How to Recycle a Vacuum Cleaner

Back in the old days, we could take our broken old vacuum cleaners to the vacuum cleaner repair shop and get the silly thing fixed. These days, repairmen are more apt to tell you “It ain’t worth repairing” which leaves you with a machine that is impossible to recycle.

What makes vacuum cleaners so difficult to recycle? The primary reason is because they are made up of so many different components. In order to recycle these machines, they must be completely taken apart and the different parts handled individually.

Options for recycling a vacuum cleaner

I’m from the school of “use it up.” I know that regular maintenance of my old vacuum cleaner is the greenest possible thing that can be done. Before getting rid of that vacuum cleaner, check with a reputable repairman to see if the machine can be repaired.

Repairs and maintenance aren’t cheap but it’s certainly less expensive than replacing an old vacuum with a new one. Better yet, it also keeps non recyclable components out of the landfill. Even though replacing a cord on an old machine might be half the cost of buying a brand new vacuum cleaner, repairing what is broken is always the better alternative. If the machine just can’t be repaired, there are several options you may wish to try.

Used vacuum cleaner repair shops will sometimes take the components for parts. Listing it on freecycle is also an option; perhaps someone else may have a use for the parts or would like to use the motor for a small engine project for a high school or 4-H project. Another alternative, and one that may generate a bit of income, is to disassemble the vacuum cleaner yourself and sell the parts on eBay. Hoses, tubes, filters, wands, cloth bags and brushes for older vacuum cleaners are often hard to come by. EBay is often the first place many people look when trying to restore an old machine.

Where to get rid of a working machine

If your machine still works, it will be much easier to dispose of. Thrift stores always accept old, working machines for resale. Charities, such as shelter homes, food pantries, and day shelters will also gladly accept working vacuum cleaners.

If you still can’t get rid of the machine after trying these options, call your local recycling center. Almost all facilities will take the motor and the metal components; a few will take the entire machine.

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