Can You Recycle Metal Cutlery And Utensils? (Full Guide)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Now more than ever, we are becoming more resourceful by recycling and repurposing items that would typically be perceived as trash.

We all know that just about any material can be recycled, but what about our old metal cutlery and utensils? Continue reading to find out the proper way to dispose of these items and more!

Can You Recycle Metal Cutlery And Utensils?

Fortunately, metal cutlery and utensils can be recycled. Furthermore, there are many ways that you can recycle and repurpose these items. For example, they can be donated or sold to a crafter or artist for various projects, or you can sell them to your local scarp metal recycling facility.

Continue reading this article for potentially beneficial information on how you can recycle or repurpose your old metal cutlery and utensils, so they don’t end up in a landfill! 

Recycling – Making The Effort

We all know the old adage that emphasizes the three Rs: 

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

Sometimes, however, that can be easier said than done because in an idealistic world, everything would be recycled, and there would be no waste. 

Unfortunately, that is not the world where we live. While we may not be living in the perfect world, steps are being taken every day to improve the way we practice those three Rs. 

Furthermore, people are working together to create programs to clean up the earth and lessen the amount of waste produced so future generations can live on a clean and healthy planet.

Most Are Missing The Mark When Recycling

It has been said that close to one-third of the items that people throw in their recycling bins do not belong there. This is because recycling: 

  • Can be a lot of work
  • Requires effort
  • Requires intentionality 

Additionally, many items need to be stripped down and separated so the different materials can be properly recycled. 

For example, glass used to make a Pyrex™ baking dish, cannot be mixed with regular “container” glass in a recycling bin as it can render a whole batch of recycled material unusable. 

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Furthermore, this surprising fact is why it is important to check with your local waste removal service to see what materials they will accept. 

Ferrous And Non-Ferrous Metals

When recycling old metal cutlery and utensils, the first thing you need to know is what type of metal you are dealing with

This is because there are ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and depending on your location and the programs available in your area, you may not be able to recycle certain kinds of metal. 

Determining The Type Of Metal

However, you may be wondering what ferrous and non-ferrous means? 

Luckily, the following section will give you a brief description to help you as you are sorting through your cutlery and flatware. 

Furthermore, Ferrous metal is any metal that contains iron. This type of metal is much heavier than non-ferrous metals and normally they are magnetic aswell. 

Examples of ferrous metals include: 

  • Carbon Steel
  • Cast Iron
  • Lead 
  • Wrought Iron

As you can probably guess, Non-Ferrous metal is the opposite of ferrous metal. This type of metal does not contain any iron. 

As such, this type of metal is also not magnetic like the ferrous metals we discussed. 

Furthermore, Non-Ferrous metals are more sought after, especially by those in the metal recycling business. 

This is because they weigh less, and these types of metal can be recycled multiple times because they do not lose their chemical composition as ferrous metal does. 

Additionally, some examples of Non-Ferrous metals include: 

  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Copper

Moreover, an easy, at-home test to tell the difference between your ferrous and non-ferrous metals is to use a magnet and see if your metal sticks to the magnet. 

If it does, you are dealing with ferrous metal; if not, you have some non-ferrous metal in front of you.

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So, since these types of metal are more difficult to come by and are worth more money, this is the type of metal you should focus on if you are trying to make some money while recycling. 

Recycling Your Metal Cutlery And Utensils

Recycling Your Metal Cutlery And Utensils

At the beginning of the article, we briefly mentioned ways that you can potentially recycle or repurpose your old metal cutlery and utensils. 

Furthermore, this section will expand upon those previously mentioned items. 

Arts And Crafts 

There are some pretty creative people out there, and you would be amazed at what they can manifest with some junky old cutlery and utensils that you were going to dispose of. 

Therefore, if you are feeling generous, you can simply donate your old metal cutlery and utensils to some starving artists who are trying to create something beautiful on a budget. 

Additionally, you can also donate them to your school’s local art department as an added element of inspiration to the young artists in your community. 

Putting Them Back To Use

The best thing that you can probably do is donate your old metal cutlery and utensils to a person or family who is down on their luck and may need some items to get their home in order. 

Furthermore, there are many places in your community that will gladly accept donations, such as: 

  • Churches
  • Good Will™
  • Police Stations
  • The Salvation Army™

Recycling Centers

Once you have determined which kind of metals are being used in the old cutlery and utensils you wish to get rid of, you can take them to your local scrap metal recycling center.  

In many cases, you will get paid pretty well for something you were just going to throw in the trash. 

However, here’s the catch when you are dealing with scrap metal recycling: You have to separate it from other materials. 

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For example, you may have a metal knife with a wooden or plastic handle.

Therefore, before you take that to the scrap yard, you must first separate the handle material from the blade. 

This is why many people will skip the recycling process as it can be tedious. 

Other Items For The Metal Recycling Facility

While you are going to the scrap metal recycling facility, you may want to look around your property for these items, as you may be able to make some money from them, too. 

Or, at a minimum, you will be helping the earth by recycling some old junk. 

Furthermore, the following items can be taken to a scrap metal recycling facility: 

  • Appliances
  • Bed frames
  • Bicycles
  • Cables
  • Car parts
  • Exercise equipment
  • Patio Furniture
  • Pots and Pans
  • Shelving
  • Tools
  • Wire
  • Wire hangers 

While this list is not all-inclusive, it does give you a good idea of items that can be recycled.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle baking trays, whether you can recycle butcher paper, and whether you can recycle meat trays.


Now you know that it is possible to recycle and repurpose your old metal cutlery and utensils. However, knowing how to identify which type of metal you are dealing with is just as important, so by doing this you can help start your journey to fulfill the three Rs.

Furthermore, learning what your local waste removal services and recycling centers accept will help you to be more proactive and keep our planet healthy and green for many generations to come. 


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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