RepurposedMATERIALS is helping industries across the nation reduce their environmental impact

While it is impossible to know for sure how many street sweeper brooms are replaced each year, there are ways to get some idea of the number.   

New York City alone has about 450 traditional street sweepers. Denver has 30. While most small communities might have just one or two street sweepers, you can begin to imagine how many of these machines are in operation across the country.  

For a variety of factors – from age and maintenance of the machine to the type of streets and the debris on them to the expertise of the operator – street sweeper brooms must periodically be replaced. It’s estimated that in an average community, a street sweeper goes through three to four brooms per year.  

Environmentally conscious street maintenance managers may do their best to recycle used items, but sweeper brooms, which consist of multiple materials, aren’t easily recycled.  

Actually, the best way to divert something from the landfill is to simply continue the use it. For as long as possible that an item or material can fulfill its original function, it stays out of the dump. But all good things must end, even the effectiveness of street sweeper brooms. 

And the environmental impact is bigger than just street sweepers. Tube brooms are used for sweeping airport runways and for asphalt paving, as well as numerous other tasks.  

Is there a way to prevent these tube brooms from being sent directly to the dump? Is there a second life for a tube broom once it ceases to be effective at its original purpose?  

To put a new twist on an old phrase, “One man’s trash is an animal’s treasure.”  

Tube brooms are being utilized as scratching posts for large animals in pastures, livestock pens and in zoos across the country. To the delight of everything from horses and cows to giraffes, elephants and hippos, used tube brooms can serve a second purpose.  

A “repurposing” leader is working to help communities save money while also preventing unnecessary waste. One of his most popular products is tube brooms.  

“Our biggest customer for repurposed tube brooms is Ted Turner, who owns more than 50,000 bison on ranches from New Mexico to Kansas to Montana,” said Damon Carson, owner of repurposedMATERIALS. “The Turner Bison Program has purchased about 50 tube brooms from us over time.”  

RepurposedMATERIALS is helping industries across the nation reduce their environmental impact by finding a second life for a surprising number of items. Here are few of repurposedMATERIALS’ creative applications of used materials:  

  • Retired mining conveyor belts are great track mats for protecting sod, asphalt, and other surfaces from tracked equipment on construction projects
  • Used advertising billboard vinyls make for good waterproof tarps for keeping construction materials dry  
  • Highway guardrails are used for fencing and retaining walls  

“We all have a part to play in protecting our environment,” said repurposedMATERIALS owner Damon Carson. “It makes sense environmentally and economically. Giving materials a second life keeps them out of the landfill, which can come with surprising cost savings.”  

For half a century, the solution to the waste problem has been recycling. But recycling involves the reprocessing of materials. It uses energy, another kind of waste. It’s expensive. And it’s inefficient.   

For those reasons, recycling ranks just above ‘waste-to-energy’ (i.e. burning) on the waste hierarchy.  

Rather than melting, shredding, chipping or grinding – the recycling process – repurposedMATERIALS finds new uses for materials in their current form.   

“If something is obsolete to the primary user, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value somewhere,” Carson said. “If you find yourself saying ‘I can’t use this. What am I going to do with it?’ that’s where we come in.”  

Generally speaking, once the bristles wear to a specific point – often considered about half their original length – they need to be replaced. Not replacing them on time not only reduces their effectiveness, it puts additional strain on the equipment.  

Small communities may be throwing away a dozen or so street sweeper tube brooms each year. A major city could be throwing away thousands. Carson hopes to help prolong the usefulness of street sweeper brooms, thus diverting them from the landfill.  

Carson challenges those in every industry to consider if there are “repurpose-able” options for their obsolete materials before simply banishing them to the landfill.    

“We adhere to the belief ‘It is not a waste until it is wasted,’” Carson said. 

 For advice on repurposing materials, contact Carson by telephone at 720-615-0281, or by email at

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