April is known as National Recycling Month. As equestrians and barn owners, it’s time to step and take the pledge to produce less waste. With the average person generating nearly 4 pounds of trash daily, it’s obvious that there’s a problem. Horse owners are just as guilty as anyone! From plastic shaving bags to soda cans and water bottles, there are plenty of recyclable materials found in the barn. How can you help? Find out!

Make a difference by using the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Reducing Your Output

You can make some important changes around the barn in order to reduce the amount of waste your facility produces. In the process, you may even enjoy a few extra dollars in your pocket. A little planning ahead can go a long way!

  • Bulk buying: Bedding and grain can be bought in larger quantities to reduce excess packaging. As an added bonus, you usually save money when you buy products in bulk.
  • Rubber mats: Use mats in stalls to reduce the amount of bedding needed. Check out these mats by RAMM here! 
  • Switch to LED lighting: They last much longer than regular light bulbs. That means less buying and replacing!
  • Buy products that last: Long life items like concentrated shampoos or bug sprays reduce packaging, since you are not buying them as frequency. Furthermore, you should purchase quality stable supplies that will hold against the vigorous demands of barn work.
  • Switch to reusable: Certain items like paper towels can be replaced with cloth towels. Another idea is placing a water dispenser in the tack room or office. This will encourage the usage of water bottles can that be refilled.
  • Shop with cloth: Reusable bags, such as cloth ones, should be used when buying tack and supplies. You can eliminate your usage of plastic bags.
  • Avoid Styrofoam: Look for packaging that is easy to recycle or reusable. Styrofoam is hazardous and has troubling breaking down.

Products to Reuse

There are a ton of items that can have multiple purposes around your horse farm. Some may even surprise you. These clever ideas are worth trying!

  • Paper feed bags can be used as hoof packs or poultice wraps
  • Empty and clean sprays bottles to reuse for bug spray or conditioners
  • Old towels are very handy for drying horses or cleaning tack
  • Cat food cans can be painted and hung up as bridle holders
  • Decorate and hang old horseshoes for rustic barn or house décor
  • Plastic feed bags can be used as liners for flower beds to keep weeds down
  • Reclaimed lumber can be great for new building projects
  • Torn blankets can be turned into saddle or girth covers
  • Buckets with small cracks can be used as grooming totes

Create a Recycling Plan

By recycling unneeded items, you can reduce water contamination, air pollutants, and greenhouse gas emissions. It’s important to develop a recycling system that is convenient and easy to follow. This will make it less of a chore! You should also sign up for curbside pickup, which allows you to put out recyclables weekly with your trash.

Start by placing blue recycle bins next to every trash can in your barn. You can even include a list of recyclable items to make it easier for boarders and yourself.

When working on building projects, remember that wood products and even scrap metal are recyclable. Call a few local facilities to see if they will take your unneeded supplies.

It doesn’t matter if your facility has 2 horses or twenty, every little bit can help! In the end, you’ll save money and get more out of your items. It’s a win-win!


**Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn’t writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily’s background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm.