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We all have that one set of mystery keys in our junk drawer or deep in the pocket of an old coat whose purpose is completely unknown. While it may seem like these old keys are destined to belong to us forever, there are ways to dispose of them. In this article, we take a look at the proper way to dispose of old keys and whether or not they can simply be thrown in the garbage.

Recycle Them

While throwing your old keys in the garbage is not the proper way to dispose of them, they can in fact be recycled. However, recycling your old keys isn’t as simple as throwing them in your recycling bin outside. tells us what the proper protocol is for recycling your old keys:

“Luckily, keys can be recycled at most recycling centers in the mixed metals bin. Make sure you take off any rubber edging or stickers so the facility can melt them down and reuse the metal. Call your local recycling center or look up their requirements online to be sure they accept metals.”

Donate Keys to Charity

Surprisingly enough, old keys can be donated to charity! Some charitable organizations accept old keys in order to recycle them and use the proceeds to aid in their organization’s mission.

Recycle Nation gives us more information on charities that accept your old keys:

“Key for Hope raises money for organizations working to end hunger. Keys end up at their recycling facility in Massachusetts, but they can give the money to the organization of your choice anywhere in the country. Key for Hope also takes other small metal items such as padlocks. Keys for Kids has several programs that use keys as fundraisers. Students Recycling Keys encourages young people to collect keys to raise money for scholarships for their fellow students, while Tickets for Kids buys tickets to sporting events for families that could not otherwise afford to go.”

Sell Them And Make Some Cash


Did you know that you can sell your old keys for cash? Of course, there is a catch! Unless it happens to be rare or an antique, nobody’s going to want to buy the type of key that you can simply make a copy of with a machine.

Conserve Energy Future explains why some old keys can be sold, but usually only to collectors and antique stores:

“If the idea of making some cash from selling your old things sounds good to you, then you are good to go. For your keys, you can sell them out and make money. However, like gifting your old keys, you have to ensure they are the very rare types of keys when selling.  Always understand that the older and non-common your keys, the more money you would get.”

We offer a wide variety of waste disposal options, including how to properly dispose of old metals like house keys, with services readily available online. Reach out to us to see what we can offer you.

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