10 Easy Ways to Dispose of Your Old Toilet Responsibly

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My dad is highly skilled when it comes to DIY. There’s nothing he can’t turn his hand to.

He’s passed many of his skills onto me, and I’d call myself a very competent DIYer…except for plumbing!

Water and drainage-based jobs have been my nemesis since I accidentally drilled through a water pipe in my and Mrs. M’s first home after getting married.

It took me ten long panicky minutes to find the main water inlet valve to stop the torrent of water rushing from our walls.

The damage caused took me months to fix, and I’ve shied away from water jobs ever since. I’ve always opted to call my dad into action instead.

So, when it was time to replace our tired and leaky ensuite toilet with a water-efficient one, it was time to call up the old man.

We worked well together. He taught me how to remove an old toilet without flooding the house, and I taught him tips on how to dispose of your old toilet responsibly.

In this article, I’ll discuss all the ways you can responsibly dispose of an old toilet., as well as take you step-by-step through Mr. Miller Snr’s patented toilet removal system! 😁

6 Steps To Removing A Toilet Like A Pro Plumber

Before you think about disposing of your old toilet, you need to remove it from its current location.

This can be a little daunting if you’ve never done it before (like me), but it’s not that difficult. Just follow these simple steps.

removing an old toilet

Step 1: Lay Out Your Tools

Don’t be caught needing a wrench you’ve left in the garage when you’re holding a toilet to the wall and you’ve got your finger in a leaking pipe.

Lay out all the tools you think you’ll need in easy reach of the work area.

A list of tools you might need include:

  • Bucket
  • Hacksaw
  • Penetrating Oil
  • Pliers
  • Putty Knife
  • Rags/Towels
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Self Amalgamating Tape
  • Sponge
  • Utility Knife
  • WD-40
  • Wire Brush
  • Wrench Set

Step 2: Drain The Tank

First, turn off the water to the toilet. There will be a water shut-off valve on the wall near your toilet. Just turn it to the off position.

If you can’t locate the shutoff valve, you’ll have to turn off the water at another point in your house. Follow your pipes until you come across a shutoff valve and switch off the water there.

Next, flush the toilet to empty as much water from the tank as possible.

Then use the sponge and bucket to empty any remaining water.

Finally, it’s time to disconnect the water supply line from the back of the toilet. This pipe brings fresh water into the toilet bowl to refill it after each flush.

Step 3: Remove The Tank From The Bowl

Once the water supply line is disconnected, you can remove the bolts holding the tank to the bowl. There will be two or three of them, usually located on the underside of the tank.

Once the bolts are removed, you can lift the tank away from the bowl and set it to one side.

Step 4: Remove The Bowl

With the tank out of the way, you can now remove the bowl.

First, remove the bolts that hold it to the floor. These are usually located on either side of the bowl.

Next, cut away the wax seal between the bowl and the floor.

Finally, rock the bowl from side to side and lift it away.

Step 5: Remove And Replace Flange

My dad is a perfectionist and insisted on this step even though the old toilet flange looked fine.

In his words…“why risk a sh*tty flood for the sake of half an hour and a couple of bucks!?”.

A toilet flange is a pipe fitting that joins a toilet to the home’s plumbing system. It also secures a toilet to the finished floor by attaching it to the foundation.

Step 6: Cuppa

And that’s it! You’ve successfully removed your old toilet. Congratulations!

Time to put the kettle on and reach for the plastic-free tea bags and chocolate biscuits (wash your hands first!) while you figure out how to dispose of it.

10 Ways To Dispose of a Toilet Responsibly

Old toilets are bulky and heavy and pose a few issues when it comes to disposal.

However, there are still plenty of responsible options available to you.

toilet disposal

Option 1: Curbside Pickup

This is the most common method of toilet disposal. Your municipality will usually have a specific process in place and offer curbside pickup of old toilets.

You’ll need to contact your local waste management department to inquire about scheduling a pick-up by an authorized waste disposal company.

Be prepared to pay a fee (often around $50) to waste disposal companies and have the toilet on the curb ready to go early on the scheduled day.

Option 2: Take It to a Landfill Yourself

You can transport the toilet to a landfill yourself.

Call ahead to find out the weight limit and fee structure as they vary from place to place.

It’s important to note that some landfills won’t accept toilets, so this isn’t always a viable option.

If you don’t have a local landfill site but live close to a local water district solid waste transfer station, give them a call to discuss your disposal options.

