Can You Recycle Brake Rotors

Can You Recycle Brake Rotors?

I come from a family of car enthusiasts! While I can’t say I share the same excitement towards cars, the EnviroMom in me likes the idea of recycling and repairing old cars and prolonging their lifecycle.

fixing restoring old cars
Repairing and restoring old cars make environmental sense!

If you maintain your own car or enjoy restoring older cars, then you might have a pile of brake rotors. While they do last longer than brake pads, they don’t last forever. Once it’s time to change them out, you’re left with the dilemma of what to do with them.

Here are your options for disposing of them, including how to recycle them.

How To Recycle Brake Rotors

You CAN recycle brake rotors.

They don’t have any fluids in them. They are essentially just a large piece of shaped metal. Most are made of either cast iron, steel, or aluminum. Knowing that they are just metal, it might be tempting to put them in with your cans when you next put out the recycling. However, you’ll need to check with your waste management center before doing that.

Because they are thick and heavy pieces of metal, many household recycling centers would not be able to take them. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t recycle them. It just means you may need to take them to a recycling center instead of leaving them at your curb for pick up.

old brake rotor
You can recycle rotors in specialised metal recycling centers.

Of course, the only exception to this is carbon-ceramic rotors. These are usually only found in high-end cars like Ferraris and Porsches. Most brake rotors are metal and so are recyclable.

Can You Get Money for Old Brake Rotors?

Another option for getting rid of old brake rotors is to try your local scrap yards. If you have quite a collection of brake rotors, then you might be able to sell them as scrap metal. Again, this is an option that you can feel good about. Not only can you make a little bit of money, but you can also know that the scrap metal will go on to be used to make something new. 

You should be aware that you are NOT going to make a lot of money doing this. Most scrap yards will only be interested if you have quite a large number of old rotors. Otherwise, it’s not going to be worth their while. To get an idea of how much they’ll pay, you will have to do some ringing around. But about $2 per rotor is average. However, it will vary based on the size and weight of each rotor, as well as the current market value metal.

Hence, if you’ve decided to take your old brake rotors to a facility specializing in recycling scrap metal, you should start by locating the right company. A quick online search should provide you with some results. You can also contact your city or country waste management office for local options. Once you find a suitable scrap yard, weigh how much scrap metal you have to ensure your trip will be worth it.  

Aside from a scrap yard, you can also use Craigslist and other digital marketplaces to find someone willing to buy your brake rotors at a low price. Make sure to post the item you want to sell and add a brief description, including the price. Wait for a potential buyer to contact you and close the deal. You can also decide whether to ship the rotors to your buyer’s address or have them pick up the components. This way, you can take these hunks of metal off your hands.  

What Can You Do with Old Brake Rotors?

Even once a brake rotor no longer provides a suitable surface for your brake pads, it still has life. If you are a DIYer or have a small metal workshop, there is no limit to what you can do with old brake rotors. You could clean them up and spray them bright colors to create all sorts of things from door stops to weight plates for carpentry or even as decoration in your garden. They look pretty cool with plants growing in and around them.

If you have a forge or know someone who does, the metal can be used to make pretty much anything you can imagine. Other creative projects where you can use old brake rotors include floor lamps, a boat anchor, a wall clock, an edge for the garden, a metal sculpture base, and other similar items.  

There are, indeed, several ways to repurpose brake rotors so they won’t end up in landfills. Although they aren’t toxic and dangerous, they don’t need to be thrown away easily. With your creativity, you can give these hunks of metal a new purpose.  

How To Dispose of Old Brake Rotors

rusty brake rotors

The biggest hurdle to recycling brake rotors is taking them to the recycling center or scrap yard. If this is what is stopping you from recycling them, then there are options. With a quick internet search, you can probably find someone who lives locally to you who’d be willing to pick them up and take them up. Many people collect scrap from homes to take to the scrapyard where they can sell it. You won’t get any money for doing this, but you will get your problem taken off your hands with little to no effort on your part.

The final option is to throw out your brake rotors. If you do that, they will end up in a landfill. They won’t cause any pollution there, but they will sit there forever. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put brake rotors in the recycle bin?

Not every recycling center can take brake rotors. So, it’s not just a case of dropping them into a recycle bin. You need to check if your local recycling center accepts them and then take them to the drop-off location.