It’s not always easy to know what to do with old pots and pans. They’re still in relatively good condition, but their time has come-they can’t cook any more meals for you. What should you do? Throw them out? Sell them on eBay or Craigslist? Or keep them as a reminder of all the delicious food you used to make with them?
Old pots and pans can be repaired, repurposed, and in some cases recycled at recycling centers. The items that cannot be recycled can be taken to scrap metal dealers for disposal. Where possible, repurpose as camping cookware, or convert it to artwork or holders for potted plants.
It always seems such a pity to toss out these old gems that have served you well in the kitchen, and we understand you completely in this regard! Here are some ideas on how to use your old pots and pans! Continue reading to find the perfect solution for you.
Can Old Pots And Pans Be Salvaged?
In our modern age, it is so easy to simply replace household items that have worn out or are no longer performing well. The dilemma is what to do with all those old pots and pans that are cluttering the dark corners of your kitchen cupboards.
We may live in a throw-away society, but that does not make it easy to throw everything away. Especially those old pots and pans that could still have a purpose. Try some of these thoughts for what you can do with your old, tired cookware.
The first step is to begin the clear-out and get all your old cookware out of the cupboard to evaluate the condition of each pot or pan based on the ideas we have listed. You may be able to give your old cookware new life!
Your options for what to do with old pots and pans basically fall into three categories: repair, repurpose, or recycle.
Repairing Old Pots And Pans
There are probably several pots and pans in the cupboard that have minor problems that require a little attention, and they could then be returned to service.
That pot with the handle that came off or continually comes loose that you put in the cupboard with the intention of fixing later? Well, now is later, and the time has come to do those repairs, and either start using the cookware again or using it for another purpose.
Here are some ideas for repairing some of your old cookware.
- Loose handles. Loose handles can be repaired by tightening the screws holding the handle in place. If the screws persistently come loose, try a little thread glue to secure the screw in place.
- Pot handles that have come off. The main issue with this problem is that the screws holding the handle in place have become lost. If you search around in your garage, you will probably find a screw that can be used as a replacement. Alternatively, source a new screw from your local hardware store.
- Broken handles. If the handle is broken or damaged, you have 2 options. Ask the DIY person in your life to make you a new one out of wood or metal to enable the item to be used again, or repurpose the item.
- Rust. If your cookware is cast iron, rust can easily be remedied and the item restored, seasoned, and put back to use in your kitchen. Other cookware with corrosion should be repurposed, recycled, or discarded.
If not much can be done to repair your old cookware to restore its functionality in the kitchen, try giving these items a new purpose!
Repurposing Old Pots And Pans
There are many ways to repurpose old pots and pans and get additional functionality before it is time to dispose of them.
Repurposing old pots and pans is preferable to discarding them and adding to the local landfill problems in your location.
Here are some repurposing ideas for your old cookware that can stimulate your creativity and bring a new purpose to your old pots and pans.
Use Old Pots And Pans For Camping
If your older pots and pans can still function as a pot or a pan, use them for your camping outings rather than taking along your good cookware.
You may not want to use this older cookware in your kitchen, but it will work perfectly for rough outdoor cooking on your camping trips.
Donate Old Pots And Pans
If old pots and pans can still function as cookware (and are in respectable condition), you can consider donating them to a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, orphanage, or a Church group.
Many of these organizations can use these old cookware items for cooking food for the needy or offer them as cookware items to families with no other options. (If you have pots and pans that are in resalable condition, you could also donate them to an organization like Goodwill.)
Use Old Pots And Pans As Toys For Kids
If you have toddlers or young grandchildren, let them use your old kitchenware to play with. They can “work” with you in the kitchen with their own set of old pots and pans.
They can play with them in the sand, make mudpies, use them as helmets when playacting as knights in shining armor, or anything else their imagination can dream up!
Turn Old Pots And Pans Into Decorative Pieces
If you have old copper cookware, these items polish up very well and make excellent decoration pieces anywhere in your home.
If you have copper cookware sitting in your cupboard that you are not using, polish them up and use them to decorate your home. At least this way, they can contribute to your home décor!
Make Wall Clocks From Old Pots And Pans
Old pots and pans can be converted with relatively little effort into appealing wall clocks for your kitchen or elsewhere in your home.
Old frying pans are especially useful for this, as the long handle is ideal for hanging the pan on the wall. If you have multiple old frying pans, make a clock out of each one, keep one for yourself and give others away as gifts!
Use Old Pots And Pans As Planters For Pot Plants
Pots and pans of various sizes make for great pot planters for indoor and outdoor pot plants. Find a plant pot that fits well inside the old pot.
Plant your favorite plant or herbs in the pot. Place a drip tray in the bottom of your pot or pan and stand the pot plant on the drip tray.
Create Light Shades From Old Pots And Pans
This is another option to express your creativity and give new life to old cookware. Small pots can be polished, adapted, decorated, and painted, to make creative lampshades for hanging kitchen lights, desktop lamps, and even nightlights.
Old baking pans such as Bundt pans are great for this type of application, but with some creativity, any fairly deep pan or pot can be repurposed for this role.
