How To Recycle a Vacuum Cleaner : The Complete Guide

By Jeneva Aaron Updated October 20, 2021

Say goodbye to your vacuum cleaner the right way

How To Recycle a Vacuum Cleaner : The Complete Guide

Is your vacuum broken? Or are you looking to upgrade it with a new vacuum cleaner? We know how hard it can be to work out how to dispose of your old vacuum cleaner.

Knowing if your vacuum is recyclable and finding out how to dispose of it the right way can be difficult.

But don’t stress! With the right method, you can easily recycle your vacuum. So you can dispose of it in an environmentally responsible way and keep the environment and planet clean.

We’ll show you the best way to recycle your vacuum cleaner.

Recycle Your Vacuum Cleaner

  • Consider selling it if your vacuum still works. Or, you can sell parts of your vacuum either online or at a garage sale.
  • Think about donating it to donation centers or a charity.
  • Take it to a recycling company if your vacuum no longer works. Or contact a brand recycling program so they can recycle the materials for other appliances.
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Why Should You Recycle Vacuum Cleaner?

It’s important to recycle your vacuum cleaner because it’s considered e-waste.

And, according to a United Nations University report, global electronic waste reached 41.8 million metric tons in 2014 (1). So recycling your vacuum or giving it a second chance is important to help reduce this growing number. EPA also states that e-waste materials can be reused, refurbished, or recycled to reduce waste (2).

Another big problem is the large amount of ocean pollution. More than 8 million tons of plastic are ending up in our oceans every year (3). And some of these plastics come from home items like vacuum cleaners that are mostly made out of plastic.

A 2009 European commission report also stated that a very small percentage of vacuum cleaners are reused. Only 70% of collected vacuum cleaners are recovered. And only 50% is reused or recycled.

They also report that vacuum cleaners have both metal and plastic parts. Over 95% of the metallic parts are repurposed. Whereas only 1% of the plastic parts are reused.

So there’s a lot of room for improvement in recycling and repurposing vacuum cleaners in the recycling industry.

How To Recycle Your Vacuum Cleaner?

How to Recycle a Vacuum Cleaner

There are many different options available when it comes to recycling vacuum cleaners.

Sell

If your vacuum still works and is in usable condition, you should consider selling it for a few dollars.

Some websites, like canitcash.com, specialize in buying Dyson vacuums.

Donate

If your vacuum is still in working condition you can give it away, sell it, or donate it to donation centers. For example, you could donate it to charity, local shelters, the salvation army, or reuse centers like Goodwill. There are also homeless shelters that you can donate it to.

Not all places accept the same items. So make sure you call ahead to ensure that your vacuum is donatable before you drop it off (4).

Recycle at Recycling Centers

There are many locations where you can recycle your vacuum at a local recycling company (5). The plastic and metal components of your vacuum are recyclable. So you should look for a recycling location near you.

Best Buy also has a recycling program across the country (6). They offer to take back your items such as vacuums, fans, and other electronics for free. Plus, they offer a buyback option for desired electronics.

Best buy will accept up to three items per household per day. So it’s a great, easy solution for the disposal of your cleaner and any other home items you no longer use.

Some brands, for example, Bissell, have recycling centers that you can send your cleaner to (7). They examine your items and save other parts, like hoses, that can be used for other items and recycle the rest of the materials. You do have to pay for the shipping cost for these services, but they take care of the rest!

These recycling centers can use the materials from your old vacuum to manufacture vacuums that are 100% recycled materials! So look for a local recycling center location near you.

In 2010, Electrolux launched the “vac from the sea” initiative. It focuses on removing plastic waste out of the world’s oceans and making home appliances (8). They have also been working on a prototype with Stena Recycling of a 100% recycled vacuum cleaner. It’s made of 100% recyclable materials and reused components from electronic products.

By 2030, Electrolux claims that their product ranges will consist of at least 50% recycled materials.

What If I Can’t Recycle My Vacuum Cleaner?

If you can’t recycle your vacuum cleaner, you can put it in the rubbish. Your vacuum can be disposed of in the trash.

You can call your trash hauler to pick up your vacuum from the curb, or you can contact a disposal company. You’ll need to call them to verify what items they accept. You’ll also need to check their hours and fees for pick-up.

If your cleaner is a bagged model, you can throw away your vacuum bags in your regular household garbage. If your vacuum bags are used, they aren’t recyclable.

You should seal your cleaner dust and bags in a plastic bag before putting them in your garbage.

It’s also important to note that rechargeable batteries can pose a fire hazard risk (9). They contain hazardous materials that can start a fire if placed in the garbage or recycling bin. So if your cleaner has a battery operation make sure you remove the rechargeable battery before disposal.

How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?

There are also alternative ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some future actions that you can take to reduce your carbon load.

