What to do When You Can No Longer Use a Canopy

Most permanent shelters like carports and portable garages are designed to stay outdoors for several months, if not years, at a time. But, while the metal frame of a canopy might be designed to last ten to fifteen years before being replaced, the canopies aren’t designed to last that long. Although canopies are made from heavy-duty polyethylene and treated to be UV resistant and waterproof, they usually last a maximum of five years before being worn out and torn. To keep your portable shelter going, purchasing a replacement canopy is necessary. But what do you do with the old canopy? Polyethylene can’t be recycled and, instead of having these tarps sit in landfills, other options exist for reusing tarps.

One trend for going green has been to reuse materials that won’t decompose. Whether that’s melting down plastics or turning laminated juice cartons into handbags, reusing these unrecyclable pieces of “trash” keeps them out of landfills. As far as tarps are concerned, some fashion designers take old tarps, be it the polyethylene one from your canopy or a canvas truck tarp, and use the material for something fashionable. Freitag, for example, uses old tarps to make bags, be it a handbag or messenger bag, while Real Deal Brazil makes them into hats. Both companies accept donated tarps.

Aside from donating a tarp for fashion, others have found uses for them. Some artists, for example, incorporate tarps into sculptures. But, if you’re not an artist, one suggestion for reusing your old canopy tarps instead of throwing them away is to use them around the house, such as a painting tarp, or to make them into Halloween decorations. Tearing up an old silver tarp from a carport into a spider web and attaching it to your porch means you won’t need to go to the store for Halloween decorations.