules regularly and continue to use them even worn right down to the metal. This could compromise the integrity of the the metal and put future users at risk. I don’t know if this is right but was what I was told.

I got told to take my aids to the tip as it would cost too much nhs to wash and make sure its 100% fit for use again. What a waste full world we live in today.