How can I reuse or recycle spark plugs?

We’ve had an email from Scott, asking:

Is there any use for old sparkplugs?

As someone who barely knows what a sparkplug looks like let alone does, I’m not really in a position to answer this question. Google tells me that they can be cleaned up again but it’s not recommended (although disclaimer: all the people talking about it are performance/engine obsessives, so they might be pushing for more than the average person).

Does anyone else know if they can be revamp and reused?

Or what about other reuses for them? Anyone incorporated them into any other creations?

And what about recycling? Can they be recycled for their component parts and if so, where/how?

(Photo by Gerald Zuckier)

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6 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle spark plugs?”


  1. Juliet van Ree says:

    Well I mainly see craft purposes in old sparkplugs (although I’m a re user of them.. After cleaning they often still last a long time. To clean just use a steel brush)

    Some creative things with spark plugs:

    http://www.metalimagination.com/metalsculpture_biplanespark.html
    http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/chess-set-made-from-recycled-auto-parts-brings-rustic-warriors-to-battle/
    http://sparkplugguy.com/portfolio.html

  2. Jack says:

    Car thieves recycle spark plugs by using them to break car windows. Apparently you hold one in your fist and smack the car window with the spark plug tip, which concentrates force into one point on the window.

    • Me says:

      Thieves use them in a different manner but I would rather not assist any would-be thieves in explaining. There are precious metals found on certain parts of most modern plugs, but it is such a minute amount that it makes it hard to make money scrapping them outside of shreddable or short iron prices.

  3. Mark says:

    The valuable metal referred to above is Yttrium, and yes, it is in very minute amounts.

    Generally the electrode wears away with use, resulting in poor sparking. They will still work if cleaned up, but will promote dirtier combustion – i.e. reduced car efficiency (mpg) and increased emissions.

    I guess craft uses are the most productive use for them outside of a ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ environment.

  4. Mark says:

    Best thing to do with spark plugs is use them as fishing weights , they can be used effectively over reefs , rocky ground and kelp / seaweed conditions. Best thing of all is they do not cost anything if you lose them.



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