The sad news is that there is no such thing as an indestructible vacuum cleaner – sucks, doesn’t it? They are such an integral appliance to our homes, but when they break we often throw them away without thinking about the alternative; recycling.
There are too many vacuum cleaners stuck in landfill, and it’s detrimental to the planet.
Recycling an old vacuum cleaner is entirely possible, you just need to follow the right steps.
That’s why you’re here, to follow our excellent advice and find a way to give your vacuum cleaner the ending it deserves before you go out and get a new one.
Why Recycle Your Old Vacuum Cleaner?
There are several reasons why you should be recycling your old vacuum cleaner, as well as other electronics and appliances in your home. If you’re wondering why, here are some of the key advantages.
Less Electronic Waste. Also known as e-waste, it is one of the worst offenders for unrecycled waste. The EU is the world leaders in electronic recycling, and yet they report that only 35% of e-waste is actually being recycled. This is a shockingly low number.
Clean Materials. An easy 90% of your vacuum can be recycled at the bare minimum, and the materials used to make new things like car parts or furniture. However, many of them end up being incinerated or in a landfill – both of which are harmful to the environment.
As an electronic device, they contain heavy metals like copper, iron, and aluminium. When left in a landfill, these seep into the earth and poison it over time. When we burn them, toxic fumes are created that penetrate our biosphere, soil, water, and the very air we breathe.
Making new vacuum cleaners also creates a lot of carbon dioxide, and recycling old parts massively reduces this as brand new ones aren’t being made from fresh materials.
Ripple in the Water. Every action counts with regards to being kinder to the planet. You’re setting an example for others, and even one person is able to make a difference. Even if you recycle a handheld vacuum, you are making a positive change.
How to Recycle Your Old Vacuum Cleaner
It’s time to get into the good stuff, how to recycle your old vacuum cleaner. We’ve got a few great tips for you so that you can make the most of your old appliance, and we’re sure you’ll be able to make the most of them.
Before you can follow any of our recycling tips, you need to determine whether or not it still works. If it switches on, fantastic, you can potentially donate it or trade it in for a new one.
If it doesn’t turn on, all is not lost, there are still plenty of options for you.
Another reason to check this is that a lot of the time vacuum cleaners are thrown away because people want the latest model as opposed to the vacuum being broken.
While it’s still a valid reason to get rid of your current model, it might help you reassess your disposal method.
Once you know what kind of working order it is in, you can decide which of the recycling methods below you want to follow for your vacuum.
Even if it doesn’t switch on anymore, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. You can try to repair the vacuum cleaner yourself, which is usually the cheapest method and we have some fantastic repair guides that you can check out to give you some guidance.
A quick repair tip is that the most common reason to throw a vacuum cleaner out is due to loss of suction.
This is actually fixable most of the time and tends to be caused by a blockage in the hose, body, or filter of the vacuum.
All you need to do to fix it is replace the bag in a bagged model, clean the filter, remove the blockage, and maybe replace the belt in the floorhead (which is really cheap and easy to do). This is something we look at extensively in our guide to improving suction.
We know that not everyone has the time or the inclination to fix their vacuum cleaner themselves, and that’s fine.
In cases like this, you can usually find a qualified vacuum cleaner repairman or send it back to the manufacturer to be fixed. This will cost you a lot more, but it saves you the hassle of doing it yourself.
There are loads of charities and organisations that will take your old vacuum cleaner – some are even happy to take the broken ones and fix them up themselves.
It’s a good route to go down if you don’t have the patience to repair it and also want to buy a new one.
Charities will also ensure that they go to a new home where someone needs it, and many of them will recycle the ones that cannot be salvaged in a responsible manner – giving you peace of mind no matter what happens. Just call in advance to check if they take broken models.
The great thing with vacuum cleaners is that a good 90% of the parts can be removed and reused.
It’s a lot like when computers break – the main unit might be broken, but there are plenty of useful parts that can be salvaged from it.
The best choice is to take your vacuum apart and check which parts can be salvaged for other projects, sale, or even for use in another vacuum cleaner.
You may even find that your local electrical shop will buy the parts, or a vacuum repair company. Even scrap yards have been known to pay for some metallic vacuum parts.
eBay is a popular place to sell spare parts, and you should find great success with your auctions when selling to other vacuum cleaner owners and repairmen. If you’re feeling really creative you can even turn the spare parts into a work of art.
Taking things further, electrical appliances that are broken and unwanted can be transformed into plant pots, outdoor furniture, or even a new dashboard for the car.
It’s pretty cool to see what can be done with your old vacuum cleaner – your creativity is the only limit.
There are companies that will accept your old vacuum cleaner as a trade-in towards a new one – even if it is broken or damaged.
Dyson is an example of a vacuum manufacturer that does this directly, but you can also find some great trade-in deals online from other retailers and distributors.
It’s a good way to recycle your old machine because you know that the manufacturer or distributor is going to recycle it responsibly, even repurposing old parts for refurbishment or to be turned into new ones
It gives you the peace of mind you need, as well as a discount on your next vacuum cleaner purchase – winners all round.
How Long Does it Take a Vacuum Cleaner to Decompose?
It can take up to 1000 years for a vacuum cleaner to fully decompose. This is a shocking amount of time, and in the time it is breaking down the plastic is also polluting the earth around it.
This is what happens every time a vacuum cleaner gets sent to the landfill and is why we should be working hard to recycle them.
Can I Recycle My Vacuum Cleaner?
Yes, you can recycle your vacuum cleaner. It is very rare that any model has parts that are not eligible for recycling, especially as they are made from multiple recyclable materials.
Where Can I Recycle My Vacuum Cleaner?
You can recycle your vacuum cleaner at places like Dyson, Currys, Argos, and designated vacuum recycling points.
A quick Google search will bring up all of the local options available to you, but the good news is that there is plenty for you to choose from.
Can I Put My Vacuum Cleaner in the Bin?
No, you cannot put your vacuum cleaner in the bin. Electrical items should be taken to your local waste centre and not put in the rubbish bin or recycling bin that you have at home.
This is so that they can be disposed of in the correct manner and one that is safe. However, the best option is to recycle your old vacuum cleaner.
We bet you’re sat here thinking that this is a lot easier than you thought. You get the chance to help the planet, get rid of your old vacuum cleaner, and even help out other people in the process. What more could you want?
Now, more than ever, we need to do our best to have a positive impact on the planet. So, when your vacuum cleaner breaks don’t throw it in the trash and send it to the dump. Recycle it instead.
If you tried out our vacuum cleaner recycling guide, we’d love to hear how it went and if you were able to help someone else as a result. Good or bad, we love to hear your comments and feedback, so leave us a message in the comments below.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.