wikiHow to Recycle Old Coffee Mugs

Coffee mugs, like many other small household items, can have a tendency to accumulate in your home. Mugs are often given as gifts or purchased in sets that contain more mugs than needed. Furthermore, you may have a stash of mugs that have been printed with an organization's logo that you are unable to sell or give away. Fortunately, there are some options out there that will allow you to keep these unwanted coffee mugs out of the landfill. Check the tips below to learn how to reuse, repurpose, and recycle old coffee mugs.


  1. Image titled Recycle Old Coffee Mugs Step 1
    Donate the old coffee mugs to a thrift store. Thrift stores that sell housewares will usually accept donations of unwanted mugs. This will allow the mugs to be sold to new owners who can use and appreciate them.
  2. Image titled Recycle Old Coffee Mugs Step 2
    Crush the mugs and use them as drainage rock. One way to creatively repurpose old coffee mugs is by using them as drainage stone at the bottom of flower and houseplant pots. Place the mugs underneath a thick cloth and crush them using a mallet or hammer. The small bits of ceramic work as well as gravel for encouraging soil drainage.
  3. Image titled Recycle Old Coffee Mugs Step 3
    Offer the coffee mugs for use in ceramic mosaics. Mosaic is a popular style of artwork in which images and sculptures are pieced together from bits of broken glass, ceramic, or other materials. Local artists may be interested in crushing your coffee mugs for use in environmentally friendly mosaic art. Advertising the mugs on a classifieds site like Craigslist or Freecycle is an ideal way to get in touch with artists.
  4. Image titled Recycle Old Coffee Mugs Step 4
    Start seedlings or small plants in the coffee mugs. Coffee mugs are ideal containers for starting seedlings indoors for your garden. They can also provide creative containers for growing small houseplants like herbs, cacti, and succulents.
  5. Image titled Recycle Old Coffee Mugs Step 5
    Determine if a local recycling program accepts ceramic. Today, more and more recycling facilities are accepting materials outside the traditional aluminum, glass, and plastic categories. Search online to see if any recycling programs in your area accept ceramic for recycling. Note that many programs that recycle ceramic exclusively accept large bathroom fixtures like toilets and sinks, so make sure they accept coffee mugs before traveling to the facility.
  6. Image titled Recycle Old Coffee Mugs Step 6
    Use the old coffee mugs to store pencils and pens. A coffee mug also makes a great impromptu pencil or pen holder for your desk. If you have many mugs that need reusing, you can try using them to store office or crafting supplies like staples and paperclips.
  7. Image titled Recycle Old Coffee Mugs Step 7
    Use the coffee mugs as templates for crafting projects. If you have children, you can use the coffee mugs as the basis for a kid-friendly crafting project. Allow your children to decorate the unwanted mugs with acrylic paint, construction paper, or other decorative materials. When finished, the mug can used as storage for colored pencils or other small objects.


  • If you have excess coffee mugs in your home, consider keeping one in your car or office for use at coffee shops. Allowing coffee shops to prepare your drink in your own mug is not only environmentally conscious, but it can also often get you a small discount.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee mugs
  • Cloth
  • Hammer
  • Seedlings
  • Paint or construction paper

Article Info

Categories: Reduce Recycle and Reuse