Is Porcelain Recyclable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: December 20, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Porcelain is not recyclable. While having a texture similar to glass, porcelain cannot be processed by the machinery used by regular recycling companies and must be taken to a special porcelain recycling company. 

By putting porcelain in a recycling bin, it can contaminate recyclable glass. 

Want to learn more about how to recycle porcelain? The following article will go into depth about why porcelain isn’t recyclable, and what you can do with it instead!

What is Porcelain Made of?

Porcelain is a material of ceramic nature and is made of a very dense clay. The clay used to make porcelain is called kaolin clay, and is also known by the name china clay. 

Items that are made out of porcelain go through a long firing process in the kiln at extremely high temperatures of 1200⁰C/2192⁰F to make it a hard (but also very fragile!) item.

Are There Different Types of Porcelain?

There are many different types of Porcelain which are generally used in tiling and give of varying finishes. There are six different types of porcelain:

  • Unpolished
  • Polished
  • Semi-polished
  • Satin
  • Honed/Pre-polished
  • Structured

Each type of porcelain has its pros and cons and each have a unique finish which not only determines the look and feel, but also meets the intended use.

How Much Porcelain is in My House?

There are many household items that are made out of porcelain! Most commonly, your toilet and bathroom sink are made out of porcelain. 

Vases, dishes, figurines and other decorative features are also items in your house that might be made of porcelain! Many households also have tiles that are made out of porcelain and are actually less likely to break than tiles that are made out of other materials!

How to Recycle Porcelain?

There are some recycling companies that will accept and recycle your porcelain items, however, they’re often very rare to find. If you do find a place that will recycle your porcelain items, they will crush the items and turn them back into tiles or other new products! 

There are also some places that will recycle porcelain toilets by breaking them up and using them as a material for roads!

Is There Any Type of Porcelain That’s Recyclable?

As mentioned earlier in the article, there are many different types of porcelain. 

Unfortunately all porcelain contains the same properties and is thus unrecyclable as it can contaminate recyclable glass. 

Many recycling companies don’t have the proper equipment to recycle porcelain as the machinery used to recycle simple materials such as paper and aluminum, are not strong enough to break down a strong material such as porcelain.

If I Can’t Recycle Porcelain, What Do I Do With it?

If your porcelain item is chipped, cracked or broken it may be best to throw it into your landfill bin. 

Wrap any sharp pieces of your porcelain dish-ware in a plastic bag or in a piece of newspaper to prevent it from being hazardous, and throw it in the bin. 

If your dishware isn’t damaged, it doesn’t have to go to landfill! You can try upcycling it!

How to Reuse Porcelain?

If there are no porcelain recycling companies near you, don’t worry! There are many ways to deal with your old or unwanted porcelain without throwing it out. 

Donate your old porcelain items or vintage china to people who will use them! If you don’t want to donate, try upcycling! There are many ways to upcycle old porcelain kitchenware, try researching some ways you can do it from home!

How Do I Upcycle Porcelain?

Instead of throwing out unwanted porcelain into landfill, you can contribute to helping the environment through upcycling! Turn your old porcelain into new things! 

How about a candle, a mosaic or even some new jewelry? There are many websites that will show you how you can upcycle yourself, try Pinterest!

What Makes Something Recyclable?

An item can be put into a recycling bin if it meets these four criteria:

  • Sortable
  • Safe
  • Supply
  • Sellable

An item must be able to be easily sorted by the machinery in the recycling facilities, it must not be a hazardous item such as batteries, broken glass or aerosol containers, the supply for the item must be high enough and it must be sellable or useful.

Why is Recycling So Important?

Recycling helps to protect the environment by reducing the impact humans have on it. 

The more items we recycle, the less space is needed for landfill and less harmful emissions are produced. 

Recycling also recovers some non-renewable items and thus reduces future expenses by being more energy-efficient in comparison to mining new materials. 

It is important that we all do our part to recycle and help stop climate change!

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