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Toilet Disposal and Recycling

The best way to dispose of an old toilet is to try to recycle it. The first thing to do is to call your city’s recycling center or water conservation office and ask if a recycling program exists. As an alternative, call the listings in the yellow pages under “Recycle” or “Concrete”. Toilet recycling facilities typically crush the porcelain and use it to make concrete for roads or sidewalks.

In Norfolk, Virginia, toilet porcelain was collected to provide homes for oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

You may have to disassemble your toilet and remove any non-porcelain parts (seat, bolts valves, etc) before dropping it off. Some cities even have programs where you can exchange your old inefficient toilet for a new high efficiency toilet. Alternatively, a creative way to reuse your toilet is to use it as a flowerpot.

Figure 1: Toilets can be recycled into concrete or road bed

If there is not a place to recycle your old toilet, you may need to call your solid waste service provider and find out the appropriate method of disposal. Find out if you need to bring it to a specific facility or if they provide curbside pick-up.

If you leave it out on the curb, you may want to smash the toilet before setting it out. By smashing it, you insure that no one else will try to use it and that your inefficient toilet is completely removed from the system. As a result, the water savings from your new efficient toilet will be permanent.

Figure 2: Toilets headed for disposal. Photo Source: Sullivan, G.P., D.B. Elliott, T.C. Hillman, and A.R. Hadley. The Save Water and Energy Education Program: SWEEP, Water and Energy Savings Evaluation. Contract No. DE-AC06-76RL01830. Richland, WA: USDOE.

Kevin L. Sharp