how to dispose kitchen knives

Disposing of kitchen knives might feel tricky, considering safety and environmental concerns. This blog outlines safe, responsible methods to discard old knives in the UK. 

Learn about using local recycling centres, and where knives should be wrapped and labelled as sharp objects. Some councils offer collection services for such items.

BUT FIRST: Before you consider disposing of your kitchen knife, consider if you could bring them back to life. Read our guide to sharpening knives, to see if the blade can be recovered.

Top Tip: If your knives are still usable, donating them to charity shops or second hand stores gives them a new life while supporting good causes. 

If you want to deep dive on kitchen knives, read What Are The Best Kitchen Knives blog, or browse all kitchen knives at Sous Chef here.

Can I put kitchen knives in the bin?

Yes, you can put knives in your standard bin. But knives cause a risk for anyone sorting and dealing with your bins contents. So make sure you follow these important safety steps:

  • First, wrap knives in a thick layer of newspaper, cardboard, or bubble wrap. 
  • Secure the wrapping with tape to ensure that the sharp edges are fully covered and pose no risk to anyone handling them. 
  • Ideally, place this wrapped knife parcel inside a second secure container, for disposal.
  • Label the package clearly as containing sharp objects.
  • Place the package at the top of your normal refuse bin, so that it is easily seen by bin collectors and processors.

How to dispose of old kitchen knives

If your knives are truly beyond redemption, here are some alternative ways to dispose of them. Always with safety in front of mind.

  • Local recycling centres

Your first port of call should be your nearest recycling centre. These facilities are equipped to handle sharp objects like kitchen knives. To ensure safety, wrap the knives securely in cardboard, tape them up, and label the package as containing sharp objects. This preparation protects the facility's staff and makes your disposal process smoother.

  • Council collection services

Many local councils offer bulky waste collection, which can include sharp items such as kitchen knives. Contact your council to see if they provide this service and follow their instructions for disposal. This often involves scheduling a pickup and preparing the knives in a safe manner for collection.

  • Charity and and second-hand shops

If your kitchen knives are still in good condition, consider donating them to a charity shop.  Donating gives your knives a second life and supports charitable causes.

How to discard old kitchen knives

Regardless of the disposal method you choose, safety should always be your top priority. Be clear and honest when donating or handing them over for disposal about the potential risk they pose. Remember, disposing of kitchen knives is about ensuring they do not end up causing harm.

Do charity shops take kitchen knives?

This can really vary. It’s worth calling ahead to check, before setting off to donate old kitchen knives to a charity shop. 

Some charity shops may accept kitchen knives if they are in good condition and do not pose a safety risk. For example, shops that specialise in household goods or have specific sections for kitchenware are more likely to welcome such donations. They often have protocols in place to handle, store, and sell sharp items safely.

And of course, if the knives are not in a safe, usable condition - they are unlikely to want them.

When donating, present the knives in a safe manner. Wrap the blades securely in cardboard or bubble wrap and secure them with tape. Clearly indicate to the shop staff that the package contains sharp objects. This precaution helps protect the staff and volunteers handling the donations.

However, it's important to recognize that not all charity shops can accept kitchen knives due to safety concerns or local regulations. In such cases, exploring alternative disposal methods, like recycling centres or specialised collection services, becomes necessary.

Looking for a new knife?

Once you’ve disposed of your old kitchen knives, you might be in the market for one that will last you years.

To learn more about Kitchen knives, head to our Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives, or read our blogs about How To Take Care of Kitchen Knives and What Kitchen Knives Do I Need.

Browse all kitchen knives at Sous Chef here.


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