Is Ceramic Recyclable? (And Are They Biodegradable?)

Ceramics are beautiful objects made from clay, which potters can shape into anything. Every household has one ceramic item or the other. We all remember doing the dishes when we were growing up and had to be extra careful with the ceramic plates and cups.

They are certainly very aesthetically appealing but quite fragile too! The slightest force directed at your ceramic item can chip or break it. So what do you do when you have a chipped or broken ceramic item and would love to do away with it?

You certainly cannot serve your guests with chipped or broken ceramic plates and cups. It would not be very comfortable! You also can’t use them forever, as a slight chip can eventually lead to a full crack, and a full crack would subsequently destroy the ceramic item.

In this blog post, we have come up with various ways for you to dispose of your useless and unwanted ceramic items properly. Of course, recycling would always be a priority, but what happens when you live in a community where your recycling center doesn’t accept ceramic items? You would find these tips very useful, so enjoy!

Can you Recycle Ceramics?

What do you do when it is time for you to let go of your favorite ceramic dish? Do you toss it in the trash? Of course, you can’t attempt to incinerate it because you can’t burn it. It already withstood its test of fire when it was being created.

Why can’t you toss them in the trash? If you do this, you may end up hurting the garbagemen who take out your trash. Also, ceramics have sharp edges when they break, so anyone not looking out for them may get seriously injured. Asides from this, though they are biodegradable, decomposition would take a very long time, so you can’t count on them to get decomposed anytime soon.

They would end up taking up a lot of space. One of the reasons we recycle is to free up space in our landfills. The way to go about this is to ensure that only items that can decay are disposed of there and that completely excludes your favorite ceramic bowl.

Now, what do you do with your broken ceramic items? You could consider recycling. It is usually your go-to option if you are invested in protecting your environment. First, you would need to find out if your local recycling center accepts ceramic items or not. Most times, they don’t.

Recycling centers turn down ceramic items because of the technical process involved in recycling them. Another reason is that most local recycling centers don’t have the machines used to grind up ceramics, and the ones used to recycle basic materials are not strong enough to get the job done.

If you are pretty serious about recycling your ceramics, you may have to look out for a commercial recycling center. These companies can take on items as complex as ceramics.

Can you Recycle Ceramic Mugs?

Did your favorite coffee mug acquire a chip? Unfortunately, you may have to get rid of it pretty soon. Why’s that? Well, a chip means a crack is around the corner. So you may as well begin to say goodbye to your favorite mug.

It is also quite dangerous because that mug would be coming in close contact with your mouth. Chipped or cracked ceramics can be pretty sharp, and if you are not careful, you could cut yourself. Another thing you have to worry about is getting cut while washing the mug.

Of course, you love the mug, it was given to you by your favorite person, but you may have to let it go real soon! So, now that you have accepted that you may have to let it go soon, how do you plan to get this done?

You can look to have it recycled. Unfortunately, recycling options for ceramics may not be available at your local recycling center, so you may have to take it to a commercial recycling center. They would happily take your chipped items.

It would make a lot more sense if you just gathered your damaged ceramic items and took them all at once to where you would recycle them. You may want to do this bi-annually or monthly; it largely depends on how often your ceramic items get broken.

Can you Recycle Ceramic Plates?

Ceramic plates are very common and essential household items. These days, even kids are sometimes fed with ceramic bowls and plates. You know what this means, don’t you? Kids are pretty careless and are prone to destroying things.

Ceramic plates are not left out. Even when you do not serve your kids with ceramic plates, while playing around the house, they can mistakenly break a dish or two. While you have to be on the lookout for cuts and bruises, if your favorite bowl were also a victim, you would feel a bit angry and probably frustrated.

But what can you do asides from an attempt to get rid of the broken plates? Now, how do you get rid of them? Of course, being the environmentally conscious person you are, you would automatically want to recycle those broken ceramics.

They are recyclable; of course, it’s just that most local recycling centers don’t accept them. So that means that you would have to find a commercial recycling center that does.

