How to Recycle an Old Suitcase

Stop throwing away your old luggage — here's what to do instead.

Old blue luggage set illustrated on yellow background
Photo: Getty Images

Your faithful suitcase now has one too many scuffs, the handle is broken, and it barely latches shut. It's time to give it the proper sendoff it deserves. But hang on. Before you toss it in the trash, learn about a few other ways you can either properly dispose of your beloved luggage or upcycle it to use as a piece of art so you can always remember your travels together.

How to Recycle Luggage:

While you can't just throw a full piece of luggage in the recycling bin, you can still recycle most of it. This does mean you'll have to disassemble the luggage into pieces. "Between fabric, metal zippers, plastic handles, and rubber wheels, different components can be given new life if properly separated," reps for RecycleBank explained in a blog post.

"If you feel comfortable disassembling the separate parts, feel free to separate the bag into more easily recyclable bits. This route will take some research, though, as you'll need to confirm that all the materials you salvage are accepted by your local facility, and in that form."

But hang on, there is an easier way. And that is by ordering a TerraCycle Zero Waste Box. All you need to do is click "buy now" and a box will be delivered to your home. Put the luggage in the box, send it back, and the company will do all the hard work for you.

Turn Your Luggage Into Storage:

Rather than ordering expensive under-bed storage, upcycle your suitcase to do the job. Give it a good clean, then pack it full of out-of-season clothing, blankets, or stuff it with all the things you don't need right now and tuck it away for the future.

Upcycle Luggage Into a Coffee Table:

Have a hard-sided suitcase? Do as Korrine did from Hello There Homemade and turn it into an adorable coffee table. Korrine found four legs and used her crafting skill to turn her old suitcase into a table that can fit anywhere. She even created a matching ottoman by attaching a pillow topper for a well-rounded, travel-inspired room.

Create an Adorable Welcome Sign:

Let everyone know just how important travel is to you by turning your old luggage into a welcome sign on your front steps, just like Becky did from Beyond the Picket Fence. And truly, it's an incredibly easy DIY. "I slapped some paint on an old cardboard suitcase, taped off a rectangle, and added some chalkboard paint. I left the handle the original color," she wrote.

Turn It Into a Bar Cart:

Dane Holweger, a set and prop designer, had the ingenious idea to turn his old luggage into a roving bar cart for his 1920s-era bungalow home. Apartment Therapy broke down Holweger's 12-step process, which you can follow here. Make sure you have plywood, aluminum corner channel, casters, and both nails and screws on hand. Oh, and of course, make sure to fill it with mini bottles of booze when you're done for a first-class finish.

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