Option 3: Hire a Junk Removal Service

There are plenty of companies out there who will do the heavy lifting for you.

A quick Google search will reveal multiple options in your area, and you can compare pricing and services before making a decision.

Option 4: Recycle It

Yes, recycling toilets is a thing!

Your local recycling center will come and pick up both the bowl and toilet tank and recycle the porcelain into new products.

Recycling centers are a good option if you’re looking for a more environmentally-friendly disposal solution.

Option 5: Donate It

If your toilet is still in good condition, you could consider donating it to a local Habitat for Humanity ReStore or similar organization.

Just be sure to give them a call first to make sure they can take it off your hands.

They might even come and collect it if they have a branch close to where you live. Find your local store here.

Option 6: Rent a Dumpster

If you’re planning on doing an extensive home renovation, you might consider renting a dumpster.

This will give you a place to put all your old fixtures and fittings, including your toilet, and then you can arrange for it to be collected when it’s full.

Renting a dumpster is usually more expensive than some of the other options on this list, but it can be a convenient solution if you’re doing other work at the same time.

Option 7: List on Apps

Giving the toilet away for free on Freecycle or even for a small price on Craigslist (if it’s in good working order) is an excellent way to give your old toilet a new lease of life.

Option 8: Salvage Yard

If you have a toilet in good condition, you could try selling it to a salvage yard.

Salvage yards are businesses that sell used building materials and might be interested in buying your old toilet.

Option 9: Use It as a Planter

This is a creative solution, but if you have an old toilet that’s no longer usable, you could turn it into a planter (and conversation starter) in your backyard.

Just be sure to clean it out thoroughly first!

Option 10: Free Sign in Front Yard

If you want to get rid of your old toilet quickly, you could put a sign in front of your house offering it for free.

You might be surprised at how many people are willing to take it off your hands…and you won’t have to pay a penny to get rid of it.

Maybe run this one past your neighbors first, though. They might not be happy with a used toilet spoiling the look of their street.

Only Replace Your Toilet When Absolutely Necessary

Buying new stuff when you don’t really need it is wasteful and not eco-friendly. This also applies to your toilet.

Here are some circumstances when replacing your toilet is eco-friendly or essential:

  • Chipped or cracked porcelain
  • Structural leakage
  • Upgrading from an old wasteful toilet to a new water-efficient model

And some reasons that might need you to rethink whether a new toilet is justified:

  • Unsightly watermarks that you can’t clean properly
  • Bathroom remodeling and ’need’ the latest model toilet
  • Broken toilet seat

If you are replacing a toilet, bear in mind the cost of each flush can be reduced by purchasing a water-saving model.

They don't cost much more and will sit well in your eco-friendly bathroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Toilets Go In The Garbage Can?

In most cases, no. Your local garbage company will likely have specific instructions on what you can and cannot put in your curbside bin, but a toilet is almost always a no-go.

Why? They’re too heavy and bulky (even when broken down into pieces) for most garbage trucks to lift, and they might break the truck’s compactor.

Besides, as listed in this article, there are more eco-friendly ways to dispose of an old toilet than simply tossing it in the trash.

Can One Person Lift A Toilet?

I would say that a person of average strength could lift a toilet independently, especially when the tank has been separated from the bowl. However, porcelain is slippy, so I would always advise seeking help to lift it if you can.

Do You Have To Replace The Wax Ring When You Remove A Toilet?

Yes, it’s good practice to replace the wax ring when installing a new toilet.

What Is The Labor Cost To Install A Toilet?

I rang around, and the average price I was quoted was $400.

How Do I Remove A One Piece Toilet?

The steps mentioned in this article work just as well for a one-piece toilet. Just ignore the part about removing the tank from the bowl.

The Final Word

There you have it…everything you need to know about removing and disposing of your old toilet.

Remember, only replace your toilet when absolutely necessary, and if you do need to get rid of an old one, do so sustainably and responsibly.

Many city’s landfill sites are reaching capacity, so if you can reuse, repurpose, or donate your old toilet, you’re doing your small bit to ease the burden.

Looking for other ways to make your toilet more eco-friendly? Switching to bamboo toilet paper is usually a good start!

I hope this guide has been helpful. Thank you for reading.

Get In Touch

Have you ever removed a toilet? How did you get one? Any funny disasters you’d like to share? Drop me a line and let me know.

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James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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