How to Recycle Cookware

Any cook worth his or her salt uses and abuses cookware for the most delicious of causes – but what happens to pots, pans, spatulas and whisks when they’re all used up?

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Frequent Cookware Recycling Questions

Can old cookware be donated or sold?

Cookware can be donated if it is still in safe, working order.

However, if your pots and pans have become unsuitable, it can certainly be resold at a scrapyard. You’ll need to know whether or not your pots and pans are made from ferrous or non-ferrous metal. For example, commonly used metals include aluminum, copper and stainless steel, all of which are non-ferrous. Some metal recyclers may only want one type of metal, so do your research or call ahead.

Does it matter if cookware is non-stick?

Non-stick components often play a role in your cookware’s future recyclability. However, there are many options to explore, ranging from your curbside program to local scrapyards or mail-back programs.

How can one make cookware last longer?

Cookware can last a lifetime if you treat it correctly. Always use gentle cleansers and scrubbers to avoid scratching your pots and pans. And when you’re cooking, protect your pans by using wooden or rubberized utensils that won’t damage their surfaces.

Additionally, avoid warping by waiting for pots and pans to cool to room temperature before you wash them, and avoid using the dishwasher when possible.

Is there cookware made from recycled materials?

Recycled cookware sets are becoming more accessible. From large companies like Cuisinart to specialty companies like GreenPan, recycled options abound. Calphalon also provides free mail-in recycling of old pots and pans with the purchase of its products.


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Trying to recycle cookware? Use the Earth911 recycling search to find a location in your area.