Old broken toilet

What To Do With an Old Toilet?

Non-biodegradable urinals, toilet seats, and toilet bowls are just some of the things that end up in landfills everywhere around the world every year. In fact, just in the United States alone, over 7 million toilets end up in landfills on an annual basis.

Are you in the process of renovating your bathroom? If so, you’re probably wondering what to do with an old toilet you’re stuck with. In this article, I’ll be taking a closer look at several eco-friendly ways of disposing of your old porcelain throne. Read on!


Safe Ways to Get Rid of An Old Toilet

It goes without saying, but in a situation such as this one, safety should definitely be your No.1 priority. Keep in mind that we’re talking about sanitary fixtures that are quite heavy. For that matter, your best bet is to call for assistance when transporting your old John from your house to the place you want to leave it at.

The most important thing you should do before the transportation itself is to remove all water from the toilet’s tank. Do this by using a sponge and a bucket, a handheld siphon/pump, or a turkey buster.

The most important thing you shouldn’t do before the transportation is to break your old toilet into small pieces. This is because pieces of porcelain can be razor-sharp and therefore very dangerous.

Depending on your city and state regulations, here’s are a few methods of disposing of an old toilet in a safe and responsible manner:

Repurpose It

Repurposed toilet tank

Photo by Earthworm via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Creative reuse (“upcycling”) is the method you should consider before all other methods – why would you want to get rid of your old sanitary fixture if it can be used in some other way? If there’s even a tiny bit of creativity in you, consider repurposing your old porcelain throne into a:

Alternative Seat

One of the easiest ways to repurpose an old toilet into something new is to simply turn it into a chair. Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the entire toilet, simply glue the lid to the seat and paint the whole thing in any color you like. You can also make your new, alternative seat movable by adding some wheels to it.

Pet Bowl

To turn your old toilet into a pet bowl, all that you have to do is to remove the tank and sanitize the bowl. Block all open areas inside the bowl and pour drinking water into it for your cats and dogs. Always keep it full so that your larger pets don’t fall inside while trying to reach the water.

Fish Tank

The tank of the toilet can be repurposed as a fish tank. Sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it? However, this is something that definitely can be pulled off as long as you have the necessary plumbing know-how. Also, don’t forget that an old toilet bowl can be used as a storage space for pet food and supplies.

Wall Sculptures and Hangings

If you’re into painting, you can easily use the toilet lid or seat as a blank canvas for your art project. What is more, an old toilet seat can be repurposed into a large photo frame – use it to hang any photos or paintings that you like around your house.

Yard Decoration

Repurposed toilet

Instead of just throwing it away, why wouldn’t you turn your old John into a decorative planter? Simply fill the bowl with potting soil, plant some flowers, and then place the entire thing somewhere in your garden. Believe it or not, an old toilet makes a fantastic and very functional flower pot. Don’t forget that you can easily decorate the whole thing with small pieces of tiles and glass.

Drop It Off at Your Local Recycling Center

People in a recycling center

Is there a recycling center in your area? If there is, check if they’re accepting porcelain, and if they do, drop off your old toilet there. The best way of finding reputable recycling centers is by asking for recommendations from your water authority.

Keep in mind that dropping off an old toilet at some recycling centers requires paying a small fee. If you’re renovating your bathroom/house and looking to save as much money as possible, simply give a call to each recycling center in your region and compare their quotes.

List it With Online Recycling Groups

Freecycle and similar recycling groups provide locations and descriptions of objects that are given for free by local community members. Write a short description of the old toilet you’re listing and share your contact info.

Once you get in touch with another member of the community, all that you’ll have to do is to arrange a convenient place and time for both of you so that he or she can pick up your old porcelain throne.

These kinds of online groups sometimes partner with waste disposal companies. This means that you can try calling the nearest waste disposal company and ask them who to contact with your listing.

Check Toilet Recycling Programs

Sometimes, local authorities organize recycling programs where they create materials that are used for building roads and sidewalks by crushing old toilets and mixing them with concrete.

To see if there’s any such program in your area, simply check with your city. One of the best places for getting useful info on recycling programs is usually the local solid waste company, so if you have one nearby, give them a call.

Keep in mind that you may be asked to remove all non-porcelain parts from your toilet to get it ready for recycling. These usually include the seat, the lid, and the bolts.

Give to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore

If you’ve never heard about Habitat for Humanity before, it’s an organization consisting of retail centers that resell used items, including household items like sanitary fixtures. The money that this group earns from selling such objects is typically donated to all kinds of local building projects.

Check if there’s a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area. If there is, give them a call and ask if they accept old toilets.

Dismantle It Into Parts

Toilet with an open tank

Another option would be to simply disassemble the whole thing. Dismantle your old John for parts that you’ll be able to use for all kinds of projects later.

No matter what type of toilet you have, parts such as hoses, elbows, washers, flanges, valves, nuts, and bolts can come in very handy if your new toilet ever breaks down. What is more, components such as flappers and handles can be easily retrofitted into other sanitary fixtures. If you ever need to flush a toilet with a broken handle, the old one will be of great use.

Sell It or Give It Away

If you’re looking to replace your old toilet with a new one even though there’s nothing wrong with the old model, consider giving the old toilet away or selling it through your local newspapers.

You can also use Craigslist and similar online platforms. I’m pretty sure you’ll be surprised when you realize just how many people are shopping for functioning, well-preserved, second-hand toilets.

If you don’t manage to find a buyer, consider giving your toilet away. There’s bound to be someone who will gladly accept a functional toilet regardless of its style, shape, or color.

The Conclusion

I highly advise against dumping your old porcelain throne in places that are not designated for such objects. Not only is doing something like that bad for the environment, but it can also attract various legal consequences.

A much better idea would be to go with one of the recycling options I’ve listed above. You can also donate your old toilet to someone who really needs it or give it a brand new role by repurposing it into something completely different.

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