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Oct 10, 2010 07:53 PM

recycle used cookware?

How to dispose of old non-stick cookware? Can it be recycled along with the plastic bottles and aluminum cans, or must it be tossed in the trash? (I live in California, if that makes a difference.)


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  1. I would think not, simply because of the combination of materials, but I'm not certain. Your best bet is to contact your local recycling center and pose the question (a google of such with the specifics of your location would likely provide you with a phone number or email. Recycling can be a tricky business.

      1. re: lgss

        Hmmm. It so happens that I am flying to Ann Arbor next week!

        I wonder what the TSA will think when they see a brown man, traveling alone, lugging a duffle bag full of slightly chipped non-stick cookware. Urgent calls to Washington: what new secret weapon might this be?!

        1. re: lgss

          Additionally, when Teflon is heated, it will release a gas that kills birds and causes flu-like symptoms in humans.


          I don't know about the study pertaining to female infertility, but the above statement is deceptive. All non-stick pans are meant to be used on medium heat. Even if use on higher heat with food in them, they will not release dangerous gases. I've had this happen, but it was with a pan left on the burner and forgotten for quite some time.

          It is probably wise not to have birds in the kitchen when you use non stick pans, but used properly, they should not be releasing gases.

        2. Why not donate to a thrift store? They'll love it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: c oliver

            Well, it feels like donating running shoes, or cartons of cigarettes. If I believe the stuff is unhealthy, can I in good conscience donate it for use by others?

            (Yes, I realize people will continue to buy and use teflon. Hmmm. Maybe you're right. Thanks.)

            1. re: fadista

              I don't think you can really equate non-stick cookware to cigarettes in terms of danger. Donate it to a thrift store. The other alternatives (tossing it in the trash, driving miles to some special disposal site) cause more of a negative impact on the world in terms of environmental impact, in my opinion.

              Otherwise, if you really want to recycle, call the recycling center in your community and ask what to do.

              1. re: taos

                Some investigation reveals that in my recycling district (south of San Francisco), teflon cookware can be recycled curbside along with the bottles and cans. Out it goes!

            1. I think the issue is primarily with stainless, especially the multi-ply stuff. Cookware made out of one material or another (aluminum, cast iron, tinned copper) should be fairly straightforward to recycle.