Over the years, most households have collected a lot of dishes that we either no longer like, or they may already have scratches, splinters or other damages. There are various types of ceramic waste, but large amounts of it are accumulated in each household when they simply clean their kitchen. Tiles, cups, plates, bowls, decorative figurines or large ceramic plates – what’s the best way to dispose of ceramics in an environmentally friendly way? We will guide you on how to properly dispose of your dishes.
Porcelain, ceramics, stoneware
Plates, cups and bowls for everyday use are mostly made of ceramic or porcelain. It is not always easy for the untrained eye to distinguish between the two materials. Ceramics and porcelain are composed of inorganic materials. Porcelain is actually a subset of ceramics, however, ceramics is generally made of a coarse clay, while fine white kaolin is used for production of porcelain. Kaolin is also known as china clay. The raw materials for the production of stoneware are stone masses based on grog, quartz, kaolin and feldspar.
Porcelain is fired at a temperature of about 1450 degrees Celsius. Ceramics is produced at a temperature of 600 to 1000 degrees. Stoneware is fired at a temperature of 1100-1400°C
Stoneware is considered the most impact-resistant, resistant to temperature extremes, and resistant to reagents and chemicals.
Old dishes to throw away? Where?
If you have small amounts of damaged or broken china or ceramics, you can throw them in the trash without hesitation. In no case should you throw dishes into a glass container, even if they are broken. Porcelain has a different melting point than glass and therefore does not qualify as glass waste. If there are pieces of porcelain or ceramic in the used glass, ugly inclusions can appear when the glass is recycled because the porcelain does not melt properly.
If you have accumulated many series of porcelain or ceramics over decades, it’s better to avoid throwing them into a rubbish bin. So take a look at your dishes. Even if you don’t want to use it anymore, someone else might like it. Most major communities have social department stores or collection points from Caritas or the Red Cross.
However, if the dishes are damaged or broken, you can bring large quantities directly to a recycling center.
Ceramics is a valuable raw material. Even if old, broken or worn ceramics are just waste to you, they can be recycled and reused if disposed of properly.
Check out the brand! It is also worth checking the stamps before disposal. The stamps are often marked with certain symbols or engraved on the bottom of each product. Completely inconspicuous porcelain series, considered unattractive today, can be of high value!
Porcelain upcycling: creative ideas for reuse
When broken dishes end up in the trash, some people think: what a pity! And rightly so, because porcelain and ceramics can be used to make wonderful crafts with which you can decorate your house, balcony, garden, or even yourself. Here are some ideas:
- Try fixing the broken parts with polymer clay
- Convert them into flower pots, candle holders or bird feeders.
- Make small gifts out of cups, etc.: just decorate them with some ceramic paint, wrap them in raffia with a bow, fill them with soil, and plant small flowers. Voila: a small gift is ready, one of a kind!
- Glue old porcelain pieces together to make a mosaic.
- Decorate flower pots, etc. with broken porcelain as accent colors.
- Make a key chain
- Turn tableware decorations into unique jewelry