Electric Wheelchair Disposal: 4 Safe and Efficient Ways

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Most people wonder what to do with an electric wheelchair once the person who uses it dies or no longer uses it. There are safe and effective ways to dispose of electric wheelchairs using proper equipment.

After conducting research, our experts have found safe and efficient ways of disposing of electric wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, and more!

Read to learn more. 

Check: Best Wheelchair for Outdoor Use

4 Safe Ways To Dispose Of An Electric Wheelchair

According to the World Health Organization, a manual wheelchair may last for about 4-5 years before being replaced due to outgrowing it, damage, or general wear and tear [1].

On the other hand, a motorized wheelchair will last much longer as it is not used as often. A general rule is that an electric wheelchair will last about ten years with minimal problems [2].

After such time or visible aging and damage, disposing of it might be a good idea. But before disposing of your electric wheelchair, ask if another person can use it or not? 

Here are some options to dispose of it:

1- Sell the Wheelchair

elderly couple selling something online

Many people might need a wheelchair but cannot afford to buy a brand new one. This is where you come in!

You can sell your electric wheelchair for a fraction of the price of a new one. Ensure to advertise it well and set a fair price based on the condition. 

More importantly, ensure that the wheelchair is in working order, meaning that all the parts are there and nothing is broken. If it’s not, you’ll have to repair it first, or you won’t get as much for it.

But where can you sell it, though?

There are a few places, including:

  • eBay;
  • Facebook Marketplace;
  • Local classified ads;
  • Word of mouth.

Do your research and see where would be best to reach a possible buyer.

2- Donate It

donating used items

Many charitable organizations and care facilities accept donated items for charity. The best thing about donating is that it helps those in need.

If you’re not sure where to donate, try contacting your local hospital, nursing home, or a disability organization, they might have connections with organizations that can make the donation seamless.

If such assistive technology equipment has a dead wheelchair battery or a frozen battery, consider donating it as some organizations might be able to repair it and provide aid batteries to keep it running. 

If you consider donating it, make sure that the reputable organization you’re donating to.

GoFundMe is a public charity and organization that hosts a website where people post campaigns for different causes [4].

So if you need money to buy a new wheelchair or need help getting rid of your old one and raise funds for a new one, you can post a campaign on this website.

Just be sure to write a good description and set a reasonable goal. Most importantly, be sure to promote your campaign.

Many stories of people donating their electric wheelchair only to find out that the organization sold it for profit!

3- Return to the Manufacturer

Some manufacturers have a reuse program and disposal services where you can return the wheelchair to them, and they will take care of wheelchair disposal for you. 

This is an excellent option to ensure the wheelchair is disposed of safely and adequately. Check with the manufacturer first, as not all companies have this program.

4- Contact a Disposal Service

elderly person calling someone

If your manufacturer doesn’t have a disposal service, you can always contact professionals who will care for junk items like your unused electric wheelchair. 

A disposal service company will come and pick up your electric wheelchair and dispose of it for you.

And, if your electric wheelchair is broken, you can also contact a disposal service. They will take it away and recycle the parts.

As we all know, disposing of medical equipment can be costly and hazardous. I mean, you can’t just put it with everyday trash! This process is called DME recycling [3].

DME recycling helps lower part of this cost while improving access and availability to what is needed to help the environment.

Ultimately, calling a disposal service company is an excellent option if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting rid of your electric wheelchair.

All you have to do is contact them, and they will take care of everything!

Considerations When Disposing of an Electric Wheelchair

1- Environmental Considerations 

recycle bins

Before disposing of the chair, make sure to recycle the parts that can be recycled. You can find recycling bins or recycling stations near you.  

Don’t just leave it on the side of the road! This is considered littering, and you can get fined for it. In addition, this is detrimental to the environment, and it can be recycled. 

Instead, contact a household recycling center or environmental services company that will take care of the whole process for you without inflicting harm to the environment. 

2- Lifecycle of a Wheelchair

As I said before, there is just a certain lifespan of a wheelchair, so think if the lifespan of your wheelchair is already reached its peak if so, recycling it might be a good idea than selling it.

3- Transporting Your Electric Wheelchair

transporting electric wheelchair

When disposing of the chair, you might want to consider how you will transport it from your place to another.

When you donate or sell something, the other person will take care of the transportation.

But in this case, if you’re giving it to a disposal service station, they will usually take care of it. 

Ensure that you make preparations beforehand to deliver it to where it is needed without any trouble. This is important when factoring in costs. 

READ MORE: How Much Does a Wheelchair Cost?

4- Rejection from Organizations

Some organizations and charities might not want to take your electric wheelchair, despite no cost accompanying it. 

This can occur when: 

  • The chair is damaged and not in working condition;
  • It’s an old model;
  • There is no need for it;
  • The chair is too large or heavy to be transported.

If this is the case, you might have to resort to a disposal service.

When Should You Dispose of an Electric Wheelchair? 

old man thinking

There are a few reasons you might want to dispose of your electric wheelchair.

  • After a few years of use, the chair has reached the end of its lifespan.
  • The person who used it passed away. In this case, you might want to donate or sell it to someone who can still use it.
  • The electric scooters are damaged or not working. This is because it might be hazardous to keep around the house.

In any case, be sure to weigh your options and decide what’s best for you!

READ MORE: Falling Out of Wheelchair: Prevention Tips

FAQs

Can you scrap a mobility scooter? 

Mobility scooters can be scrapped, but you will need to remove the battery terminals and motor yourself. The metal and plastic parts can be recycled, so they should be.

Can you sell wheelchairs on Facebook?

Yes, but you will need to take precautions to ensure you’re not taken advantage of. You can ask for referrals from friends or family or do your background check on a prospective buyer.

Can you scrap an electric wheelchair?

Yes, but electric wheelchairs contain batteries that are harmful to the environment, so instead of scrapping them off yourself, you can pay a fee to have your broken wheelchair disposed of at a junkyard.

Conclusion

Before sending your electric wheelchair to the trash, consider donating or reselling it to someone who can still find a use for it. 

Be sure to select an option that works best for you and is sustainable to the environment. 

Thank you for reading!

dog on top of an electric wheelchair
Did this guide on electric wheelchair disposal help you? Let us know how you disposed of yours down in the comment section below!

References: 

  • 1. World Health Organization. (2008). Guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less-resourced settings. World Health Organization.
  • 2. Quaglia, G., Franco, W., & Oderio, R. (2011). Wheelchair. Q, a motorized wheelchair with stair climbing ability. Mechanism and Machine Theory46(11), 1601-1609.
  • 3. Ordway, A., Pitonyak, J. S., & Johnson, K. L. (2018). Durable medical equipment reuse and recycling: uncovering hidden opportunities for reducing medical waste. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology.
About Claire Bonneau

Claire is a registered nurse with experience in freelance medical writing. She is very passionate about geriatric nursing and seniors care and education (it is her favorite area of nursing). She worked with many seniors in a variety of medical settings to provide high-quality education and instructions about medical conditions and proper self-care. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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