How can I reuse or recycle a whole kitchen?

I’m back post-lurgy and I thought I’d post this great question from James – asking how to recycle a whole kitchen:

We shall be replacing our kitchen in the next few months. The present one is 15 years old and is perfectly serviceable. I don’t want to “skip” it. Any suggestion as to how I can recycle it?

My first suggestion would be to try to pass it on – lots of people would love a kitchen revamp but can’t afford to go the whole hog so just replace cabinet doors etc. I regularly see sets of door & drawer fronts offered up on eBay, Gumtree or Freecycle/Freegle (and probably Craig’s List in the US). Built-in appliances can be sold/passed on separately too as they often expire before the rest of the kitchen so people might want to replace just those bits.

People don’t just use them for revamping their own full kitchens either – someone might want to make a “tea station” at a community venue, or for storage in a porch/understairs cupboard – so if you’ve not got a lot, someone still might want them for that sort of thing instead. And tatty but still usable cupboards and worksurfaces are still useful in places where function very much trumps form like a garage, cellar or shed – and old sinks are often useful in those places too. We recently covered ways to reuse old ovens (and toaster ovens) too so again, people might want those for non-culinary pursuits where aesthetics are less important.

As for more creative reuses (rather than just reusing stuff for its original purpose), I’ve made oversized planters from wooden cupboard doors before, I’ve seen people making pretty serving trays from doors and Alison Bailey Smith curated an art project last year where people used her old kitchen as art materials.

(Of course, I also have to mention the most important point in the recycling triangle – reduce. New kitchens are very resource intensive and a greener option would be to revamp an old kitchen rather than replacing it with all new …. but you know what, I think that’s a whole ‘nother post for tomorrow! ;) )

Any other suggestions for ways that James could recycle his whole kitchen? Have you given away an old kitchen – or got one from someone else? Any tips?

(Photo by cgarbiano)

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3 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle a whole kitchen?”

  1. I once helped some neighbours sell their entire kitchen on eBay – cabinets, work surface, appliances and all. They were updating the whole space and needed to start from stratch. The stipulation was that the buyer removed the units/work surfaces/appliances, etc and took them away under their own steam. And it worked. It wasn’t so much about making money from selling the kitchen, more so that it was still a perfectly useable set-up that would otherwise be going to landfill. Everyone was a winner – our neighbours had no need to break up the kitchen and dump it, no costs involved in hiring a skip or van in order to do so, and the buyer got a great kitchen for a relatively small outlay in time/money.

  2. Andrea says:

    We have a wonderful store nearby called ReStore…you donate your usable materials/cabinets/etc and they resell and donate the profits to Homes For Humanity. Total Win-Win.

  3. Olia says:

    I say, install it in a garage: very functional storage; sink is available to wash dirty things. Why not?

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