Can You Recycle Cast Iron?

We come in contact with and use cast iron more than we even realize. Some of us don’t even know that our pots, pans and cooking utensils are majorly made from cast iron. The same goes for our pipes, skillets and even some parts of our cars. At the end of the day, we find that we have a range of possessions that are made from cast iron.

How about your kitchen sink that has served you for ages? These items have lasted for so long because they are made from cast iron; which is one of the most durable materials manufactured by man.

fried-eggs-in-cast-iron-pan

Now that we know that we own many cast iron items, we also need to know how to dispose of them. Do they go straight to the trash when we don’t need them anymore? Are they harmful to the environment? Do we recycle them?  We are sure that you have a myriad of other questions regarding disposing of cast iron.

Well, in this blog post, we will provide enough answers to these questions and the many more you didn’t even know you had. We will also give you unique and creative options to rely on if you desire to dispose of your cast iron. Now, you would have several options to choose from.

Enjoy!

Can Cast Iron Be Recycled?

Don’t cast that cast iron in the trash! You probably did not know that you could recycle your old cast iron sinks, bathtubs, skillets, pots and pans. Well, now you do. You can and should recycle your old cast iron.

Cast iron is made from solid and durable materials, and most of them are built to last a very long time. Therefore, you would find some cast iron items that have been in existence for more than three decades, and they would still be in excellent working conditions.

They are perfectly environmentally friendly and sustainable. Aside from the fact that cast iron lasts for decades and sometimes centuries, when cast iron is recycled, it can last for another very long period.

For instance, your bathtubs and sinks made from cast iron indeed lasted you for a very long time. Knowing how durable these items are, it would not come as a surprise to find out you the cast iron pots you are looking to recycle were handed to you by your grandparent.

Now, when recycling cast iron, the items will be melted and reformed into other items that will last another century or so. That’s just how durable and long-lasting cast iron can be.

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It’s pretty simple; cast iron is also highly sustainable. You can use it over and over again without it getting worn out. People often give up their cast iron items because they are tired of using them, not because they have gone bad. They rarely go bad.

Recycling cast iron is also relatively easy. First, inquire at your local recycling center if they accept cast iron. If they don’t, you can use a recycling locator to find the nearest recycling center that does.

The best part is, you may even make a few bucks while at it. Some recycling centers pay you good money for your valuable cast iron because they know the value and what can be molded from the recycled material.

So, when next you have cast iron to dispose of, instead of binning it or simply abandoning it in your shed, just take it down to your recycling center and make a few bucks in the process.

Is Cast Iron Worth Money in Scrap?

Of course. Cast iron is worth a substantial amount of money in scrap. So chances are, the scrap iron you are looking to dispose of is actually more valuable than you realize.

For one, it is made from pure iron, with just a low percentage of dilution, which means that even the cast iron you are looking to dispose of would be very valuable when it is recycled.

Another thing is that you may not even recycle it before it is put to good use. The thing about cast iron is that even when it has lasted for decades, and it looks like it has gone bad, you can revamp it. Yes, cast iron can be revamped.

There are certain steps you can take to revamp your cast iron. The best part is that you don’t even need to wash them thoroughly using detergents that have chemicals in them. Owning and using cast iron pots and pans certainly has tons of advantages.

For instance, if you put your cast iron pots in the oven, the heat will help remove all the scraps of food that have been stuck to them for a while. Soak the pot in water and add some vinegar. Leave it for several hours, and you’ll come back to see that they are as good as new.

However, if you would rather get rid of your unwanted cast iron, you can take it to the scrap yard. Scrap yards would offer you good money to take your cast iron off your hands. The best part is that their services are usually easy and professional.

Most of them offer drive-through services. You can simply measure your cast iron to determine the weight and determine how much money you would be paid for it.

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You most certainly can make good money from selling your cast iron to scrap yards, so if you have some you are looking to dispose of, don’t hesitate to take them straight to the scrap yard.

Can Cast Iron be Welded?

