Good quality kitchen knives can last for decades. You may have even inherited some particularly valuable, well-made chef’s knives that have been in your family for several generations. Indeed, if used and cared for properly, great quality knives can outlive us.
But most regular kitchen knives do have a ‘life expectancy’ of sorts. Some become dull no matter how many times you sharpen them, others lose their handles, and some start bending and even breaking. When such things start to happen, it’s time to get rid of the knife in question and start looking for a new, well-made kitchen knife.
But what to do with old knives? Surely you can’t just dump them in the trash – someone might get seriously injured or worse. To get rid of your old kitchen knives in a safe manner, follow some of the tips and tricks proposed in this article.
Getting Rid of Old Kitchen Knives
There are many ways you can toss out your unwanted kitchen knives, but not all actually require a trash can.
Before you start thinking of the ways to get rid of your old kitchen knives, think about their usability. Sure, they may not be up to par with your culinary abilities anymore, but are they completely unusable or just unusable for you? If it’s the latter, think about donating them. Many charitable organizations not only accept kitchen knives but are in desperate need for them. Even Goodwill accepts old knives now, so be sure to donate them if at all possible. Of course, it’s always best to check if your local charitable organization actually accepts knives before you send them.
The best way to donate an old kitchen knife is to wrap it securely, so no one gets hurt. You can wrap the knife with newspaper, put it in a cardboard box and write ‘knives’ so people know what to expect. Or, wrap the knife in a few layers of bubble wrap, place it in a box of your choice and let the transportation guys know what’s inside.
Some metal recycling companies accept various kitchen items, including old kitchen knives. So, if your kitchen knives are in no condition to be donated but you don’t wish to throw them away, check if your local metal recycling company accepts them. If it does (and it’s highly likely they do), just add your old knives to the company’s scrapheap and they will be melted down and recycled into usable objects.
This is actually the perfect way to get rid of old, unusable knives as they will find another purpose, just in a different form.
If you need to get rid of some old kitchen knives and could use some money, why not sell them for scrap metal? Metal has unlimited use, meaning it can be used over and over again without losing its quality. But many people seem unaware of this, and rarely anyone actually recycles their old knives and other steel materials.
But there is a well-established market for steel scrap, which means you can easily find shops that would pay you to sell them your old kitchen knives. Most knives are made from steel, although some are made from iron and other mixed metals, so before you try selling them, find out what type of metal they are made from.
Selling can be particularly useful if you have a bunch of old kitchen knives.
Finally, if your old kitchen knives cannot be donated or recycled (or if you just prefer to throw them away), you can just toss them away. But clearly, since knives can be quite dangerous, even the dull ones, it’s a good idea to follow certain safety precautions.
- Newspaper wrap: take several sheets of old newspaper and wrap them around the blade of the knife. Generally, 6-7 sheets will do. Make sure you wrap every inch of the exposed blade, but leave the handle out so it’s visible. Tape the newspaper around the knife so everything is securely wrapped.
- Bubble wrap: similarly to the newspaper, you can wrap your old knife with a bubble wrap. Just take a generous amount of bubble wrap, wrap it around the blade of the knife, leaving the handle exposed. Tape the wrap in place securely.
- Cardboard wrap: cardboard may be the safest way to wrap your old kitchen knife before throwing it away. However, since cardboard is not that flexible, it’s time to get creative. Take a piece of cardboard that is longer and bigger than the entire knife and fold it in half. Place the knife inside so that the blade is against the fold. Now tape it all together so everything is tight and secure. If you have a spare shoe box, place this all inside it.
- Clothes wrap: if you don’t have any newspaper, bubble wrap or cardboard, you can use old clothes to warp your old knives. However, be warned that this is not the safest method. For one, clothes can unwrap easily, and two, someone may be in need for old clothes and may want to use the ones you threw away. If they’re not careful, they can seriously injure themselves. For this reason, if you plan to wrap your old knives with clothes, make sure you wrap them well and secure everything with a tape. Consider attaching a paper on top with the words “old knives.”
However you choose to wrap your old kitchen knife, it’s best to wrap it several times around the blade, so no one gets hurt. When you’re done wrapping the knife, just chuck it in the trash bin.
Important: if you decide to throw your old knives away, make sure you know it’s actually ok to just toss them in the trash. No matter how careful you are with wrapping them, your area may have different policies about throwing sharp objects away. So, check with your local authorities if it’s ok to wrap the knives and toss them in the bin before you actually do it.