You’ve swapped out your old brass kitchen faucet for a stainless steel set. You’ve upgraded your old pipes after a leak. You’re ready to get a new toilet and you don’t just want the old one gathering mold in the garage.

For the sake of our planet, it’s important that our old plumbing materials don’t just end up in landfills. And these “useless” materials aren’t doing any good cluttering up your home. So where do you turn to get rid of your old plumbing pieces and fixtures? It’s a question that many Chicagoans face, and the answers can sometimes seem surprisingly difficult to find.

We’re here to help! Here are three ways to tackle those old plumbing parts that will benefit both you and the earth:

Recycle Your Old Metal and Plastic

The greenest way to make sure that your old plumbing odds and ends don’t go to waste? Recycle them! Some of Chicago’s local recycling centers will accept certain metallic fixtures and working appliances. PVC pipes – plastic no. 3 – are also quite easy to recycle through the city.

You could also turn to a private scrap metal company, which may be willing to pay a little for your old pieces of copper, brass, and steel – and maybe even your hot water heater.

Give Your Plumbing Pieces Away

If finding a recycling company or navigating Chicago’s sometimes-confusing municipal system seems too complicated, you can also always just give your old plumbing parts away.

Homeowners looking to unload fixtures and appliances can do so with any number of charities. For instance, we’re fond of Habitat for Humanity’s Chicago chapter, which accepts usable plumbing fixtures, parts, and supplies, and will even take toilets under five years old. You could also turn to online communities like Freecycle or LetGo, which allow you sell, donate, or trade just about anything around your house, with no strings attached.

Find New Uses for That Old “Junk”

One man’s trash is, of course, another man’s treasure. But your old, unwanted plumbing materials can also become your own unique treasures, with just a little bit of ingenuity.

Why not turn your unwanted plumbing pieces – copper pipes, fixtures, washers, and the like – into an art project? There are tons of resources available online that can help give you inspiration and guidance for making the most of your plumbing leftovers.

For starters, check out this great list of uses for copper pipe from This Old House; we’re particularly intrigued by the idea of refashioning an old pipe into a wind chime or gutter cleaner. Need some more inspiration? Industrial chic is all the rage in design circles; why not adapt your old plumbing into eye-catching conversation pieces? A table or chair made from old pipes? Sure! A sculpture – or even jewelry – made from old washers and gaskets? Give it a try!

Whenever you’ve got a plumbing question, remember us here at J. Blanton Plumbing! Our team is always here and ready to help, whether that means planning ahead or dealing with your latest plumbing disaster. Drop us a line today!