Live Green and Earn Points


Because You Asked

Are Metal File Cabinets Recyclable?

By Recyclebank |

Recycling and donating are both good choices for disposing of these bulky furnishings.


Dear Recyclebank: Can you recycle metal file cabinets? I don’t want to throw them out if they can be recycled. –­Megan H.


Dear Megan: Metal file cabinets can be recycled, but they’re too big for you to just put on the curb with your recycling bin, and most haulers won’t take them.


Instead, recycle metal file cabinets and other large metal items such as appliances or desks via a scrap recycler.


You can look for one near you on the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. website — chances are, they’ll even pay you for your trouble! We called an Atlanta-area recycler, Davis Recycling, and learned their current rate for metal was 4 cents a pound. For a 4-drawer filing cabinet, that would net you around $5 or $6. A drop-off recycling center might also accept large metal items, be sure to call first or check their list of accepted materials online.


Steel, which is what most file cabinets are made of, is one of the most recycled materials in the world, and thankfully its qualities and durability don’t break down during the recycling process.


Even better: Find it a new home.


While it might be tempting to pocket a few bucks while freeing up some space in your office, it’s even more environmentally responsible to find someone who could use your unwanted steel file cabinet in its current form. Here are some ideas:


1. Advertise it for sale or free in your local buy-sell group.


2. Donate it to a local nonprofit office.


3. Give it a fresh coat of paint or a makeover to turn it into a brand-new piece of furniture (or even a sturdy outdoor planter!).


Donate, sell, or recycle … any one of these choices is a smarter and more sustainable one than sending good quality metal to the landfill.


SOURCES: National Business Furniture, Center for Hard to Recycle Materials, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.


Have you dropped off large items at a scrap recycler? Share your experience in the comments.

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • wayne w. 1 year ago
    It is also good to contact your local homeless shelters, senior citizens homes, and schools or charity of choice to share your extra items.
  • Rosa A. 1 year ago
    Goodwill stores takes almost every thing , and they make money to help on other people.
  • Michelle L. 1 year ago
    I am looking for a metal filing cabinet right now and instead of buying a new one I'll check out freecycle!
  • Maria C. 1 year ago
    great information.
  • Eliot L. 2 years ago
    Blustery wind and gusts up to 75 mph. caused a double aluminum awning to get ripped and thrown into my yard below. Clean up was a breeze, shoved it in my car and scraped it myself. Worth the ride
  • View More