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Invest in a Durable Vacuum

First, you can reduce your carbon footprint by investing in a long-lasting vacuum. Make sure you do your research to find a new vacuum model that is built to last.

Finding a quality cleaner means that it will last longer and need less maintenance or repairs. It will also work more efficiently.

For example, Miele vacuums can last for 20 years. They base this claim on their own tests for the equivalent of 20 years of use (10). They test their vacuums for the equivalent of 600 miles of use. And, they test their motors for the equivalent of 1000 miles. They also simulate 40 miles worth of floor tool collision.

Many reviewers support this claim and say that Miele vacuums are high quality and last for several years.

So to reduce your carbon footprint, make sure you find a cleaner that will last so you don’t have to keep replacing it.

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Choose a Bagless Option

Then, consider choosing a bagless cleaner when it’s time for a new vacuum.

They’re easy to empty and produce less waste in the long run. This is because there are no bags to put in the trash.

According to Dyson, bags contain plastic that ends up in landfills creating more waste (11). So make sure you consider a bagless option to reduce your carbon footprint.

For example, the Miele Blizzard.

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Choose a Corded Option

You should also consider a corded cleaner. Cordless vacuums run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. These batteries have negative impacts on the environment and can lead to toxic waste leaking into water (12).

There are many vacuums without rechargeable batteries, such as corded canister vacuums. So it’s easy to avoid lithium-battery cleaners.

A corded vacuum is a more eco-friendly choice than a cordless cleaner.

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Alternate With Manual Sweepers

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to alternate with manual sweepers. Manual sweepers have zero carbon usage (13).

However, manual sweepers don’t clean as efficiently as vacuum cleaners because they don’t have suction. They also have a smaller dust canister that needs emptying more often than a vacuum does. But alternating your cleaning methods can use fewer resources.

This method is great for hardwood floors. However, it’s less suitable if you have carpets or allergies. But, you can use your cleaner less often by swapping it with a carpet sweeper between vacuuming sessions

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Consider Secondhand Vacuum Cleaners

Buying a secondhand cleaner is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can find a lightly used cleaner at a thrift store or on an online marketplace.

Amazon also offers a renewed program (14). Their eligible products have to be capable of being repaired or refurbished and are tested to look and work like new. They run a diagnostic test, replace defective parts, clean and inspect, and repackage the items when needed.

Plus, these products are backed by the Amazon Renewed Guarantee. So you can trust that your secondhand cleaner will work just as well as a new one!

For example, see this Dyson V8 renewed vacuum.

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Repair Your Vacuum Cleaner

If your cleaner is broken, you can get it repaired at a vacuum repair shop. Or, you can call a professional handyman.

You can also take it to a Fix-It clinic. Fix-It clinics offer free guided help to repair your cleaner (15). They have volunteers with repair skills to disassemble, troubleshoot, and fix small appliances such as your vacuum.

Some brands also have service centers (16). For example, Dyson has a center where you can talk to experts and ask any questions you have about your vacuum.

Lastly, you can try to repair your cleaner yourself. There are a lot of online tutorials like iFixit where you can learn how to do repairs (17). It may be harder to find tutorials for older models, but there are a lot of resources to find help.

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Upcycle Your Vacuum Cleaner

You can also “upcycle” your cleaner. Upcycling involves turning your vacuum into something new and giving it a new life. For example, the video below shows a DIY for transforming your cleaner into a docking station:

You can watch the video here to find out more about transforming your old devices into a docking station:

With a little bit of creativity, there are many different ways you can upcycle your vacuum cleaner to make new devices. For example, some people have turned their stick vacuum cleaners into lamps.

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Make Your Own Cardboard Vacuum Cleaner

Finally, you can reduce your carbon footprint by making a cardboard cleaner! In 2011, a student in the UK invented a vacuum cleaner made of cardboard.

Called the “Vax Ev”, this cardboard vacuum cleaner can withstand the demands of home vacuuming (18). But, it isn’t yet known how long this kind of cleaner can last. And it was for sale as a limited edition. In fact, there was uncertainty over who would buy this type of vacuum.

But, you can also DIY your own cardboard vacuum cleaner on Youtube. It’s a fun idea to get creative with lowering your carbon footprint.

You can watch the DIY video here:


Ready To Recycle

It can be hard to know what to do with a broken vacuum cleaner. And finding the right way to dispose of it can feel overwhelming.

But now you know that you can easily recycle your old vacuum cleaner!

With the right recycling methods, you can easily dispose of your old vacuum cleaner in an environmentally responsible way. You can recycle, repurpose, or repair your vacuum to lower your carbon footprint!

Do you have any other disposal or recycling ideas? We’d love to hear them! Please feel free to let us know in the comments below. And if you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend so they can recycle theirs too!

About the Author

Jeneva Aaron

Jeneva has over years of passion for home decorating and cleaning. She is the founder and CEO of thehousewire.com where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products.

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