How to Safely Dispose of Old or Damaged Knives

When most things in our homes wear out their welcome, it is easy to simply throw them into the trash and move on. But when it comes to getting rid of old knives, you might be a bit confused. After all, knives are sharp objects that can be dangerous if handled improperly, so simply tossing them into the garbage won’t work, so what do you do?

In this guide, we will talk about the various ways that you can safely dispose of old knives without fear or frustration.

Should You Dispose or Salvage Old Knives?

Before you jump to disposing of your knives, you need to think about why you are trashing them in the first place and if doing so is really necessary. 

If you are thinking about getting new knives just because the ones you currently have are dull, then you have options. The best way to rejuvenate your knives is by purchasing an electric or manual knife sharpener. They are very easy to use and they can restore your knives to their original glory in a matter of minutes. 

If your kitchen knives are broken, you can repair them yourself or bring them to a professional. If the handle is separated or loose, you can squeeze a bit of glue into the blade-facing side of the handle and safely press the blade firmly down and leave it overnight. The next day, it will be good as new.

In the case that your cutlery is simply out of date and you are looking to purchase a different style knife, then you can trash them or possibly use them for a different purpose. Many people use older knives for use in their garden and use bread knives as plant markers. Just remember to do so safely.

Once you decide on disposal, you have several options. We will discuss them all below.

  • Throw them out
  • Recycle (scrap metal)
  • Donate 
  • Sell

Throwing Out Old Knives

If you decide that you want to throw out the knives and get them out of your hair, then absolute caution is of the essence. 

When used improperly, knives can be very dangerous. Sharp knives are bad, but dull knives are even worse. In the kitchen, they are more dangerous because they take more pressure to cut and they can easily slip and injure the operator. Dull knives can also be deceiving. You may think the knives are useless, but they can still easily poke through a garbage bag and hurt the garbage handler or anyone else who comes in contact with them. 

To ensure that the knives cannot cause harm once in they are in the trash, follow these steps:

  1. Find a large piece of cardboard, ideally off of the side of a box, that is large enough that you can fold it over the entire knife or at least cover the entire blade.
  1. Place the knife inside so that the tip of the knife is against the fold of the cardboard.
  1. Take packaging tape and surround the cardboard so the knife is secured inside.
  1. If you want extra protection, find a generous supply of bubble wrap and put a couple layers around the taped-up cardboard.

The steps above entail the best method for securing the knives so they can be safely thrown away, but if you don’t have those supplies, there are other items you can use.

Newspaper: If you still get the physical newspaper, then you can wrap the blade up in 6-7 layers of newspaper and then use your tape to secure every inch of the blade. 

Old Clothes: If you have old knives and old clothes that you no longer need, you can kill two birds with one stone by placing at least two layers of clothing around the blade and then taping it in place. 

Recycle Your Old Knives

While you can toss your knives in the garbage, another option is to recycle them. Knives are recyclable because their metal blades and plastic bases can be reused for other purposes. You have two options when it comes to recycling knives. One is to follow the steps above to secure them and then throw them into the recycling bin on garbage day so they can be transported to the recycling center.

The other option is to bring the knives to a metal recycling location where they will break down the metal so it can be used in new products. You can search online for “metal recycling” to find a location near you.

Donate Your Old Knives

If your knives aren’t totally destroyed then you have the option of donating the blades to people who may still find a good use for what you have. Think of it as another form of recycling as your knives get a second life with a new family.

You can typically donate knives to any of the standard places, be it donation centers or charitable organizations like Salvation Army and Goodwill, a soup kitchen, scout troop, or even a soup kitchen where they would probably go to great use. In exchange for your good deed, you can sometimes also get a tax write-off for your donation. It won’t break the bank but it is more than you get by just throwing them out.

Before you bring your knives into a donation center, be sure to call ahead of time to ensure that they will accept knife donations so you don’t waste your time and you reduce the chance of harming yourself during the journey.

Sell The Knives

If you want to make even more money off of your old knives, then you may also consider selling them. Some people may think there is something scary or unique about selling knives due to their somewhat dangerous nature, but really, selling knives is the same as selling any other used item.

You can go on websites like Craigslist, eBay, or even online blade auctions (search online for your area), and start by listing a reasonable price for the blades you’re selling. 

Make sure to be honest about the quality and the type of knives (stainless steel, etc) and provide high-quality pictures so potential customers know exactly what they are getting. If you want to earn a few extra bucks, you might consider sharpening the knives a bit ahead of time. Once you make a sale, you should either put the knives in a case or pack them up following the steps above so they can be transported safely from you to the new owner. 

As a side note, if you are worried that your old knives will end up in the wrong hands, you may also be able to bring them to the local police station. Make sure to call ahead first to make sure they will accept them and so that they aren’t alarmed when you bring them into the station.

In Conclusion: Be Responsible

As you can see, there are many different ways that you can dispose of old knives and every option is as good as the next, depending on your situation. Just remember that knives can be very dangerous, so follow the steps, stay responsible, and enjoy your new cutlery!

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