By Jeffrey Davis on March 14, 2012

Whether you upcycle into a useful piece of office furniture or take it to the metal recycling facility, an unwanted filing cabinet still holds value.

How to recycle file cabinetsWhether you rock a home office or commute to a corporate office environment every day, there is no shortage of aging, outdated office furniture around you. The tricky thing is where and how do you recycle lots of those bulky items when their usefulness has finally run out?

I talked about how to reuse and recycle CDs and CD-Rs recently, but now I’m going to tell you how to get rid of, and even repurpose, the most underestimated office staple: the file cabinet.

My absolute favorite way to make new use of an old file cabinet is to turn it into a desk. The 8-foot-long desk in my office is made from a door I bought at a yard sale attached to a couple of two-drawer file cabinets on each end. The cabinets have a wood veneer, so they look nice with the wooden door on top, but you could still pull it off with metal file cabinets.

If you wanted to take it up a notch with the metal variety, you could buy some sheets of lauan — an inexpensive and thin plywood with a similar grain to mahogany — and glue it to the top, sides and drawers of the cabinet. Presto, your very own chic wooden filing cabinets.

If you just don’t have the need to reuse a small file cabinet, or have industrial-size file cabinets that aren’t really suitable for such repurposing, there are plenty of ways to get rid of them without having them hauled away to the dump.

First, check your local charities, nonprofits or Habitat for Humanity branch and see if you can donate the file cabinet to them. If you can’t find a place to donate it, you can list it for free (or even a small price) on Craigslist or your local Freecycle group.

If that still doesn’t yield freedom from your antiquated file cabinet, take it to your local scrap yard or metal recycling facility and they’ll gladly accept your filing cabinet to break it down for scrap metal.

About the author

Yo, I'm Jeffrey. I'm a blogger, writer, speaker, personal trainer, Web designer and wookie hugger. I'm the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Eco-Snobbery Sucks, co-founder and Senior Editor of The Fun Times Guide to Living Green,  the Green Tech and Green Business Editor at Greenwala.com, and contribute to Mother Nature Network. And because I'm not busy enough, I freelance around other cool green websites, too. Follow me on Twitter or check out Jeffrey-Davis.net for more info about me.


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