Knife Disposal

What's the best way to safely dispose of a spent kitchen knife?

Many home cooks have old or unused knives lurking in the back of kitchen drawers, taking up space and posing a safety risk. Just tossing knives in the trash creates a hazard for sanitation workers, so we contacted a handful of professional knife manufacturers and waste disposal companies for advice on getting rid of them safely. Many suggested donating the knife if there’s still life in it. You could take it to a thrift store, soup kitchen, or school cafeteria in your area.

If donating isn’t possible, carefully wrapping the knife for disposal is important for the safety of waste management workers. Christopher Costa, director of product management and packaging at Victorinox Swiss Army (maker of our winning Victorinox 8" Swiss Army Fibrox Chef’s Knife), told us that the knife should be placed between layers of corrugated cardboard and clearly marked “sharp knife.”

Here’s how to do it: Use two 9-inch strips of 2-inch wide electrical tape to cover the tip end and butt end of the blade in a double layer. Then fold an 8 by 10-inch piece of cardboard lengthwise around the blade to cover it entirely. Secure this in place with more heavy-duty tape and write “SHARP KNIFE” on both sides of the package. From there you can take it to a recycling center or waste management center for safe disposal and/or recycling.

Brian Coughlin from the City of Boston Public Works Department cautioned us against ever throwing a knife directly into the trash, lest it cause injury; instead, he instructed us to hand-deliver it.

THE BOTTOM LINE: To dispose of an old kitchen knife, consider donating it. Otherwise, wrap it carefully and hand-deliver it to a recycling center or waste management center.

FAREWELL, TRUSTY BLADE: Hand it over at the dump.

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