Knives are incredibly dangerous pieces of equipment and if they are not disposed of correctly, then there is a serious risk of someone getting harmed. Imagine a refuse collection person unwittingly picking up a bag containing a discarded butcher knife set; the results could be terrible.
What’s more, knife crime in the UK is sadly on the rise so disposing of knives in your household rubbish comes with the risk of the tools falling into the wrong hands.
There are many reasons that kitchen knives should be disposed of safely, not to mention legally. But a lot of domestic owners aren’t familiar with how this should be done. If your best knife blade has seen better days, let us help you to get rid of knives safely. This is our guide on how to dispose of kitchen knives safely.
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Is It Legal to Put Kitchen Knives in the Bin?
It is perfectly legal to dispose of your old kitchen knives in your regular household waste. Most homes in the UK now have separate bins for general waste and recycling. Keep in mind that kitchen knives should be placed with general waste; usually your black wheelie bin.
In the UK, the police advise using your household waste for disposing of old knives but as the homeowner, it’s down to you to do this safely. It’s unlikely that a refuse collection person would come into contact with the blade as most trucks have a lift that does most of the work but there’s still a risk.
How to Safely Put Kitchen Knives in the Bin
There is some good advice on the council websites for almost every area in the UK detailing how you should dispose of sharp objects. We will give you a rundown of the general rules here.
Before disposing of a kitchen knife, you should wrap the blade as heavily as possible, especially the knife edge. You can use a variety of materials for this including bubble wrap, cardboard, paper, or whatever you have available. When you have wrapped the knives, be sure to secure the wrapping using strong tape.
If possible, you should also aim to use a piece of cork for the tip of the blade. Even when wrapped, it is possible for the tip to become exposed and pose an injury risk.
When you have correctly prepared your old knives, you will now need to place them into a container. A cardboard box will not give the level of security needed. Plastic or metal containers are the best options as they will not easily puncture. Make sure that you secure the lid with the same strong tape. Finally, add a label to the container that warns anyone handling it that it contains sharp objects.
Do dispose of your knives properly, you can now pop the container into your wheelie bin. Most councils recommend placing it at the top so that the caution label can be clearly seen by your collection team.
Other Ways to Get Rid of Your Old Kitchen KnivesIt might not always be possible to dispose of your kitchen knives in your household waste. In this instance, you might need to get a little more creative with how you get rid of them.
Recycle Your Knives
We live in a society where the concept of recycling is highly favoured and it’s no wonder when you think about the throwaway mentality that we’ve built up over the years.
There are lots of areas in the UK that offer recycling for scrap metal so it’s worth checking this out. Before handing your knives over to the collection team, be sure to wrap them as described in the previous section. It’s also a good idea to check out what material your knives are made from as this can help the recycling team.
Sell Your Knives
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so the saying goes. While you might think that your knives have served their purpose, someone else might find a use for them.
It is extremely important to keep in mind that the UK Government has restrictions on what knives can be bought and sold. So before advertising your knives for sale, check out this guide. Also, remember that not all online marketplaces allow for the sale of sharp objects. Facebook Marketplace does allow you to advertise culinary knives so this is a good bet. However, the site is notorious for not ensuring age checks so this will be your own responsibility.
Go to the Tip
If all else fails, you can take your knives to the local tip. This is an especially good idea if there are local restrictions on disposing of knives in household waste.
Once again, you will need to make sure that you wrap and protect the knives before taking them. You can use the method discussed above. When you arrive at the waste collection site, you should inform staff that you are disposing of sharp objects to ensure staff safety on the site.
How to Stop Old Knives From Getting Into the Wrong HandsAs we mentioned earlier on, the sad truth is that knife crime is a problem in the UK. Most of us would dispose of our knives in the bin and forget about it. But all it takes is for the wrong person to see you throwing them away and the blades could end up in the wrong hands.
Fortunately, a lot of police stations in the UK have schemes where they will take knives in order to prevent this. It’s worth calling the station ahead of time to find out whether they will take them and to arrange a suitable time.
Will the Council Collect Old Kitchen Knives?In the UK, councils sometimes offer waste collection services outside of your regular weekly collection. This includes larger items like furniture and white goods. However, most UK councils will not arrange collection of old knives as they can be disposed of in your regular household waste.
Final ThoughtsKitchen knives are used in almost every household in the UK but when you need to replace your favourite Japanese knife set, you’ll need to find a safe way to get rid of it. For the most part, you can dispose of old knives in your general waste as long as they are wrapped and marked as sharp.
If this is not possible, there are other approaches you can take including recycling, selling, or giving your old knives in at the local police station. All of these tips should help you with how to safely dispose of kitchen knives.