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When cookware and bakeware tends to wear out, and once it starts to peel and is not suitable to donate, stop before you throw it out! There are ways to recycle cookware and old pots and pans that come in handy if that time has come for your kitchen items.
The first thing to do is to check with your local recycling center. We wish it was the same for every city, but recycling guidelines vary depending on local infrastructure. Sometimes plastic cookware and utensils should not be put in your recycling bin, whereas other times it may depend on the type of plastic. That’s why giving your recycling center a call helps.
If you’re dealing with recycling metal pots and pans, whether it be aluminum or steel, it is more likely they can be recycled through a scrap metal facility. The plastic handles, or other parts of the cookware made from various materials, are usually able to be separated when they are processed. A steel mill, for example, reduces pollution and mining waste by 70% when it recycles scrap steel.
National Cookware Recycling Programs
The Calphalon ReNew program is available when you purchase Calphalon multi-piece cookware sets. Calphalon emphasizes on their website that over 80% of items in landfills could have been recycled. So the company provides a shipping box and prepaid FedEx mailing label to you for FREE to send your used cookware (any brand or condition) to Calphalon. They then ship it on to a recycling center and send you two reusable shopping bags that are also 100% recycled.
Plan your purchases ahead of time- Many people criticize companies that offer environmental lip service in the form of a limited recycling program only for a few short weeks around Earth Day (April 22), citing that a few weeks out of the year is not a long enough commitment to recycling. Choosing companies with responsible recycling and year-round take back programs built into their model will reduce waste overall. In addition, stainless steel usually lasts longer, and is easier to clean and recycle.
Ecolution also aims to educate the public on how to recycle old cookware.
Their website provides a list of excellent ways to reuse cookware and renew it before recycling. If you need to recycle it, they provide an entire list of recycling laws and metal recyclers around the United States. Thank you, Ecolution!
Another brand of recycled cookware is Starfrit. Starfrit cookware is made of 99% recycled aluminum a chemical-free coating for nonstick cooking. Cleaning is easy with just soap and water- nothing special if you were wondering. The cookware also conducts heat efficiently so that it uses 20% less energy when cooking.
Here’s to your culinary genius and recycling commitment!