Can You Recycle Plastic Toilet Seats (And How)

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Written By Georgios Sinis


Plastic toilet seat with a symbol on the top right indicating it is not recyclable

You can not recycle plastic toilet seats through curbside recycling even though they are made of a technically recyclable thermoplastic called Polypropylene (#5). The material has proven challenging to differentiate and sort during the recycling process. Additionally, toilet seats might contain other materials that pose a contamination hazard.

Disposal Method: Garbage Bin
Plastic Types (#): PP #5

Please note: Recycling guidelines may vary depending on local regulations and facilities. The information provided here is intended as a general guide and may not apply to your specific location or item. Always check with your local recycling center or municipal authority for the most accurate and up-to-date recycling information in your area.

Typical RIC Symbols Used

#5 PP Plastic resin recycling symbol commonly used in plastic toilet seats

While #5 Polypropylene is technically recyclable, it is rarely processed. Its recycling rate is barely touching 1%. In most plastic toilet seats, the RIC recycling symbol is located at the bottom of the item.

Where To Recycle

Use Recycling Locators: Locate PP or Plastic Toilet Seat specialized recycling programs near you using RecycleNation & Earth911 (US) or RecycleNow (UK). Search based on the RIC symbol and the item name.

How To Recycle Plastic Toiler Seats?

We firmly established that you can not recycle plastic toilet seats in most cases, but let’s just say you REALLY want to recycle yours.

I admire your dedication to the cause but remember that it is not guaranteed there will be a recycling solution available to you. The variables are many, and location usually is the deciding factor.

Regardless, here are the steps you must take to recycle your plastic toilet seat:

  • Identify the resin type of your toilet seat through the “arrowed triangle” symbol. (if possible)
  • Search for recycling programs near you that accept that resin using Recycling Locators.
  • Wash the toilet seat with soap and water thoroughly.
  • Let it dry completely.
  • Remove any non-plastic items. (screws, paddings, etc.)
  • After communication, drop it off at the specialized recycling center.

If there are no recycling centers near you, keep reading below. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration on what alternatives are available.

Can I Put Plastic Toilet Seats In The Recycling Bin?

I would advise against throwing plastic toilet seats in the recycling bin. I went through numerous government and curbside recycling guidelines about plastic toilet seat recycling; the vast majority warn against discarding them in recycling bins.

But because recycling rules differ from municipality to municipality, I encourage you to look up your local curbside guidelines.

A simple “[Your City] toilet seat recycling” search on Google will almost always give you the information you are looking for.

What Are Plastic Toilet Seats Made Of?

Plastic toilet seats are mainly made of Polypropylene plastic, a very durable and resistant polymer. You might have seen its resin identification symbol many times on other products.

It is an “arrowed triangle” with the number 5 in the middle and the letters “PP” just below it. Your plastic toilet seat should have one as well.

Usually, it is located on the bottom side of the toilet seat and is a bit difficult to make out due to the glossy surface. You can use a flashlight to make it more apparent.

Now that doesn’t remove the possibility that other materials might be present. There are toilet seats made from entirely different resins, even recycled plastic. On top of that, they usually come with many miscellaneous plastic accessories.

Those accessories are mostly made of other polymer types and should be discarded separately.

Are There Any Alternatives To Plastic Toilet Seat Recycling?

If recycling is not available to you, then it’s only logical you’ll be looking for alternatives. The good news is there are ways to upcycle your plastic toilet seats and potentially give them a second life.

If you are into DIY crafts and have a creative side, browse Pinterest for toilet seat repurposing ideas.

There aren’t many other things you can do with a toilet seat. Your last option is to discard it in the garbage bin.

How To Dispose Of Old Plastic Toilet Seats?

If you can’t recycle or upcycle your old plastic toilet seat, simply dispose of it responsibly in your garbage bin. Eventually, it will end up in a landfill or a Waste-to-Energy facility where it will be incinerated to produce electricity.

Funny enough, the (1) incineration of a (PP) plastic toilet seat should theoretically produce enough energy to power a medium-sized air conditioner for 10 hours.

Calculations Based On

(1) Avg. Toilet Seat Weight = 6 pounds (2.7kg)

(1) Waste-To-Energy Efficiency = ~30%

(1) LHV of PP = 44.6 MJ/kg 

(1) Air Conditioner Wattage = 1000W