Recycle Dishes: How to do it?
We all end up with dishes we do not use anymore. Some get chipped, some are lost, and the remaining set becomes mismatched. Some are simply old and get replaced by newer sets.
But throwing them away may not always be the best option, and the recycler in you will be much happier if you could recycle that odd collection of old plates that you have built up over the years.
Fear not, for you are at the right place to learn how and when to recycle or upcycle your old plates.
You can do many things with your dishes, from spicing up a blank wall to making stunning tabletops. Frankly, all you need to do is use your imagination, but we have made a list of things to make to help you get started.
Why Should We Know the Dish Material?
While the average homemaker might not be able to boast of eating and drinking from the skulls of their fallen enemies, crockery and cutlery today are made from various materials.
Knowing the material of the dish you want to recycle is very important. There are limitations on which materials can be recycled, and putting an unrecyclable material into a recycling bin can contaminate a whole batch of recyclable items.
How to Recycle Porcelain Dishes?
You should not eat on broken or cracked porcelain dishes. Porcelain contains lead, one of the most toxic metals in existence, but the shiny coating dishes make sure that this lead does not come in contact with your food.
However, once cracks or chips develop, you are exposed to the lead inside if you eat on it. Cracks also harbor bacteria that can contaminate your food, leading to a range of health risks like stomach upsets and vomiting.
Using a chipped dish has the risk of you getting injured by the sharp edges of the chipped area. It is always better to recycle or dispose of porcelain dishes once they develop cracks or become chipped.
Now, you might think that porcelain is essentially clay, so it must be easy to recycle. But then you would be wrong, for porcelain contains chemicals like silica and feldspar in addition to clay.
This makes recycling porcelain notoriously difficult, and your local recycling center may not accept it. However, a commercial recycling center that accepts materials to be recycled from businesses or industries will take your broken porcelain plates and cups for recycling.
However, do not just toss your broken chinaware into the trashcan – it can seriously injure the person taking out your trash. If you cannot find a recycler who accepts porcelain plates for recycling, you can do the following:
Donate your old dishes
If your dishes are not broken, only old or mismatched, you can try giving them away. No, not as gifts to that nosy neighbor. You’re better than that. Donate your dishes to charity: give them to poor people, orphanages, or homes that need such items in bulk, or to anyone you think may have use for them.
Sell your dishes
If you are not feeling particularly generous, try selling your old dishes for an extra buck. You can sell them on eBay or Craigslist or hold a garage sale with other old stuff.
Especially if you think you have a vintage dish and it is just gathering dust in your drawer, you can try selling it. Collectors will pay a lot of money for the right kind of dish.
To have a better idea of what you are doing, visit collector forums on the internet, and see the bidding on similar items on eBay.
Use them as dishes for camping
You can put your old dishes into the camping basket. That way, you do not need to use your regular plates when you go camping, and a broken or a missing plate or two won’t be as much of a problem.
Make wall hangings from your old dishes
Hang up your old or chipped plates on a wall. Mix and match different designs or types of plates. This can be a unique and beautiful way to spruce up a blank wall in your house.
You can go as big or as small as you want, or as organized or as chaotic as you want, and it is all up to you.
You can use it to paint your old plates if you have an artistic side. Use designs that capture your imagination to convert an otherwise plain plate into a beautiful one and then use them as a wall hanging. This can also be a great conversation as guests are bound to ask about this décor.
You can also put your decorative plates inside picture frames then hang them from the wall. This is another unique look for your walls.
Picture frames from old dishes
You can use plates with decorative rims as beautiful picture frames. Just size the photos according to the shape of the plate you are using and stick the photo on the center of the plate. Black and white photos especially add to the vintage feeling of these decorative plates.
These frames can be placed on a table or hung from a wall in a group to add to the charm.
Dishes as mirrors
Simply buy a round mirror from your nearest dollar store and stick it onto a big(ish) plate. Bam, you have a beautiful designer mirror at a fraction of the price of a new one. You can even make sunburst mirrors in this fashion.
Dishes as chalkboards
We all need someplace to write messages, jot down a grocery list or let everyone know dinner is at eight. But taking notes need not be bland. A little chalkboard paint and a few old plates can make that fun. Paint the center of an old plate, and bam, you have a pretty DIY memo board.
Dishes as clocks
Plates can be made into gorgeous and unique clocks: just drill a hole in the center of an old plate and attach a simple clock kit, which you can get at any craft and hobby store. Now you have a rustic clock that looks so much better than a store-bought clock.
