Can My Vacuum Cleaner Be Recycled?

Every vacuum will have to be disposed of at some point.

The question is whether or not yours can be recycled.

Are you aware of how to properly dispose of your vacuum cleaner?

When people throw away electronics, the common solution is to place them on the curb and wait for trash pickup to take them away. In some instances, it's not that simple.

Today, electronic products are purposely built to be recyclable - it's rare to find a product that isn't.

A vacuum cleaner can consist of multiple materials, making them safe for recycling.

Reuse is also an option, especially if yours is equipped with a battery and plug.

So, keep reading to learn 5 ways you can recycle a vacuum cleaner today.

Why Should I Recycle A Vacuum Cleaner?

1. Reduce E-Waste

Are you familiar with e-waste? This is how discarded vacuum cleaners are classified.

Electronic waste is goods, typically consumer electronics, thrown away and discarded as trash. The amount of it is large and growing.

Nearly ten years ago, there were over 40 metric tons of e-waste being dumped in the country annually.

These numbers have no doubt grown since that time, as electronic goods become more affordable and easier for the general public to acquire.

As vacuum cleaners are considered to be e-waste when thrown out, they're mostly recyclable.

Vacuum cleaners are used for shorter durations than other home electronics.

As a result, they're commonly found in dumps and make up a significant percentage of the total amount of e-waste being discarded.

2. Keep Our Planet Clean

Some e-waste that's thrown away no doubt makes its way into the ocean.

Millions of tons of plastic material are added to the oceans every year, much of it being very small in size.

Since vacuum cleaners are usually made of plastic, it contributes to that portion of plastic material being passed by currents to all the world's oceans.

Did you know that only 30% of vacuum cleaners are reused?

The majority of them end up in landfills or as ground or ocean pollution.

About 50% of vacuums are recycled, which isn't terrible but retains a large window for improvement.

According to these percentages, many vacuums aren't being reused as they should be since approximately 90% of them are recyclable.

Vacuums contain metal parts that are easy to melt down for the creation of newer parts, either for new vacuum cleaners or other products incorporating the use of the same kind of metal.

Depolluting The Environment

Consumer electronics are made with many complex parts. Although many of them are recyclable, some must be handled by professionals that know how to properly dispose of them.

Vacuum cleaners, like other electronics, will not break down on their own. Biodegradable items such as boxes are easy for most facilities to handle and recycle, completely different from electronic items.

Vacuums can produce fumes and odors that are toxic, especially when burned.

For this reason, they must be separated and handled apart from more rudimentary recyclable materials. Some of the chemicals they produce are carcinogenic or even poisonous.

Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions

You may have heard of a carbon footprint before, but do you know what it means?

Everyone has a carbon footprint, though businesses contribute more than individual consumers do, sometimes as much in one day as some do for an entire year.

A carbon footprint is a result of keeping everyday items operating with energy, and greenhouse gasses emitted from it.

Manufacturing items of all kinds come with the unfortunate creation of carbon dioxide.

CO2 is the result of running machines necessary for the manufacturing process to go through.

But when reused or recycled items are available to manufacturers, it can cut down the amount of pollution they contribute daily.

When existing pieces needed to finish building a vacuum are added, less energy is consumed from not having to build the part or parts for it to go into the vacuum itself.

This is just one example of how recycling electronics is beneficial to the environment.

Saving Energy

Energy consumption is reduced when recycling. Even a small amount of recycled material, such as plastic, can be a tremendous saver in power.

Plastic is one of the most recycled materials, but so is metal. Recycled metal is even more beneficial in energy savings.

Overall, the kind of material being recycled is a gauge for how much is needed for another machine's manufacture.

Of the metals recycled, iron and steel in varied grades such as steel, alloy, tool, and carbon make up about three-quarters of all-metal recycled.

Some countries, such as the United State, recycle metals in the tens of millions in tons annually. When metal is salvaged, less energy is burned.

