Ways to Reuse and Recycle Old Cookware

Eco-Friendly Advice: 5 Ways to Reuse and Recycle Old Cookware

Photo: Scott Umstattd / Unsplash

Old cookware isn’t the biggest issue when it comes to the masses of waste going to landfill every day. However, that doesn’t mean it should just be tossed in the bin as soon as you upgrade to a safe nonstick cookware set. There is a place for old pots and pans beyond your kitchen. So before you condemn them to the garbage truck, check out these five ways to reuse and recycle old cookware:

1.  Sell It or Give It Away

The first thing to do with working cookware is to either sell it or give it away. Whether people are just moving into their first home or they simply love a bargain, there are many who will happily buy your cookware or pick it up as a freebie. Why not try all the local listing sites and apps to see if your cookware has a new life waiting for it in somebody else’s home?

2.  Embrace Cottagecore

Cottagecore – also known as farmcore and countrycore – is a decor style based on an idealistic and enhanced rural cottage life. There is a lot more to it than aesthetics, which is why some people even embrace it as a lifestyle. Perhaps one of the best things about it is that old and affordable items can be used in your designs. Your old cookware, for example, can be hung from the walls alongside dried lavender bundles, bunting, and various chintz accessories. If you fancy such dreamy, trendy, wistful decor, hold onto that old cookware because it certainly leans into this style well.

3.  Get It To A Scrapyard

Throwing old pots and pans in the trash is one of the worst things you can do with them. There’s little to no chance of them being rescued and recycled. Instead, they will simply clog up the environment. 

If your cookware is made out of metal, a better option is to take it to a scrapyard. The scrap metal industry in America is worth over $5 billion dollars, so you should be able to find a local scrap business willing to take your old cookware. Alternatively, there are numerous recycling schemes and stations where you can drop your cookware off, and the organization will recycle it for you.

4.  Turn It Into Planters

The majority of Americans say they enjoy gardening, with many more taking up this healthy hobby since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictive lockdowns.

If you’re looking to create a quirky and cute indoor or outdoor garden, you could reuse your cookware by turning it into planters (which also make great gifts). Just make sure that each pot has drainage drilled into it, as most plants, indoor or outdoor, don’t like having soggy roots.

5.  Keep Them for Your Adventures

Over 70 million Americans love to camp, with many more enjoying a good long hike and al fresco cooking adventures in their spare time. For trips where cookware might get bashed, banged, and blackened with fire, there’s no place for your new, beautiful pots and pans.

Instead, why not keep your old cookware as adventure pans in your camping gear? That way, they can get dented, scorched, and scraped with no worries about their value or appearance being impacted.

“A society is defined not only by what it creates but by what it refuses to destroy.” – John Sawhill

The above ideas are just a few ways to prevent your old cookware from going into landfill. By giving it a new lease of life, you’ll do a little bit more to protect the planet and enhance your own green karma in the year ahead.

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