However, some commercial recycling centers only take on specific items. For instance, one may specialize in recycling ceramic items but exclude household items, making finding a suitable center a bit hard.

If you have difficulty finding the most suitable location for you to recycle your broken ceramics, you can use a recycling locator. You could also check the internet for the nearest recycling center that takes on ceramic items near you. If the closest place is a bit far, we suggest storing these items over time. Then, at intervals, you can now make your way to the recycling center you found.

Is Ceramic Biodegradable?

How do you determine material or item that is biodegradable? It’s simple! You consider their decay or decomposition period. Typically, biodegradable materials can easily be decomposed by microorganisms and in a reasonable period too. Any material that can either not decay or take a long time to finally get broken into particles does not count as biodegradable.

Would you say ceramics are biodegradable? Yes. They are biodegradable. However, most times, they do not break down for a long time. They can remain the exact way they are for years and often do when they are not correctly disposed of. They have been estimated to stay sturdy for thousands of years unless they are disturbed or exposed to extreme weather.

Ceramics are made from clay and other earth materials, so when they eventually get broken down, they meld with the soil and pose absolutely no harm.

Is Ceramic Eco-Friendly?

Ceramics are made from clay, and when they eventually get broken down into particles, they do not harm the environment. It would take a while for ceramics to get to this point, but they do not release any toxic gas into the atmosphere when they do.

They are entirely eco-friendly. You called it! When ceramics eventually get broken down, they go back to the dust they originally were. Of course, it helps that they are made from renewable natural resources, majorly being clay and water. The process of creating them is pretty harmless too.

What Can You Do With Old Ceramics?

When you are looking to safely and correctly get rid of an item you don’t need anymore, your immediate option could be to recycle it. But what happens when the item you want to dispose of cannot be recycled or has a stressful recycling process?

Even when the recycling process is relatively easy for you, you may want to look at other options. There ought to be other uses for those things, especially when you are not ready to let go of them.

Here, we have come up with a couple of othermethods to dispose of your chipped, cracked or broken ceramics, so enjoy!

1. Thrift Them

If you have ceramic bowls and mugs still in fairly good condition, you can thrift them. Several thrift stores take on chipped or old ceramic bowls and cups. If there is none around you, you can look for the nearest one on the internet.

Who knows, in the process of thrifting them, you may find an item that would appeal to you.

2. Donate Them

This option is reserved for only ceramic items that are slightly cracked, chipped or stained. Unfortunately, you cannot donate broken ceramic items. However, there are several ways you can donate ceramic items in fairly great conditions.

One of them includes donating to homeless shelters. Homeless shelters are always in the market for anything that can make feeding the homeless easier. No amount of mugs and dishes can be enough, so don’t hesitate to match the homeless shelter closest to you and donate those items!

3. DIYs

There are several DIYs you can create from your damaged ceramic items. People are always coming up with new ways to use these things, and you can jump on the trend too. The internet would provide you with all the tutorials you need to transform those items into beautiful household items you didn’t even know you needed.

The best part is, you get to have some fun in the process. So now, you not only have a couple of beautiful and useful household items, but you also get to keep your favorite mugs and dishes in sight.

4. Repurpose

Repurposing is another excellent idea. You can now take that broken ceramic bowl and turn it into a flower vase or a bowl for your keys. You can use your favorite chipped mug to house your stationary, and that plate you love can be used to make a cake stand.

Instead of your immediate reaction to be to dispose of damaged ceramic items, you can instead choose to repurpose them. However, if the aim is to declutter, you may proceed to thrift, donate or recycle.


You must learn to dispose of broken ceramic items appropriately and safely. In this context, it isn’t entirely about protecting the planet. We mean, an act as simple as tossing the broken dish in the trash can cause severe injuries to those taking out your trash, so proper disposal isn’t just for your safety but also the safety of others.

We have taken the time to come up with these remarkable methods of disposing of bad ceramic items. People are gradually becoming more open to making decisions that positively affect the environment, and if you aren’t one of them yet, we urge you to join the movement.

Everything you need to have fun getting rid of your damaged ceramic items is in this article, so have fun digesting it!


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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.