3. Economic Advantages

Economically, the business of recycling has become more incentivizing for corporations.

This contributes to the national economy. Every year, recycling provides the US with over $62 billion.

With this kind of value, recycling helps to facilitate the development of jobs, new industries, and even the building of infrastructure.

As an everyday effect on the lives of people, the economy determines the overall wealth of businesses and individuals.

At the employment level, about a 250,000 jobs are created within the umbrella of the recycling industry each year.

And since some of the e-waste created is transferred to developing nations, they benefit economically from recycling as well.

4. Every Action Makes A Difference

Recycling is only as impactful as the individuals choosing the partake in the effort.

Even a small handheld vacuum can make a difference in reducing pollution to the earth.

When more individuals recycle, less pollution occurs.

When others see people recycling, it encourages them to participate or reuse the items in their homes for alternative purposes before throwing things away.

It could be made into a community effort, where e-waste is collected by the community and dispersed, donated, or thrown away at a local recycling center rather than dumping things in general waste.

How To Recycle A Vacuum Cleaner: 5 Ways

1. Recycling Centers

Recycling centers are locations where you can safely discard items that you don't want anymore, including e-waste.

Since vacuums are mostly a bundle of metal and plastic, they can be taken to most recycling centers.

Such places will list the kind of items you're able to discard at the facility, how to give them to them, and ​whether pick-up service is an option.

A good note is that more and more retail outlets and electronics stores now feature recycling centers.

At such locations, you can bring them your home electronics, including vacuums. Some of them might even offer you a voucher for doing this.

Many electronics stores set rules of the number of items you can give to them, per household.

Vacuum manufacturers may also have recycling centers, either those where you send them the vacuum through the mail or take it to a facility nearby to where you live.

2. Scrap Yards

Scrap yards are easy places to take your old vacuum for repurposing.

Many scrap businesses will take the metal and plastic pieces from the vacuum and use them with other appliances, sometimes other vacuums, or sell the material to businesses.

You'll find scrap yards anywhere, though they tend to be concentrated in areas that are close to industrial locations.

Remember, metal is valuable and you can earn money by selling your vacuum to a scrap yard.

It won't be much and the business might not accept anything other than the metal, but it beats letting the entire vacuum end up in a landfill.

3. Sell Parts

Today's vacuums are riddled with parts that contain value on their own.

You won't get a large sum of money for selling one, but you could earn a couple of dollars for your nozzles, hoses, or brushes, especially if they've been seldom used.

People are constantly looking for parts for various electronics since buying them directly from the manufacturer could be an expensive hassle.

If you have filters that haven't been used before, the value of the vacuum you're trying to sell could increase from that alone.

What about the motor? If it's functioning properly, you could sell the whole unit online and even have someone else pay for the shipping costs.

But maybe you would rather build another vacuum with the parts that you already own?

DIY enthusiasts can take portions of a vacuum and use them in workshops.

The pipes that come with them make great hoses for sawdust vacuums.

4. Electronic Stores

As previously mentioned, electronics stores are good places to turn in your vacuum cleaner.

But did you know that at some stores, you could even trade in your old one for money?

This option is ideal for people that don't want to sell their vacuum over the web.

The transaction is direct and easy, just bring in the vacuum and an employer at the store will determine the value of your old cleaner.

Giving customers the option to buy electronics and recycle them at one stop helps with their reputation, and more companies are doing it now more than ever before.

Contact your local electronics stores and pick the one that offers you the most funds for your old vacuum, or the biggest voucher.

5. Giving Your Vacuum Cleaner A New Life

Although your vacuum may not meet your needs anymore, it could be helpful to someone else. Given it’s still operational, of course.

Donation Centers

There are plenty of people out there that would appreciate any vacuum, even those being thrown away. You can donate your vacuum to such places.

Thrift stores are known for selling used items at discounted prices to consumers. Donation centers run the same concept, such as the Salvation Army.

Goodwill is another option. Additionally, you can donate your vacuum online through Craigslist or any similar classifieds website.