Create A Chalkboard From An Old Pan
A large square old pan is the perfect item to turn into a kitchen chalkboard! You can give the entire outside of the pan a coat of paint or leave it looking rustic.
Use some chalkboard paint to paint the inside bottom of the large pan. Hang the pan on the wall in your kitchen and use the board to leave messages for your family. The bottom edge of the pan can hold the chalk.
Create A Skillet Mosaic From An Old Frying Pan
Turn an old skillet upside down and decorate the base and side with tile fragments and glass beads to create a decorative hanging piece for your home.
They can even be turned into a picture frame, with a photograph glued in the center and the mosaic decorations around the photo. Once again, the skillet handle makes an ideal hanging point to hang the finished work on the wall!
Use Old Pots And Pans For Hobbies And Crafts
Many hobbies, crafts, and artwork require the melting of materials to use in your crafts. Melting plastic beads, candle wax, beeswax, or other such items are perfect uses for your old pots and pans.
This way, you don’t need to mess up any of your good cookware for your crafts and hobbies!
Make Bathroom Towel Holders From Your Old Pots
Use a hot glue gun to glue twine around the outside of an old pot to give it a rustic, country look. You can wrap the handles as well or remove the handles if they are screwed on.
Roll up some small bathroom hand towels and stand them up vertically in the pot. Stand the pot on a shelf in your bathroom to have a functional and decorative item.
Create Garden Art From Old Pots And Pans
You can sculpt and paint old pots and pans into decorative garden ornaments or features if you are creative.
Some people craft old pots into ladybird sculptures or other garden bugs and colorfully paint and decorate them. If you have the creative insight for this type of art, old pots and pans make for a great medium due to their durability.
Use Old Pots As Halloween Candy Pots
Keep your old pots and decorate them and their lids and place Halloween candy in the pots. Use these ghoulishly decorated pots to hand out the treats during the holiday!
Pots refurbished in this way also make great Halloween gifts for your friends and family while getting rid of your old pots simultaneously!
Recycling Old Pots And Pans
Recycling is another option for your old pots and pans. If you can’t find any other use for them and they are no longer serviceable in the kitchen, you can recycle some of them.
Not all pots and pans can be recycled, and not all recycling centers will take all types of metal. You will need to evaluate each pot and pan and separate them into groups of types of metals that your recycling center will accept.
- New National Recycling Program: As of June, 2021, Calphalon has partnered with TerraCycle to create a national recycling program for all brands of metal-based cookware, bakeware, and cutlery. See the TerraCycle website for details on How It Works.
- Return to the supplier. Some kitchenware manufacturers have collection locations where you can drop off old pots and pans of that brand, and the company will collect the old equipment and recycle the products. Not all cookware manufacturers offer this, but it is a good recycling choice for those who do.
- Separate out non-stick cookware. Many recycling centers do not accept non-stick cookware due to the chemicals and other materials in the non-stick coating.
- Check for ferrous and nonferrous metals. Magnets will stick to ferrous metals, so you can use a magnet to test your old pots and pans. Recycling stations are most likely to accept ferrous metal pots and pans.
- Take aluminum pots to specialist recyclers. Aluminum is a nonferrous metal, and only specialist aluminum recycling centers will accept these pots and pans. A local search of your recycling centers is certain to find a specialist aluminum recycler near you.
- Stainless steel pots and pans. Stainless steel is not generally accepted at recycling stations. These metals will be accepted by scrap metal dealers.
If any of your old pots and pans are not accepted by any recycle stations, they will, in all likelihood, be accepted by a scrap metal dealer.
If you have a scrap metal dealer near you, taking all your old pot and pans to this facility may be more convenient. You may even get a little cash for your scrap metal kitchenware!
Discarding Old Pots And Pans – Disposal Options
Old pots and pans should never be disposed of in the trash. When they are disposed of in this way, they simply end up in a landfill and become part of the growing trash problem of our modern society.
Pots and pans have metal components that can be re-used. While most recycling centers may not take all your old pots and pans, scrap metal dealers will.
The most effective way for disposing of your old pots and pans is to deliver them to your local scrap metal dealer.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I Put Old Pots And Pans In The Recycle Bin?
You should only put ferrous metal pots in the recycle bin. Ferrous metals are the ones magnets will stick to. Nonferrous metals and pots and pans with non-stick coatings should never be put in recycle bins. These pots and pans should be taken to a scrap metal dealer for disposal.
Can I Use Old Pots And Pans To Make Art?
Old pots and pans can be used to make art of various forms. Turn old frying pans and pots into wall clocks, picture frames, wall mirrors, or decorate them with tile fragments and glass beads. The only proviso for using cookware for art is to be careful of non-stick coatings. Ideally, these should be either removed or painted over since these coatings have undesirable chemicals in them.
When Should You Throwaway Stainless Steel Pans?
When there are deep scratches and gouges in the stainless steel cookware, you should replace them. Deep scratches and gouges in the metal will result in metals such as Chromium, Nickel, and Molybdenum leeching into the food. But don’t throw them away. Recycle them through a national recycling program or send them to a scrap dealer.
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