How to Recycle a Toilet

Amy Hoover
flowers in toilet flowerpots

If you're remodeling your bathroom, you may wonder how to recycle a toilet. Is it worth the effort to find a new home for your old john? Consider the options and benefits of the recycling effort.

How to Recycle a Toilet

From recycling the individual parts to actually breaking down the toilet, there are a few workable options that will keep your old toilet out of the landfill. Try one of these ideas.

Toilet Repair Parts

Break It Down for Parts

Take the toilet apart and use the parts for other projects. Connection hoses, elbows, nuts, bolts, washers, valves, and other pieces of the toilet may prove useful should other toilets in your house fall into disrepair. Keep the handle and flapper, since you might be able to retrofit them onto a different toilet model.

Local Recycling Program

Toilet recycling programs crush the porcelain and use it in concrete for both roads and sidewalks. Check with your city to see if they have a recycling program that includes toilets. Your local solid waste company is another resource for locating a toilet recycling program. You might also have some luck with concrete or recycling listings in the yellow pages.

You might need to prepare the toilet for recycling by removing the extra parts. This might include the seat and bolts, as well as any other non-porcelain components.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

The Habitat for Humanity program has stores in both the United States and Canada. Called Habitat ReStores, these retail centers sell new and gently used donated home goods and use the proceeds for local building projects. If you have a toilet that is gently used and still in good shape, you might have the option of donating it to a local Habitat ReStore. You'll want to call your local store to make sure they take toilet donations. Some ReStores offer a pick up option, or you can haul the toilet yourself.

Sell It

If you have a really old toilet, you might be surprised at how many people want it. Even a newer toilet might sell quickly to someone looking for a good deal. Try listing the toilet on Craigslist or in your local newspaper. You can make a little money on the transaction, and you know the toilet is going to a new home.

Give It Away

If your toilet is in poor condition but still works, you may not be able to donate it or sell it. In this case, consider giving it away to someone who could use a working toilet no matter what it looks like. Try contacting programs like Freecycle or posting a listing on your local swap or Craigslist website. Be sure you mention the toilet is not in good shape and that it's being sold as-is.

Repurpose Your Old Toilet

If you can't recycled the toilet, upcyling is also a viable option. Try one of these creative ideas.

Yard Decorations

Toilets As Yard Decoration

Repurpose an old toilet to make a unique planter for the back yard. Fill the tank and the base of the toilet with potting soil and plant your choice of greenery and flowers. You can also dress up the outside of the toilet by adding a mosaic pattern with tiles and glass pieces. If you're also replacing an old claw foot tub, you can make it a set of unique planters. Your creative use of old bathroom fixtures might make you the talk of the neighborhood.

Alternative Seating Options

If you need a conversation starter when guests come to visit, clean the toilet and repaint it to match your decor. Use it like you would any other chair in the living room, den, or even office; it's perfect if you have an eclectic decorating style. Toilets are heavy, however, so consider adding wheels to make moving it easy. Be sure you glue the seat and lid down securely as well.

Pet Bowls

The old adage of the pets drinking out of the toilet bowl can become a reality in your home. Clean the toilet and remove the tank. Plug up the open areas and fill with drinking water to keep large dogs from having to lean so far over to take a drink.

Fish Tank

While you may need to have a little plumbing know-how, consider replacing the back of an old toilet with a fish tank. The bowl can be used to store fish food and cleaning supplies. Your finned friends won't know they are being housed on the back of a toilet, and it's a good way to store items with the actual tank.

Wall Hangings or Sculptures

The creative artist in your home may want to use the toilet lid and/or seat as a canvas for a new painting project. The seat could even become a photo frame! Sculptors in your home might find using the toilet in an upcoming project a promising idea.

How to Dispose of the Toilet

If you have exhausted all the recycling options in your community and you can't come up with a creative way to reuse the toilets or its parts, then you'll need to dispose of the toilet properly. Call your local landfill or waste disposal site. They may only take larger items like toilets on certain days and may charge a disposal fee. Find these costs out up front.

Alternatively, you may be able to schedule a pick up by the landfill/disposal site. This means they will come by to get the toilet, but again, you'll likely need to schedule this and you may need to purchase a sticker or tag to indicate the toilet should be collected.

Flush Away Crowded Landfills

Learning how to recycle a toilet can save precious space in already crowded landfills. Even one less toilet heading to the landfill does the Earth good.

How to Recycle a Toilet