Some of the places named will even pick up your vacuum from your location if you live in a moderate-sized city or suburb. You can call ahead at a facility that's closest to you.

Another alternative is homeless shelters. These can be found using map services on computers and smartphones.

One could be closer to you than you think. Maybe there's a business nearby, such as a motel or office, that could use a new vacuum.

Posting It Online

Online might be an easier route to getting rid of your old vacuum.

You could sell it for cheap on eBay, or browse through different social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit to give it away.

If the model is discontinued or hard to find, you might even get offered more for it than expected.

You'll have to take good photos of the device that shows all the intricate parts of the vacuum.

If you still have the original packaging of the vacuum, that could add to the value of what you sell it for.

But maybe you're in the spirit of donating the unit. In such a case, you should still take good photos of the vacuum so that whoever you give it to knows that it works.

Swapping Events

Swapping is common in local communities that allow people to sell or trade their goods with other people, including electronics.

Sometimes, they might be created for environmental purposes, helping the community to get rid of items deemed as hazardous in a way that could benefit someone else.

Swapping isn't always localized, however. You can find events online or in different places not far from away from you.

Maybe you could set up a swapping went with your close friends and family, or even at schools with other parents and teachers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with an old vacuum cleaner?

With an old vacuum, you can reuse its accessories, containers, or the vacuum bag itself.

The metal and plastic that it's made from could be repurposed for another vacuum cleaner that you own, such as one for a garage workshop.

Use your vacuum for other appliances. If the motor is reversed as a blower and has enough power to move light vegetation, you could clear away leaves with it during the autumn and winter months.

Keep the hoses for your new vacuum if you know that they fit, even if you sell or recycle the rest of the vacuum.

Can I put a broken vacuum cleaner in the garbage?

Vacuums that aren't recyclable could be placed in the garbage. Just make sure that the reason it's not recyclable has nothing to do with it potentially contaminating the environment or creating a hazard.

If you're not sure about the recyclability of your vacuum, call the company that's contracted to pick up your trash, or ask them when they come by to collect. They'll inform you on whether you can take it.

To be certain that what you give them is accepted, notify the company during their business hours by disclosing the material that it's made from, and the manufacturer's recommendations.

You might have to pay an additional fee to get rid of the cleaner if it's a large unit.

Bagged vacuum cleaners can also go in the garbage. Those with rechargeable batteries are a potential safety hazard since they're usually powered by lithium-ion cells.

Take out the battery when doing this and let your pickup know that you've taken it out before giving it to them.

How do you dispose of robot vacuums?

Robot vacuums are small drone-like cleaners that operate entirely on their own, vacuuming underneath beds, furniture, and other upholstery that a standard upright vacuum would have a difficult time reaching.

However, throwing one away isn't always as simple as chucking it into your dumpster.

You can turn over your robot vacuum at recycling centers, so long as they're equipped to handle electronics.

The batteries might have to go to a completely different location. Just ask ahead of your visit, or before leaving it out for pick-up.

Furthermore, throwing these types of vacuums away can vary by law based on your location.

Recycling centers are still the preferred facility to safely hand them over. Hazardous waste facilities are another place to try if there's no recycling center nearby.

Maybe your trash collector has a place that can handle e-waste that you weren't aware of. Check with them as a last resort.

Can you trade in your old Dyson for a new one?

In the United State, Dyson has nearly 30 service centers spread across the country.

You can turn in your old Dyson at any one of these locations. Check with the company to see their shipping policy, or if one's close enough for you to drop it off.

If the vacuum is in good shape, you could get a rebate or reduction in costs for your next Dyson vacuum cleaner. Plenty of websites retail used Dysons, even if the machine isn't working properly.


Have you found out the local regulations for recycling your vacuum cleaner? Recycling is no longer a costly thing for the average person to do.

You can donate, sell, or break down the parts and sell them on your own. Better yet, consider using the vacuum's parts or accessories for other appliances that you own.

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