Can kitchen utensils be recycled?

For pots and pans that have had better days, recycling is an option, but it's probably not the curbside bin. Unless your curbside recycling program accepts scrap metal (only about 5% of the curbside programs in the Earth911 recycling directory fit this description), recycling will require a little more effort. The essential thing to recycle kitchen utensils. Are you wasting too much in the kitchen? Find out if you're going to throw away one of these 10 recyclable materials.

Before you drop your old pots and pans in the weekly recycling collection, think again. Sure, that metal frying pan may look like a common recyclable, but with the materials mixed together, bundling it into a single flow system may not be the best option. Check with your municipal department's public works to find out what can be recycled, Klein says. Most likely, kitchen utensils can't be added to the weekly recycle bin.

However, there are scrap metal facilities that could keep your kitchen utensils. Call ahead to determine what they accept. There are also companies like Terracycle that have programs to properly dispose of and recycle old kitchen utensils. When plastic utensils end up in the recycling plant, they tend to fall or get stuck in machinery that sorts objects into groups of the same material.

But how do you know when to replace your cookware? And what do you do with those pieces when they retire? Here you'll discover the telltale signs that indicate when it's time to say goodbye to kitchen pots and pans. In addition, many composting facilities do not accept compostable utensils because many are made of bioplastic. Of all the types of compostable utensils, plastic and reusable compostables are advertised as the most environmentally friendly. To make things even easier, Earth911 recently partnered with ceramic cookware brand Caraway on the brand's Re-Store Your Kitchen recycling initiative.

And it's best to use heat-resistant wood or plastic cookware when cooking with ceramic, stainless steel, or non-stick cookware. However, reusable utensils are still a favorite because they are easily recycled and are not single-use. According to Laurie Klein, home economist at Hamilton Beach Consumer Test Kitchen, good quality cookware can last a lifetime if properly cared for. Most machines can't handle items smaller than 2 to 3 inches in diameter, and the utensils are so thin that they fall through the equipment.

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