I’m a big believer in buying smart where you can. That sometimes means paying a little extra for a coffee maker that will last longer than an equivalent – albeit somewhat cheaper – machine.
I know that’s not always possible when it comes to managing your short-term budget. It’s a neat way of saving money in the long run though – and reducing your impact on the environment.
However smart you shop there will come a point where you’ll need to dispose of even the hardest-wearing coffee makers on the market.
You might also need to upgrade to something that can keep up with your blossoming home barista skills.
In this coffee maker disposal guide, I’m going to run through all the options you have at…well, your disposal!
(If you want to explore more of my coffee content, take a look at the home brewing guide I have on the site!)
Resale or Donate
If the machine is still actually working, you have the option to sell it on or donate it to friends / family. You can even use one of the popular online marketplaces such as eBay.
Just make sure you clean it properly first, package it well, and ensure that it still works as advertised on the box.
(On that note, you’ll find it much easier to offload it if you can supply it with the original box and instructions.)
If you’re a member of a local community Facebook group, you may also be able to find a buyer there as well. Check to see if small appliance recycling posts are listed from time to time, and check also that the group moderators allow this sort of post.
Even if you can’t actually sell it, you may find a local community initiative that will be happy to collect it from you as a donation.
A charity store may also be interested in taking it off your hands, but call or drop in to check with them first.
It used to be almost impossible to donate electrical goods to charity stores, but many of them are now partnered up with local electricians. These professionals will perform a basic safety check before any electrical items go out on sale.
According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, 75% of the weight of a standard household appliance comes from steel. It’s one of the easiest metals to recycle too, which is good news for the environment.
The rules on recycling appliances vary from state to state and country to country, however.
It seems universally true, however, that putting small appliances – including coffee makers – is a big no-no when it comes to curbside recycling bin collections.
The problem here lies with the electronic components inside the coffee maker itself.
When items are collected from the curbside, they’ll end up getting compacted in the collection van.
Many of these internal components cannot be recycled, and they’ll simply contaminate the collected items that can be recycled.
Doing this will only ever be a bad thing for the environment, undoing the whole point of recycling the maker in the first place!
Having said that, some local authorities arrange occasional collections for small electronics. Check their websites and see if there are any opportunities coming up.
Even if you have to wait a while for the next one, that’s a good opportunity to see if you have any other items you can add to the recycling pile.
No luck here? You do have some other recycling options to explore…
Many of the most popular coffee maker manufacturers – such as Nespresso – actually provide a recycling service.
You send in your old appliance, and they’ll take care of the disposal (and no doubt harvest some of the more valuable materials for manufacturing!)
I recommend doing a quick Google search for your coffee maker brand and the recycling options on offer. If they’ve got a program in place, get in touch and organize a collection.
Because of those valuable internal components, they may even arrange the collection – and pay for it too.
You’ll have very little luck recycling your coffee maker directly if you purchased it from an online store like Amazon.
If you picked it up from a local bricks-and-mortar store, however, they may operate a recycling service of their own. Give them a call and see if they can help you out. They’ll likely appreciate the opportunity to sell you a replacement at the same time!
A final cautionary tale if you’re dropping one of these items off yourself.
Make sure that you securely wrap the electrical cable around the coffee maker before taking it in. Use some kind of clip to hold it in place as well.
Larger machines in particular tend to be extremely heavy, and there’s a danger you could trip over a loose cord. The machine will be damaged, and you might hurt yourself in the process as well.
You may have a collection agency in your local area, and it’s worth doing a quick Google search to see what options you have right on your doorstep.
These recycling agencies are usually happy to visit your home and collect the coffee maker (along with any other items you’re looking to get rid of).
Some will charge a fee for processing items. Others are happy to recoup their costs by recycling the metals and taking their profit from the resale value.
To quickly summarize your options:
- Donate your coffee maker to friends, family or a local charity store. Do check in with the latter first though.
- Recycle it using municipal facilities or manufacturer / retail programs. Google is most definitely your friend here!
Those are all the options I know of for disposing of an old coffee maker. Hopefully this helps you get the job done nice and easily, and help you do your bit for the environment at the same time.
Mark’s a lifelong food fanatic and spent ten years working as an entertainment journalist. He now combines his love of food, drink and writing as the founder and editor of Viva Flavor. Read more