Bathroom Suite Disposal

What to do with old bathroom suites

Today, all modern homes are fitted with bathroom suites including baths, showers, toilets, and sinks. If you’ve decided to replace your existing bathroom suite with a new suite, it’s important to understand what your bathroom suite is made up of and how to safely and responsibly dispose of it before having your new bathroom suite installed.

bathroom suite disposal

Who invented bathroom suites?

Bathrooms, in one form or another, have existed for thousands of years. But bathroom suites as we know them today have only really existed for the last few hundred years. In 1767, William Feetham invented the first modern shower, and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries homes across the UK were fitted with bathrooms as hygiene and the spread of germs became a key concern across the western world.

Bathtubs were, originally, made from wood, before being replaced by copper baths in the 19th century. By the 20th century, modern homes were installed with bathrooms with most facilities made from porcelain, which was favoured for its durability and easy maintenance.

Today, bathroom suites are made from a variety of materials including porcelain, ceramics, fireclay, stainless steel, and cast iron. Many sinks which might appear to be ceramic might actually have a metal frame inside them.

Bathroom suites disposal

When you’re renovating your bathroom, you will have to consider how you’re going to get rid of your old bathroom suite. Bathroom suites, particularly toilets, sinks, baths, and showers, are large items that are hard to get rid of, often requiring a skip, a skip bag, a van and professional disposal experience.

They’re also, obviously, huge items that will take up large amounts of space in a landfill, which means it’s always better to find alternatives to landfill when it comes to disposing of bathroom suites. Recycling centres and scrap sellers offer some alternatives for responsible disposal of bathroom suites.

Ceramic, porcelain, and metal waste

Your bathroom suite is made up of many elements, including ceramic or porcelain sinks, acrylic bathtubs, glass shower screens, and copper pipework. When dismantling a bathroom suite, it’s important to separate each element individually if you’re planning to recycle the raw materials that are used in your bathroom suite.

You might have to investigate whether your bath, sink, and shower tray are made from individual elements – for example, some sinks may have cast iron frames inside a porcelain exterior. Copper pipes are composed of almost 100% copper, with just a small amount of phosphorous added at the end of the smelting process to deoxidize the metal.

If you choose to recycle your bathroom suite, you will have to take each individual element to a recycling centre.

What happens to old bathroom suites once they have been disposed?

After you’ve taken your old sinks, toilets, and bathtubs to a recycling centre, they don’t always get turned into new bathroom suites. Crushed up porcelain is sometimes used as an aggregate base for road construction, while copper pipes are usually stripped and turned into pipes to be used across all sectors.

Choosing eco-friendly bathroom suites

You can’t really buy a bathroom suite that’s made from biodegradable materials, since the entire point of your bathroom is that it will endure years of being splashed, cleaned, and scrubbed. However, you can make choices to ensure that your next bathroom suite is as eco-friendly as possible. Why not head to salvage yards and source beautiful vintage bathroom facilities, including copper bathtubs and ceramic sinks, from here? Aluminium is also an eco-friendly choice, with most aluminium today coming from recycled sources.

How to dispose of bathroom suite waste responsibly

If you want to make sure your bathroom suite is going to good use, the best way to dispose of it is to sell or give it away online. Using online marketplaces or message boards, you can advertise your bathroom suite to others, especially if it’s still in good condition. You could also be able to upcycle elements of your bathroom suite by painting them or using them in other parts of your home, for example in your garden

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Otherwise, you will likely have to either take your bathroom suite to a recycling centre yourself or pay your builder to do this. If you take a bathroom suite to a recycling centre, this often costs money depending on the weight of the items you’re recycling. Your council may also be able to come and collect the items from you, again for a fee.

Another option is to separate out the materials in your bathroom suite – copper pipes, ceramics, etc – and contact local scrap dealers or a metal waste collection company who may come and collect some of the materials you have gathered.

Facts about bathroom suite waste

• One in four homeowners aged 60+ who undertook renovations in 2014 renovated their bathroom
• The average cost of a new bathroom renovation in the UK is £6,500
• The value of the market for plastic bathroom suite items in the UK in 2020 is £128,984,000

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