How to Properly Dispose of Spark Plugs?

A spark plug is a device that creates the spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture in a car’s spark-ignition engine. Spark plugs are small in size and made of a ceramic coating with metal wirings inside. Most spark plugs have stainless steel coated with a nickel alloy but some have more precious metals like platinum and iridium. Spark plugs also contain copper wires inside. 

Spark plugs are an integral part of most cars. These are made to be very durable and resistant to high pressure and temperature. However, it is recommended to switch out old spark plugs for new ones for every 30,000 miles the car runs. 

Old and worn-out spark plugs make the car less fuel-efficient. It is very common for people to hold onto old spark plugs if they do not know what to do with them. This article will explain how a spark plug can be disposed of and whether you can make a small profit off of old spark plugs. 

How to Properly Dispose of Spark Plugs?

For all the old spark plugs you have you have four options, 

  • Sell them to a scrapyard
  • Recycle the metal parts
  • Throw them in the trash bin
  • Do arts and crafts with old spark plugs

The ceramic casing of a spark plug is not recyclable nor will it biodegrade. Ceramic is a material that does not break down or react with any known substance in landfills or soil. 

This is why ceramic pottery that is as old as 10,000 years is excavated out of historical sites almost unscathed. Once it’s in the landfills it will stay forever. There is nothing that can be done about the ceramic. It is trash. 

However, the metals inside the ceramic casing are very valuable. The copper, nickel, steel, and occasionally iridium are reusable and should not be thrown in the trash. 

Sell spark plugs to a scrap yard:

Check if your local scrap yards buy old spark plugs as scrap metal. You can break the ceramic casing of the spark plug with a hammer, collect the metal parts, and store them in a box of scrap metal. If you have enough of these scraps you can sell them to a scrap yard for a small profit. 

Make sure you have a good amount of scraps before you make your way to the scrapyard though, you don’t want the cost of your gas for the trip to be more than the money you get for selling the spark plug. Some companies buy used spark plugs, check online if any such company is near you. 

Recycle the metals: 

You can break the ceramic casing and save the metal for a recycling post. Any recycling bin that accepts metal would be a good place to drop in the scraps. Just make sure the bin is marked for metal. In many cities in the US, recycling bins are single streams, meaning all recyclables go in one bin. These are then sorted in a facility. You can throw your spark plug metal components in this bin as well. 

Throw them in the trash: 

If there are no scrap yards available in your area and recycling posts are hard to come by then you can throw it in the trash. Spark plugs are not risky to the environment so they will not cause any hard sitting in the landfill. 

Even though spark plugs are not harmful to the environment, it does contain recyclable metals. It’d be a waste if it’s tossed into the garbage. You can try and find another use for it in arts and crafts to keep it away from the landfills. 

DIY art project: 

Even though spark plugs are not the most artistic pieces you can incorporate into your art, they can still be used for them. You can make a sculpture or a centerpiece using spark plugs as building blocks. You can incorporate spark plugs into your DIY project in many creative ways, only your imagination would be the limit. 

Conclusion: 

Spark plugs are an integral part of most cars. These are made to be very durable and resistant to high pressure and temperature. However, it is recommended to switch out old spark plugs for new ones for every 30,000 miles the car runs. 

Old and worn-out spark plugs make the car less fuel-efficient. It is very common for people to hold onto old spark plugs if they do not know what to do with them. This article explains how a spark plug can be disposed of and whether you can make a small profit off of old spark plugs. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to Properly Dispose of Spark Plugs

Are spark plugs worth anything in scrap? 

Yes, spark plugs contain metals with high recyclable value. Especially if it contains precious metals like platinum and iridium. These metals offer you a good value if you try to sell your spark plugs. 

What happens with old spark plugs? 

Old spark plugs can decrease the fuel efficiency of your engine. It is wise to switch out your spark plugs after every 30,000 miles. 

Are old spark plugs recyclable? 

Yes, the metals in the spark plugs are recyclable. However, the ceramic is not. You need to throw the ceramic into the trash. 

Can I make money selling old spark plugs? 

Yes, you can make a small amount of money for every spark plug you sell. However, keep in mind that the money you get for one spark plug is not enough to make a trip to a scrap yard or mail it to a company. Save up a few and send them in bulk. That is far more sensible. 

Can I throw my old spark plug into the trash? 

Yes, you can throw it in the trash. It does not have any harmful chemicals or metals that will leach into the ground. However, spark plugs do have metals in them that can be recyclable. This is why they are best recycled. 

Can I fix an old spark plug? 

If the damage is minimal you can try to fix it, but, when it comes to sparking plugs, an old one will work for less time and increase fuel consumption no matter how many times you fix it. 

References: 

  1. Can You Recycle Spark Plugs? (And Are They Universal?) – Conserve Energy Future. (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/can-you-recycle-spark-plugs.php
  2. Can You Throw Away Old Spark Plugs? (Traditional, Iridium, and Platinum-Plated). (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://canyouthrowitaway.com/spark-plugs/
  3. Collection Calendar. (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://www.durham.ca/en/living-here/collection-calendar.aspx?nr=/departments/works/waste/collectioncal.html&setfooter=/includes/worksfooter.inc/#!rc-cpage=30464
  4. (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://pgmrecoverysystems.com/spark-plug-recycling/
  5. (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/threads/what-to-do-with-used-spark-plugs.159032/
  6. PGM Recovery Systems – Sell Your Used Spark Plugs. (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://autorecyclingworld.com/pgm-recovery-systems-sell-your-used-spark-plugs/
  7. What to do with Old Spark Plugs. (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from http://trustwaymetal.com/what-to-do-with-old-spark-plugs/
  8. is it environmentally friendly to dump spark plugs in the trash? – Maxima Forums. (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://maxima.org/forums/general-maxima-discussion/345177-environmentally-friendly-dump-spark-plugs-trash.html
  9. (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://answerstoall.com/popular/how-do-you-dispose-of-old-spark-plugs/
  10. spark plug | electronic device. (2022). Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/technology/spark-plug

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