How can I reuse or recycle old ashtrays?

AshtraysWe’ve had an email from Michelle Grogan:

With the upcoming smoking ban in public places* almost on our doorstep, I was wondering if anyone might know anything about recycling ashtrays and if this can be done in a way to raise money for charity?

I suspect some will be yoinked by members of staff or regulars for use in their own homes but does anyone know about any recycling schemes for Michelle?

Or any fun reuses if anyone manages to snag a handful or more from their local?

(* From 1st July, smoking will be banned in all enclosed public spaces – including pubs, restaurants, private clubs and places of work – in England bringing the country in line with similar bans already in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.)

(Photo by levi_sz)

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10 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old ashtrays?”

  1. Katz says:

    You can make them into candles: take a bit of cotton string – for the wick (can buy them in diy stores, or where they sell packaging), tie something non-burning to one end (to keep the wick in place). Melt some wax in a pan(leftovers from burnt candles work well, and some pubs and bars throw them away too), dip the wick in the liquid wax so it is saturated with it, not just covered in wax, then place the side of the wick with the weight on the bottom of the ashtray.
    Hold it with one hand and pour the hot wax in it with another.
    When it solidifies a little bit you can let go off the wick and cut it to desired length (but before that – keep the wick quite long to avoid burning yourself).
    Depending on the size of the ashtray and the thickness of the cotton string you can make several wicks in one ashtray/candle.

  2. mercutiom says:

    I live in Phoenix, Arizona and we passed a law last year that banned smoking in all public places, inside and out. Needless to say there were a lot of extra ashtrays around. Now, most of these were stolen by staff, tossed, or just taken to the recycling center. (Most ashtrays are glass or plastic, so no biggie.) I have seen a couple people use them for candles, as Katz mentioned. But I’ve also seen them used for candle holders, planters for herb gardens, and one friend of mine even smashed several of different colors to use for a collage.

  3. karen says:

    i keep my keys in an old milk glass ashtray, love it. they would be great all in a row in a desk drawer to hold paper clips or other little doohickeys.

  4. micky says:

    I use them as mini paint palletes. They are easy to clean up and you can rest your paintbrush in the side slits.

    I could see them used as catfood dishes too if properly cleaned?

  5. Michelle says:

    Thanks for all your suggestions – I actually really like the candle idea. Possible selling option there to rasie money for charity.


    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Margaret,

      I am the Community Fundraising Manager for The Royal National Institute for Blind People.

      As you may bE aware smoking damages your eye sight and can cause disease in the eyes which can lead to blindness.

      I am trying to think of a way to raise money for RNIB using the thousands of unwanted ash trays. Any thoughts of how you you help or ideas please let me know.

      Thank you

      Jackie CAmeron
      01603 262427

  6. Tamara says:

    use them for holding beads…

  7. Pat says:

    incense burner or to hold a tea light candle safely.

  8. Anonymous says:

    if there glass put them in the glass bin, if there ceramic use as a candle or incense holder, if plastic use as stuff holders, and if dirty put in a place where people smoke with a note that says “please use ashtray please don’t litter cigarette butts”

  9. Devona says:

    I too have been trying to find a creative way to use ashtrays. I quit smoking, but I’ve collected many vintage ashtrays over the years that I really like. I don’t want to toss them out, but don’t want them scattered throughout my house anymore either. Has anyone ever seen an artist recreate wall art with ashtrays? Something interesting to look at possibly? I’ve searched and searched on the internet for a creative way of displaying my collection with no luck… any input is greatly appreciated!

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