Can I Recycle my Cookware? The Do’s and Don'ts of Giving Your Kitchen Pots and Pans a New Life

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It’s often an exciting time when you make the conscious choice to upgrade your cookware. 

Which new pots and pans do we need? What colours should we choose? Should we go for a non-stick option? But then we are left with one big question: What do we do with our old cookware?

Unlike other household items like cardboard boxes or juice containers – which can be put in the recycling bin — discarding your old pots, pans, cookware and crockery is just not that easy.  The responsible and conscious disposal of old pots and pans is vital to protecting the environment and the safety of others within our community. 

So, whether it’s repurposing your kitchenware or disposing of it in a more responsible and environmentally-friendly way, here are some of our top ‘do's and don’ts when it comes to recycling your cookware.

DO: Determine what material your cookware is made from

In Australia, most pots and pans can be recycled, but it’s important to understand the materials they were made from so you can be sure you’re recycling them correctly. 

The most common pots and pans are made from aluminium, stainless steel, cast iron, and copper. Some of the easiest materials to recycle include aluminium, copper and stainless steel. So yep, that’s a good thing!

According to Sydney based rubbish removalists Ridly ¹, in most cases, old metal crockery can be melted, recycled, and given another life. However, if your pots and pans contain PTFE in their non-stick?Recycling can become a little more complicated.

If you have non-stick cookware that’s coated with any of the nasty ‘forever chemicals’ like PTFE, PFOA or PFOS or any PFAS chemical compounds, then your recycling options are limited, as these carcinogenic chemicals may contaminate the other metal at recycling plants. As a result,. metal pots and pans are not recyclable unless the outer, non-stick layer is removed (and yes, this is a very time-consuming and expensive process).

It’s important to note that the materials accepted by city recycling programs differ from city to city. As a result, you should get to know the rules of recycling in your city before recycling your frying pans. Here is a quick summary for most states and but also make sure you check your local council’s website for more details.

DON’T: Throw them in the general rubbish or recycling bin


Rubbish Bin

While it may be tempting to throw your pots and pans out with the general rubbish, this isn’t too good for the environment because the cookware will unfortunately never decompose. We also can’t simply place them in our kerbside recycling programs, because we run the risk of contaminating all of our other recycled items. Frustrating, right?

Unless your kerbside recycling program accepts scrap metal and household furniture, this is not going to be a viable or responsible option for discarding your old pots and pans. Most local councils offer a free ‘hard rubbish’ collection service several times a year for bulkier household items.

The good news is that, when cookware items are recycled properly, we can extend their lifespan. Blu. Cookware has been created with 100% recycled hard-anodised aluminium… which is actually infinitely recyclable! Unlike plastic, it won’t actually lose quality when recycled. And if that wasn’t already enough food news? Turns out, recycling aluminium uses 90% less energy than that used to make new aluminium. How’s that for an environmentally-friendly material?!

DO: Try cleaning, fixing or upcycling

Much like hopping in a bubble bath at the end of the day, sometimes when it feels like your cookware is looking old and in a state of disarray, there’s nothing that a nice long soak can’t fix. Removing all of the built up dirt, grime and residue on our cookware can make our pots and pants look and feel as good as new again.  For example, using a little warm vinegar on a stainless steel pan before letting it sit for a while, or even baking soda and water for those stubborn burn stains, can help loosen the dirt and get that pan shining in no time. But this can only be said for the cookware that is not coated with any sort of PTFE (aka Teflon) non-stick or any aluminium cookware that is not hard anodised.  We do not recommend keeping either of these if there are cuts or scratches on the surfaces.

DON’T: Put them in a charity bin if they’re worn out

If you’re a seasoned home chef, chances are your cookware has seen better days. While it’s a nice idea to think that someone else might be able to use your pots and pans now that you no longer need them, your cookware might actually be significantly damage, with scratches, rust, or dents that might make them unsuitable for continued use,

Pots and pans in good condition can be donated to selected opportunity and voluntary shops, or to organisations like Donate Direct ² who donate your items directly to those in need.

Materials Pans

DO: Choose TOXIN-free cookware

As conscious cooks, we know that the choices we make, both for us and for those around us, have a ripple effect, and it’s up to us whether that ripple effect is a positive and hopeful one. Even though in the mid-20th century scientists began to cook up a group of chemicals to make products that are water-, grease- and stain-repellent, and non-stick, many of these so-called ‘everywhere and forever’ chemicals have been linked to detrimental impacts on human and environmental health³. Yikes.

Thankfully (and deliberately), Blu.’s cookware collection is proudly free from all known PFAS chemical compounds. Rigorously tested and created using refined materials, processes and designs co-developed with industry experts over many years, we care deeply about empowering more conscious choices in the kitchen to support people who want to live a life full of health and happiness (like you!)

So, next time you are considering upgrading your cookware, we hope you’ll consider not only disposing of the old pots and pans thoughtfully and responsibly, but that you’ll make the conscious choice to go ‘P-free’ and try Blu.’s pioneering range of Fry Pans, Woks, Sauce Pans, and Stock Pots.

It is all of our responsibility to leave the planet in pristine condition for those who come after us. For more inspiration on living a healthy, conscious lifestyle that is gentle on the planet, please visit our other resources for conscious cooks.