Well, if you have been wondering what makes cast iron different from wrought iron, here’s the reason. Usually, cast iron can be heated, melted and then poured into the container of the shape it is supposed to take.

It’s different in that it is shaped while it is still in liquid form. Cast iron is typically very strong, and it is usually difficult for blacksmiths to beat them into the desired shape.

In case you didn’t know, welding entails melting two iron pieces and beating them together to join them together, which mostly works for other types of iron, but it is always difficult to weld cast iron. If parts need to be joined while working with cast iron, it is done at the manufacturing stage.

Cast iron can be welded; however, it is usually a complicated process. Therefore, Blacksmiths refrain from welding cast iron. Recycling centers would instead melt it till it becomes liquid and shape it into whatever they desire.

Is Rust on Cast Iron Dangerous?

It is perfectly reasonable to wonder if rust on cast iron is dangerous for you. It certainly looks like it can be hazardous to your health; after all, it is rust. But the truth is it isn’t.

Ingesting a tiny amount of rust with your food or water will definitely not kill you. Rust has been deemed to not be harmful if it is consumed in small quantities according to the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S.  It is only harmful if you have a rare disease known as hemochromatosis, which is a condition that makes a person retain iron in their system.

Of course, your cast iron may acquire some rust here and there, but you needn’t worry. You can try your best to scrub it off, but if a little amount remains, you don’t have to worry about it being harmful to your health.

Now, when your cast iron acquires some rust, you can season it. We bet you didn’t know you could season a skillet or pot, but now you do.

5 Astonishing Ways to Reuse Old Cast Iron Skillets

Recycling is always a great idea if you are looking to protect your environment. However, beyond recycling, there are several other ways to dispose of items without actually giving them up.

For instance, your cast iron skillets can be repurposed in so many ways. We have a few of those ideas for you. So read up and enjoy!

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1. Thrift Them

Cast iron makes an excellent thrifting item. Most cast iron items have a vintage and antique feel about them, so if you walk into a thrift store holding a couple of cast iron skillets, you will undoubtedly walk out with some extra money.

A thrift store would be more than happy to take your unwanted skillets off your hands. And who knows, maybe you’ll find an item that you didn’t know you needed in the thrift store.

2. Donate Them

Items as valuable as cast iron skillets will be appreciated by the people you donate them to. If you’ve got family and friends that enjoy cooking, chances are they know how valuable that skillet you are looking to give away is.

Don’t hesitate to hand it over to them; they will undoubtedly cherish it and thank you for it. You would also end up feeling good about yourself.

Now, if you don’t have friends or family you can donate your cast iron skillets to, donate them to charity organizations and homeless shelters. These non-profit organizations most times cook food in large quantities for homeless and less privileged people. They would appreciate your kind gesture.

3. Decorative Clocks

Your old cast iron can become a canvas for a creative clock. You can paint it any color you want. It’s a relatively easy craft, and it’s one we can assure you that you will enjoy working on.

4. Kitchen Decorations

You can spray-paint your unwanted cast iron skillets and arrange them together to give off an artsy design. For this project, you would need about two to three skillets. However, you can also work with one if that’s all you have.

After spray painting the skillets, arrange them in whatever pattern is suitable for you. This artwork is best in a kitchen setting but where you place them is entirely up to you.

5. Household Art

You can turn your cast iron skillets into a canvas for household art. The best part is that these artworks can be placed anywhere in the house. If you don’t know how to draw or paint, you can employ the services of anyone who can.

It may be a family member, a friend or even a professional. We assure you that when the projects are completed, you will enjoy looking at them. The best part is that you can gift all these items out.

Conclusion

People who don’t know just how valuable a cast-iron item is are the ones who dispose of them anyhow. Now that you know how valuable they are, we hope that when next you have to dispose of your unwanted cast iron, you would reconsider.

You can opt for one of the many options we have provided you. So please, read up and stay informed.

References:

https://www.machinedesign.com/materials/metals/article/21832007/whats-the-difference-between-cast-and-wrought-iron

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/throw-out-castiron-pot-recycle-it-79310.html

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.