"Always start out with a larger pot than
what you think you need."
— Julia Child

Can Pots And Pans Go In The Recycling

David Lawrence
• Saturday, 02 January, 2021
• 7 min read

Outward signs of wear and tear become evident and especially the non-stick cookware. The non-stick frying pans lose their main characteristic, and you know the consumption of the coatings could be carcinogenic.

pots pans kitchen wall equipment recycle balm beard cooking cookware tools hook recipe foodal ways hooks uses cabinet storage food
(Source: foodal.com)


Knowing when to recycle or dispose of your pans and pots is not clear-cut and dry because it depends on what old is to you and if there is a possibility to clean them and make them look new. Often, prolonged soaking can get the job done, getting the black residue off the pan.

Use an oven cleaner for the bottom part of the pan following the instructions given on the container. For any burn stains inside the pan/pot, use a little vinegar, baking soda, and water, then wash it out.

This is one resilient cookware material and lasts long when appropriately treated. If you neglected it cleaning may be quite a task, but nothing a salt scrub combined with vinegar wouldn’t try to help.

Soda Ketchup Alka-Seltzer Dryer sheet which loosens burnt food that has stuck on the pan. The most used way of seasoning the non-stick pan is by spraying it with a layer of oil on its surface.

Clean it first with baking soda and white vinegar and let that mixture sit for a while. After that, apply a thin layer of oil on the surface to keep the non-stick element effective.

cookware pots pans gas anodized pot hard does mean stoves cooking remove sets grease baked recycle kitchen sheet reuse istock
(Source: www.cookist.com)

Old worn out Pans Repurposing means to use something or modifying it to serve a purpose it wasn’t originally intended to do. Most people find it hard going camping with their daily functional pans and pots, which is understandable.

Iron skillets can also be hung over a stove or on the wall and add some pomp in the kitchen. Consider painting it next time during Halloween and use it to hold candy for the trick or theaters.

Remember that they are mostly metallic, and we want to reduce the probability of having to dispose of them completely. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s website to know more about the cookware.

They give you a Separation Zero Waste Box that you can fill with any kitchenware you want to get rid of. Wearing out of pans and pots is inevitable, and it reaches a time you need to dispose of them.

They are broken down to separate all the metals they may be made of, then they are re-worked to make other things. “ Cast iron is straight up scrap metal with value and can be reused,” Hoover says, adding that the same goes for aluminum, stainless steel, and copper.

cookware recycle stick non pans pots calphalon upgrade bin
(Source: thinkoutsidethebin.com)

“Metal has market value, but if you have a newer pan that's coated with Teflon or another non-stick treatment, that starts to get a bit trickier, since it may or may not be accepted in city recycling.” If cookware is coated, most recycling agencies will have to remove outward layers before it can be recycled, but only a select few localities will remove these coatings (New York City and Maryland's Montgomery County are examples in the Northeast).

The best chance of ensuring your cookware doesn't end up in the trash is to head to a local scrapyard. In addition to recycling at local centers or via metal dealers, here are three other ways you can make sure used cookware stays out of landfills and finds a new home.

If you're unable to find a metal scrapyard or donate the item, Hoover says there's one last option for you, and it happens to be the most convenient. “Terrace is an organization that specializes in accepting and repurposing hard to recycle materials; things like potato chip bags and sandwich bags, things that are not normally accepted for recycling at the community level,” she says.

Prices start at $109 and that cost includes return shipping and processing of whatever you send to be recycled (they do not accept electronics). And Hoover says that Terrace really does upcycle-materials are sorted and repurposed into everyday products, like benches and watering cans, instead of being sent to landfills.

If they are not broken, you could look to give your pots and pans to another home via sites such as Craigslist and Free cycle. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest around repurposing stuff, including old pots and pans.

pans pots metal recycling
(Source: louisaampah.wordpress.com)

One DIY site lists 25 ideas for repurposing old cookware and kitchenware. The following lists the general recycling options for the different cookware materials, including Pyrex, ceramic, Teflon, and aluminum, which are the main types.

Curbside recycling programs generally don’t accept the Pyrex glass type of cookware. The reason is Pyrex contaminates the other recyclable glass because it doesn’t melt at the same temperature.

For broken or chipped ceramic pots or pans, these can look great in the garden as a feature and there is plenty of repurposing and up cycling ideas on Pinterest. The Zero Waste Institute says the best option is to find a way to …” Break the particles apart and return them to the clay that they were made from”.

I know broken up pieces placed in the bottom of pot plants make for excellent drainage. This is not a concern with cookware sold in the US as it must meet strict safety guidelines governing lead content, similar to all food containers.

You should know that your pots and pans contain nonferrous metal if they are made from aluminum, copper or stainless steel. Other cookware with exteriors of stainless steel or another finish may also have a ferrous layer incorporated.

(Source: www.sustainableguernsey.info)

Copper Aluminum Brass bronze Stainless steel Lead Iron Nickel Worn surface exposes food to aluminumMetal recyclers may or may not take nonstick cookware with PTFE, aka Teflon, coating.

Pinterest is one place where you’ll find plenty of ideas for repurposing or up cycling those old pots and pans. You can use old pots for planting out flowers or herbs or use old skillets in crafting projects to melt plastic beads or the like.

If you do need to replace your cookware or dispose of it for some reason, consider the environment and find options to suitably recycle it. If you’re looking to buy new or replacement pans, but not sure which option to choose, stainless or nonstick, check out this article.

The scrap App was able to help out with a recent article about recycling pots and pans Earth911. A quick internet search reveals there’s a lot of confusion surrounding whether nonstick pan scan be recycled.

So, to demystify this issue, we’ll provide some clarification about what exactly a nonstick pan is made of and how you can determine how to recycle it. You may find your local curbside program doesn’t collect unusual materials like pots and pans, but don’t fret.

recycle pans pots
(Source: www.youtube.com)

You may have upgraded to a new model, the cooking surface may have eroded over time, or perhaps you are merging kitchen supplies with a new roommate or partner. Sites like Craigslist and Free cycle are good options for finding your cookware a new home, as are secondhand stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army.

A few scratches or dings may matter to you, but that doesn’t make your pots and pans unusable. For pots and pans that have seen better days, recycling is an option, but likely not your curbside bin.

Once you’ve found a scrap metal recycling near you, call them to ask if they accept Teflon-coated pans. Some cookware will have no metal component, such as ceramic bowls or Pyrex baking dishes.

If mixed with container glass, it would make the resulting material unusable. For starters, you’re unlikely to know what type of resin they are made of, which is the first step to determine the recallability of plastics.

Originally published on October 11, 2010, this article was updated in December 2020. Metal in practically every form has value as a raw material for new products, and that's where special recycling programs come in.

pans pots recycle metal
(Source: recyclecoach.com)

In the case of metal items that aren't cans, lids or foil (e.g. your pots and pans) there are a ton of drop-off opportunities in Rhode Island, and even some special collections. Many cities and towns have scrap metal containers at their recycling centers or waste-transfer stations.

If yours doesn't, you are welcome to come to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation in Johnston. I wish there was a way for RI RRC (or any facility, for that matter) to accept every last recyclable consumer product on the planet, all mixed together, and magically sort it all out in a way that was practical, affordable, and safe.

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