Is Plumbing Pipe Recyclable? (And How to Dispose of Old Pipes)

Last Updated On June 11, 2024

Updated on July 18, 2022



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Is Plumbing Pipe Recyclable

As a society, we are becoming more and more eco-conscious. We want to do our part to reduce our impact on the environment. One way that we can do this is by recycling materials whenever possible. 

But is plumbing pipe recyclable? Thankfully, plumbing pipe is one of those materials that can be recycled. In this blog post, we will discuss how plumbing pipes can be recycled and some of the best ways to dispose of old pipe materials.

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • Types of plumbing types and their recyclability
  • How to recycle old pipes
  • Benefits of eco-friendly plumbing materials 

What's In This Guide?

      Types Of Plumbing Pipes And Their Recyclability

      There are many different types of plumbing pipes. Each type is recyclable, but some are more recyclable than others.

      Recyclability of Plastic Pipe 

      Plastic tubing is the most popular type of plumbing pipe in the world, and it’s also one of the most recyclable. However, there are additional concerns regarding plastic recycling compared to metal recycling.

      The main types of plastic pipe include:

      Most plastic can be recycled over and over again without losing any of its strength or quality, allowing it to be recycled into a wide variety of new products such as traffic cones and new pipes. 

      While most of the materials get melted down and reused, PEX won’t melt. However, it can still be reprocessed.

      Believe it or not, plastic is also one of the most eco-friendly piping materials because it requires less energy and water to produce than other types of pipe. (And it’s recyclable.)

      However, plastic pipes, PVC pipe, in particular, can leach chemicals from the plastic material into the ground if they’re not disposed of properly, reducing the good they can do.

      Watch the following video to see some crazy and creative PVC uses?

      Recyclability of Copper Pipe

      There are two types of copper recycling, primary copper recycling, and secondary copper recycling. 

      Primary copper recycling is the reuse of freshly mined copper. It involves collecting copper scrap metal, such as copper wire, and refining or smelting it to produce new copper products. 

      Secondary copper recycling is the process of recovering copper from existing products that would otherwise be disposed of as waste, such as copper pipes, electrical cables, and computers. 

      Scrap copper is collected and sent to a refinery where it is melted down and formed into new copper products. 

      The recycling of copper uses only a fraction of the energy required to mine and process new copper. Therefore, it conserves natural resources and energy. In addition, recycled copper is just as strong and durable as new copper, making it an excellent choice for plumbing, electrical wiring, and other applications. Copper is more expensive than PVC, but lasts a long time.

      Did You Know? Copper pipes are 100% recyclable. However, they’re also among the most expensive piping materials.

      Recyclability of Stainless Steel Pipe

      Stainless steel pipe is a type of pipe made from a chromium alloy. The chromium makes the steel resistant to corrosion, which is why it is often used in food preparation and in commercial kitchens. 

      Stainless steel pipe can be recycled, but it must be done at a facility that has the proper equipment to handle it. The recycling process begins by crushing the pipe into small pieces. The pieces are then melted down and formed into new pipes. 

      Stainless steel pipe is durable and can be recycled multiple times, making it a good choice for businesses and homes that want to reduce their environmental impact.

      Recyclability of Cast Iron Pipe

      Cast Iron pipe can be recycled. In fact, most metal pipes can be recycled. Cast Iron pipe is made of iron that has been combined with carbon. The carbon makes the iron stronger and harder. 

      Cast Iron pipe was once the most popular type of pipe for water lines, but it has fallen out of favor because it is brittle and breaks easily. 

      Cast Iron pipe can still be found in older homes and buildings, but it is not commonly used anymore. If you have Cast Iron pipe that needs to be replaced, you can recycle it. 

      Most scrap yards will accept Cast Iron pipe. You can also check with your local recycling center to see if they accept cast iron pipes.

      did you know Is Plumbing Pipe Recyclable

      How to Recycle Old Plumbing Pipes

      If you’re replacing old plumbing pipes, you may be wondering if they can be recycled. The answer is yes, but the process varies depending on the type of pipe.

      PVC plastic and HDPE pipes can be recycled at most recycling centers. Do not put plastic into the same recycling bin as plastic bags and bottles. 

      Copper and stainless steel pipes must be taken to a special facility for recycling.

      You can recycle cast iron pipe at the scrap yard.

      When recycling old plumbing pipes, it’s important to check with your local recycling center to see what types of pipe they accept. Different locations and different facilities may have different regulations regarding the disposal of pipe material.

      You should also be sure to recycle your plumbing fixtures along with your pipes. And don’t forget to sort the separate materials into a designated container!

      The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Plumbing Pipes

      Opting for recyclable pipes comes with numerous benefits for both the planet and you as a consumer and homeowner.

      Less Waste in Landfills

      Eco-friendly plumbing pipes help to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills, eliminating the deteriorating space we have for landfills and the possibility of methane emissions. This is because they are recyclable and can be reused multiple times.

      Reduced Carbon Footprint

      The production of eco-friendly plumbing pipes also results in a reduced carbon footprint. This is because the manufacturing process emits fewer greenhouse gases.

      Eco-friendly plumbing pipes are a good choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact. They are recyclable and require less energy to produce.

      Save Money on Materials

      Eco-friendly plumbing pipes can also save you money on materials. This is because they are made from recycled materials. Recycled materials cost less than new materials.

      FAQs About Plumbing Pipe Recycling And Disposal

      Is PVC pipe environmentally friendly?

      PVC pipe, while you can recycle it, contains harmful chemicals in it that can get into soil or water, contaminating it. 

      What can I do with old plumbing fittings?

      Recycle your old plumbing fittings along with your pipe. As long as the connectors are metal or plastic, sort them accordingly and take them along to the recycling center. 

      How do you remove old rusty pipes to recycle them?

      You can remove old, corroded metal pipes with some muscle and an adjustable wrench. Use lubricant sparingly, as a slippery surface can make the process even more difficult.

      Related Content: Is plumbing solder conductive?

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      About Plumbing Navigator

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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