How to dispose of kitchen knives—the right way

Please don't just throw knives in the trash.

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What You Need:

  • Cardboard
  • Heavy-duty tape
  • Newspaper
  • Small cardboard box

Prep Time Needed:

None

Total Time Needed:

5 minutes

Difficulty:

Easy

The proper way to throw out kitchen knives

There’s nothing better than using a fresh set of knives—preparing a meal instantly becomes easier and more thrilling when you’re slicing and dicing with razor-sharp kitchen knives.

But as you upgrade your knife game, you may find yourself ready to discard some of your older tools. Hold on, though! You can’t simply toss knives directly into the garbage can, even if they seem like they're too dull to cut someone. If knives are loose in the trash, they could easily slice through the plastic bag and cause an injury when you carry it out on garbage day. Or, someone could cut their hand if they reach into the trash to find something they threw away by accident—there are just too many things that could go wrong.

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To prevent a trip to the emergency room, you'll need to thoroughly wrap and conceal the blades of knives you're throwing away. It only takes a few minutes to bundle up your old knives before you discard them—just follow these easy steps.

Step 1: Wrap blades with paper

Wrap newspaper around the blade of your kitchen knife, and secure it with tape.

Step 2: Secure the knife in cardboard

Next, fold a piece of cardboard tightly over the knife, and tape it in place.

Step 3: Put it in box

To be extra safe, place your double-wrapped knife in a cardboard box or other container.

Step 4: Throw it out

Once the knife is secure in the box or container, it’s ready to be placed in the garbage can.

Can you recycle kitchen knives?

Recycling kitchen knives
Credit: Dalstrong

Your old knives can also be recycled or donated.

Want to be kind to the environment? Then you might want to consider recycling your old kitchen utensils.

If you’d prefer to recycle your kitchen knives, you may have to do a bit of research, as they can't just be tossed in the curbside recycling bin. A quick internet search will help you find the closest transfer station or scrap metal recycling facility. You can also check your town, city or state website for guidance, as many town dumps or city transfer stations recycle scrap metal.

However, that doesn’t mean you should just bring a pile of knives to the dump. Before you head to the recycling center, make sure you wrap the knives in newspaper and cardboard as described above.

Can you donate kitchen knives?

Some knives might still be usable!

Did you just get a shiny new paring knife or bread knife that you love? Looks like it’s time to get rid of your old kitchen knives to make way for the new beauties.

If your old knives are still in good shape and work well, you can donate them to local shelters, soup kitchens and secondhand stores. However, be sure to call your local Goodwill or Salvation Army donation centers to find out if they’ll accept your knives—some may even offer to pick up your donations.

To be courteous and sanitary, it’s best to clean your kitchen knives before you send them off to a new owner. You can even go an extra step and sharpen them if you have a knife sharpener handy. Wrap the knives up so they won’t injure anyone and place them in a labeled cardboard box or plastic container. It can also be helpful to identify what type of knives they are on the label. When you drop them off, don’t forget to ask for a donation tax receipt if you want to document the charitable act when you file your taxes!

It can be sad to say goodbye to your longtime kitchen knives, but they've lived a good life and it's time to upgrade your cooking game. On to bigger, better meals!

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The Best Kitchen Knives of 2019
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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