Upcycle or Recycle Metal File Cabinets
Are you wondering if you can recycle metal file cabinets? An unwanted filing cabinet still has value, so instead of throwing it away and harming the environment, you have two options for “disposing” of it. You can either upcycle or recycle metal file cabinets in question. Upcycling it into useful office furniture or recycle metal file cabinets to scarps can both be useful and environmentally friendly.
What Is the Difference Between Upcycling and Recycling?
What distinguishes recycling and upcycling?
Upcycling takes waste and creates something new from it in its current state, whereas recycling involves the destruction of waste in order to create something new.
The original form is retained and the object is recognisable when upcycling, which gives it a story — you can see what it was and what it has become.
In this sense, the upcycled object pays homage to the original object.
While recycling is useful, upcycling is highly creative and can use a wide range of techniques and materials to create the finished product.
To summarize, reuse and upcycling reduce the need for recycling and are thus excellent environmental choices.
When a material can no longer serve any purpose, recycling it is more environmentally friendly than landfilling it.
How to Upcycle It?
I think old metal filing cabinets are a great way to store office supplies because they look really industrial and can be brightened up with bold colors to add a retro vibe to your workshop or study. I bought this rusted old 2-drawer cabinet for £10 from the charity resale shop at the local household waste recycling center.
It didn’t look great, but the structure was sound and the drawers worked well, so I knew it could be easily updated. After some buffing, sanding, priming, and spray painting, the filing cabinet looked brand new. If you want to see the step-by-step project with photos, please visit my Safestore blog post on filing cabinet upcycling.
Because the drawers are heavy, I added castors to the base. To be honest, it was a lot easier than I expected (I detailed the process in my blog post), and it now means I can wheel it around with ease. It’s extremely convenient to be able to reconfigure the office space as needed. You could also upcycle two of these units to use as the base of a desk. Simply place a worktop between the two cabinets to create an industrial-style workspace and you’re done!
How to Recycle Metal File Cabinets?
Are metal filing cabinets recyclable? Yes, but it doesn’t necessary mean it’s easy to do.
Whether you work from home or commute to a corporate office every day, you are surrounded by aging, outdated office furniture. The tricky part is deciding where and how to recycle all of those bulky items once their usefulness has expired. I recently discussed how to reuse and recycle CDs and CD-Rs, but now I’ll show you how to get rid of, and even repurpose, the most underutilized office staple: the file cabinet.
Making an old file cabinet into a desk is my absolute favorite way to repurpose it. My office’s 8-foot-long desk is made from a yard sale door attached to two two-drawer file cabinets on each end.
The cabinets have a wood veneer, so they look nice with the wooden door on top, but metal file cabinets could also work. If you wanted to go all out with the metal, you could buy some sheets of lauan, an inexpensive and thin plywood with a grain similar to mahogany, and glue it to the cabinet’s top, sides, and drawers.
You now have your very own stylish wooden filing cabinets. If you don’t need to reuse a small file cabinet, or if you have industrial-size file cabinets that aren’t suitable for such repurposing, there are plenty of alternatives to having them hauled away to the dump.
First, check with your local charities, nonprofits, or Habitat for Humanity branch to see if the file cabinet can be donated to them. If you can’t find a place to donate it, you can list it on Craigslist or your local Freecycle group for free (or for a small fee). If that doesn’t get you rid of your old file cabinet, take it to a scrap yard or metal recycling facility, and they’ll gladly accept it to break it down for scrap metal. If you’re looking for the best metal cabinets you can check our article here.
Which way do you prefer? Upcycle or recycle metal file cabinets? Let me know in the comment section.
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