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Kitchen Cleanout: 4 Ways to Reuse or Recycle Old Kitchenware

Whether you’re an avid chef or most of your meals consist of takeout from one of the many local establishments nearby, you likely have at least one or two pieces of kitchenware that have seen better days. Maybe it’s a cast iron skillet full of rust from lack of use, or perhaps it’s a baking dish that’s seen one too many burnt casseroles.

Whatever the case, you shouldn’t be so quick to resign these pieces to the landfill. They probably still have use and value, so keep reading to find out how you can reuse and recycle your old pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils.

1. Give Cookware Sets a New Purpose

We all have at least one pan that’s stained, dented, and otherwise past its prime. So it just sits in the back of the cabinet, waiting (hoping) to be used again someday.

Though you aren’t using it for cooking these days, it could have a life elsewhere. For example, old cookware sets are great toys for youngsters who like to imagine themselves cooking. Or maybe an old pot can become your new cookie jar. You can even paint it and hang it on the wall as kitchen décor. Well-used pots and pans still have a purpose – the trick lies in finding the perfect purpose for each pot.

2. Breathe New Life into Old Cast Iron

Just because that cast iron skillet is rusty doesn’t mean it’s useless. You can refurbish it back to its original glory, and who knows? Maybe it’ll become your new favorite piece to use on your cooking adventures.

The internet is full of tutorials for how to clean and season a cast iron pan, but the gist is:

  • First, use baking soda and dishwashing liquid to clean the rust off;
  • Rinse well and allow to dry;
  • When dry, rub the pan with vegetable oil or shortening;
  • Place in a 350-degree oven for an hour.

This seasoning process should return that old cast iron pan to its former glory.

3. Donate/Sell Old Kitchenware

There are many places to unload unwanted kitchenware. Someone else may need it, so why keep it lying around your house where it doesn’t have a use? Freecycle is a great place to start, and Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace make things easy. If your kitchenware is in good shape, you could donate it to your local thrift store.

4. Recycle Your Old or Damaged Kitchenware

Much of yesterday’s cookware has non-stick Teflon surfaces that, when scratched, can be toxic. If your old pots and pans are like this, you shouldn’t attempt to donate or sell them to anyone else. Instead, your best option for getting rid of them is to recycle them.

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Not every waste management provider can take used metal pots and pans, so you’ll need to check with your nearest facility to find out what to do with them. Then, you’ll likely need to take them to a recycling station that can handle this type of item specifically. It might seem like more effort than you want to put into disposing of these items, but every pot and pan you recycle rather than throw away helps protect the environment, and that’s worth the effort!

If you’re like most of us, you probably have a few pieces of kitchenware you no longer use or want. Rather than throwing them away in a landfill, get creative and find ways to reuse or recycle them, as described above. Do you know of any other ways to reuse or recycle old pots, pans, and kitchen utensils? Let us know!