Cash In and Conserve: Recycling Your Old Plumbing

When you undertake a plumbing renovation project, you inevitably end up with a pile of old pipes, fixtures, and fittings. Don’t just toss them in the trash! Many plumbing materials can be recycled, conserving resources and potentially earning you some extra cash.

What Can Be Recycled?

The good news is that many common plumbing materials are recyclable. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Metals: Scrap metal yards readily accept copper, brass, and even some steel pipes and fittings. Copper pipe, especially clean and uncoated varieties, fetches the highest prices.
  • Some Plastics: While not all recycling centers accept plastic, some do take PVC pipes and certain plastic fittings. Check with your local facility to see if they accept these materials.

What Can’t Be Recycled?

  • Hazardous Materials: These include old mercury thermometers and certain types of drain cleaners. Contact your local hazardous waste disposal center for proper disposal procedures.
  • Mixed Materials: Recycling centers typically require materials to be sorted by type. Items with mixed materials, like faucets with attached plastic handles, may not be accepted.

Before You Recycle

  • Sort It Out: Separate your scrap by material type (copper, brass, plastic, etc.) This will make the recycling process smoother and potentially more profitable.
  • Clean Up: Remove any dirt, oil, or debris from the metal scraps. This will make them more valuable to recyclers.
  • Check with Your Local Center: Recycling programs and accepted materials can vary by location. Contact your local recycling center to determine what they accept and what their procedures are.

Benefits of Recycling Plumbing Scrap

  • Conserves Resources: Recycling metals reduces the need for virgin materials to be mined and processed, resulting in a smaller environmental footprint.
  • Saves Money: Scrap metal yards pay by the pound, so you can earn some cash for your old plumbing materials.
  • Reduces Landfill Waste: Keeping recyclables out of landfills reduces environmental problems caused by overflowing landfills.


Recycling your old plumbing scrap is a responsible and potentially rewarding way to dispose of these materials. By following these simple steps, you can contribute to a greener environment and potentially earn some extra cash in the process. So, the next time you have a plumbing project, think twice before throwing away those old pipes and fixtures. Recycle them instead!