Dishes as holders
Place your old plates on an entry table to serve as holders for your car keys or spare change. To make it quirkier, try adding image transfers to your plates.
Dishes as garden decorations
You can tuck your plates into planters to spice up your herb garden. Place them on planters to add some colors and a rustic charm to your planters. You can even use them to write the names of the plant growing in the planter using image transfers or simple paint.
Create mosaic tabletops using dishes
One way to use your broken plates is by turning them into a mosaic tabletop. It can be a fun DIY project, and the results are definitely satisfying.
Put your old plates in a towel and break them using a hammer to create both big and small pieces. Once you have pieces of the size you need, arrange them on your tabletop. Arrange them however you want to. However, do not pack the pieces too close nor place them very far from each other.
Then fix the porcelain pieces to the tabletop using tile adhesive and add grout between the tiles. Apply and shape using a trowel so that every part is covered. Remove excess material using a damp sponge and let it set. Once the grout has been set, apply a clear tile sealer over the whole tabletop.
Make a tiered server from plates
You can make a two- or three-tiered server for serving starters or desserts to guests. Simple use contact cement to stick a cup or an overturned glass to a large porcelain dish.
Then add another smaller dish on top of the cup, and voila, you have a two-tiered centerpiece from your old chipped dishes. You can add another tier using the same process. You can also use this as a unique holder to keep your jewelry or makeup.
How to Recycle Glass Dishes
Dinnerware glass is different from container glass. While the latter is easily recycled, the additives that make glass dishes so beautiful and sparkly make them a pain to be recycled. Because it has such high heat resistance, borosilicate glass or Pyrex cannot be recycled with normal Glass.
Putting kitchen glass into a recycling bin for Glass can lead to the contamination and rejection of the whole batch of Glass from recycling. You will have a hard time finding a recycler who accepts Glass. Like porcelain, throwing broken glass dishes in the trash can seriously injure the garbagemen.
Paint your glass dishes
Much like porcelain, you can paint your old glass dishes and turn them into wall hangings. The difference is that since Glass is transparent, it lets you see the color of the background wall through it, making for some exciting and pretty design options.
Glass plate flowers
One absolutely gorgeous way you can recycle your glass plates is by making glass flowers. Here at livelywatt, we are drooling over these pieces, which look more like they came from Ralph Lauren than from someone’s old dishes.
For this, you will need a few plates and a small bowl or two. Arrange the dishes with the largest at the bottom and progressively smaller ones on top, ending with the bowls.
You can even throw in a porcelain dish or two into the mix. Attach the dishes in the center using epoxy glue, and you have a glass flower. Place it on a wall or a metal rod in the garden. No matter where you place it, it will surely bloom.
Donate your dishes
If your old dishes are not broken, donating them to charity or someone who needs them is always better than throwing them away.
You can recycle old glass dishes much in the same way as porcelain, from servers to picture frames. Do not turn glassware into a clock, as drilling will shatter the dish.
For both porcelain or Glass, if you have run out of options for upcycling and recycling your dishes or if they are shattered beyond use, follow these steps to throw them away.
· Take your broken dishes and wrap them inside a newspaper or any paper.
· Place the wrapped bundle inside a cardboard box.
· Label the box with “Broken Glass” or “Broken Porcelain” and seal it shut.
· Then put it out with your trash.
How To Recycle Aluminum or Steel Dishes?
Since these are metals, they are readily recycled. Just drop them off at your local recycler’s, and they will gladly take them off your hands. Just remember to separate the steel dishes from the stainless-steel ones, as stainless steel fetches a better price.
However, as these materials do not usually get chipped or broken, you can reuse them in your house for a long time. You can also give away these dishes to charity to help those in need.
Benefits of Recycling Dishes
A lot of the stuff you throw away ends up either being incinerated or going to a landfill. And neither porcelain, Glass, or metal can be destroyed by heating. So, they will most likely end up in a landfill somewhere.
The United States currently produces 292.4 million tons of solid waste every day, and that’s nearly 5 pounds of waste produced by every American every day.
We have to do everything we can to reduce this amount, for this is the only planet we have, for the foreseeable future at least. While it may not be possible to bring our waste production down to naught, reusing and recycling before throwing anything away goes a long way.
You can rest a little easier at night knowing you recycled something that would otherwise have ended up taking space in a landfill.
As I said before, this list of beautiful ways you can recycle your old dishes is not an exhaustive one, and you only need to use your imagination. That said, this is a good place to get started, and you will definitely get some good ideas for turning your old plates into pretty and useful items around the house.