So, your old kitchen knives have been sharpened to oblivion and are well and truly done for. What do you do with them now?
Whilst a good knife has the potential to last a lifetime, excessive use can cause it to reach an early grave. If you’re into cooking, then lower quality knives often just don’t cut the mustard and simply wind up being a false investment. Unfortunately, many people realise this too late and end up with a draw full of useless implements that they just want to be rid of. Even the best quality knives are destined to wear out at some point and will need to be disposed of.
However, throwing them out in the trash would be irresponsible for a number of reasons. Not only could their sharp edges stick through the bin bag and injure whoever is disposing of it, they could also be discovered and used as a weapon. Although knives are common and readily available, discovering a knife in the bin is far less deliberate than walking into a shop to buy one, which is why it is so dangerous to leave them lying around in public. With knife-crime an ever-persistent problem, you certainly don’t want to be the one contributing to its effects.
If you have a set of knives that you can’t wait to see the back of, here are some responsible solutions for disposing of them.
Simply disposing of an unsalvageable knife is wasteful to say the least, as they are often made from metals which can be recycled and reused. Your local dump may have a scrap metal facility that accepts knives, where you can be sure that they will be recycled responsibly.
Failing this, you can check with other local recycling companies who may be able to repurpose your knives. Depending on the material your knife is made from, you may even be able to sell it for scrap metal and make some money in the process. Whichever of these options you go for, you will be reducing your contribution to landfill as your knife will be melted down and reborn into something new.
If you just want to get rid of your knives and be done with it, then most local police stations will offer a knife disposal facility. Here, you will simply be able to hand your old knives over and rest easy in the knowledge that they are in safe hands.
This is the most failsafe way of ensuring that your knives do not fall into the wrong hands and end up doing harm.
If you’re throwing away your old knives not because they’re done for but simply because you’ve upgraded, you might want to consider donating them to charity.
Good knives can be expensive, so charity shops are able to make decent money from selling them second hand, and what may be useless to you could well do the job for someone else – not everyone is Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen after all. This is not only a safe way of getting rid of your knives, it also means that they go to a good home for a good cause, rather than simply being wasted – it’s a win-win situation.
When donating your knives, you should ensure that they are wrapped up properly to avoid injury – you can create protective blade covers out of cardboard and donate them in a box. You should also make the charity shop staff aware that there are sharp objects in your donation. You may also wish to check that they follow the proper process of ID’ing any customers seeking to buy knives in line with the law.
If you don’t have the time for any of the above options and are dead set on throwing your knives in the bin, then the least you can do is wrap them up safely. This not only prevents any sharp edges from poking through the bag, it also disguises them so that anyone rooting through the rubbish will not be able to recognise them as knives. There are a number of different options when it comes to wrapping your knives safely. Here are some of the best ones:
Plastic Bottle – By chopping off the end of a plastic bottle, you can create a container for your knife that is tough and resilient. You can tape up the open end to prevent the knife from falling out. This is a cheap and easy way to dispose of your knife safely using a throw-away item that can be found around the house.
Newspaper – Following placing your knife in a plastic container, you should wrap it up in newspaper in order to disguise it and to give an extra layer of protection.
Bubble Wrap – Encasing your knife in bubble wrap, secured by duct tape, is another good option to ensure that its sharp edges can’t lead to any harm. You should also wrap duct tape around the sharp end to prevent it poking through.
Cardboard – You can use a piece of scrap cardboard to create a sheath for your knife. Simply cut out a piece of thick card that is longer than the blade of the knife and fold it around to cover the sharp edges.
A Box – Following any of the above techniques, you can place your knife in a small box to provide added protection.
Dull the Blade – In order to be extra safe, you may wish to dull the blade fully before disposing of your knife. You can lightly hammer the blade or tap it against a hard object, such as concrete block, until the edge is flattened or bent into a less menacing shape. This will guarantee that it can’t cause any harm, whether intentional or not.
Solutions and Alternatives
If you want to avoid the hassle of disposing of your dull knives, then the best preventative measure is to buy good quality knives in the first place. By investing in knives that will last, you can save yourself time and money in the long run as you will neither have to buy new ones or dispose of old ones.
It is also important to care for your knives properly in order to extend their lifespan to the fullest extent possible. Learn how to sharpen your knives properly and buy the correct equipment to do so.
If you have already made the mistake of buying lower-quality knives, you may be able to give them a new lease of life with the right sharpening techniques. For better quality knives that you’re having trouble restoring, you may wish to have them sharpened professionally as this will give you the best chance of salvaging them.
It is always better to find a way to revive or reuse your knives, rather than disposing of them. However, if your knife truly does have its point firmly in the grave, then be sure to dispose of it responsibly.