How do you throw away a kitchen knife (or for that matter, any knife)? It seems extremely dangerous to just throw it in the dumpster, even if it's wrapped up real well.

  • I think we throw away plenty of similarly-sized pieces of metal, so really the only things you're worrying about with a knife are the edge and point. Wrapping well ought to take care of that just fine. (I suppose you could go cut some wood with it, if you're really worried, or take a grinder to it.)
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 21:21
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    haha, I guess I get the image of a movie scene where a person breaks their fall by landing in a dumpster, or that a homeless person(or dumpster diver by choice) would injure themselves on it. Odd worries, but I'm sure it's happened.
    – JustinP8
    Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 22:27
  • @JustinPB : I was over at my neighbor's house last night, and their 6 year old was throwing himself against the sofa, like they've told him not to do a hundred times by now ... only this time, there was a metal fork in between the cushions, sticking up. Luckily it didn't need a hospital visit, but well, things you expect to be soft can have hidden surprises.
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 22:31

9 Answers 9


I agree that donating the knife to a thrift shop is a good idea. But it pains me to think of putting tape on a knife blade. Someone's going to have to clean it off, and that risks injuring them.

Instead, find a piece of cardboard that's longer than the blade of the knife, and more than twice the depth of the blade with an inch (~3 cm) or more to spare.

Fold the cardboard in half, so it's now roughly larger than the size of the blade, and then place the blade so the back of the knife is against the fold. (You can do it the other way, but you'll risk dulling the knife: cutting paper isn't good for knives.) Finally, tape it down.

You want to make sure it's well compressed, so the knife is being held in by friction. You could always sandwich something rubbery in there with it to provide more friction.

(This is how I used to transport my knives when moving between apartments.)

Another alternative, if you're really disposing of it, and don't mind dulling the blade, is to poke it into a piece of corrugated cardboard. Just find a piece that's longer and wider than the blade, set it on the edge of your counter, put a hand on top to hold it steady, and then slowly push the blade in.

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    I actually have cheap impromptu sheaths in my drawer that were made almost exactly like this for a couple knives not in my block. I cut the cardboard as you said (maybe a little wider so I'm not cutting cardboard every time I sheath the knife), lined the edges with duct tape to prevent paper cuts and make it easier to insert the knife, folded it over, and sealed 2 of the 3 remaining open sides with duct tape (the short "bottom" side is open). Cheap, easy sheath that I can easily slip the knife into and out of without any problems - and as you said, great for travel. Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 22:55
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    Look, it's laudable to try to preserve the edge, but don't put the tape on the blade side. Tape is far more easily cut than cardboard, so you're just asking to have your knife slice it's way out. If you really want to preserve that edge (and actually improve it), slide it into a block of styrofoam from the last time you unpacked something. It'll protect the knife, hold it really well due to friction, and actually sharpen the blade slightly.
    – Hounshell
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 23:22
  • @Hounshell : If done correctly (well compressed), the blade won't shift as it's held in by friction ... and the edge of the blade stays about 1cm from the the taped edge.
    – Joe
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 16:23
  • A knife which that easily dulls from cardboard is indeed worth disposing of. Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 15:41

First of all, consider donating it to Goodwill or another charitable organization. Even if it is barely usable by your standards, it might help someone else out. Whether giving your knife away or throwing it out, I think it is sufficient to put some duct tape over the edge and then wrap it in a couple layers of bubble wrap.

  • Ah, donation would be they way to go...if the blade wasn't split.
    – JustinP8
    Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 20:56
  • +1 for suggesting donating it, even if it doesn't work in this case. Personally, I'd saw off the unbroken part and use it as a razor type knife. Could be useful for chopping up smaller things. Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 21:35

Check with your local recycling companies. We have a metal recycling facility that will accept kitchen items such as small appliances, utensils and dishes made of aluminum, tin, stainless steel, etc. It may be worthwhile to simply add the knife to their scrapheap where things will be melted down and recycled. Far better than disposal, in my opinion. (But consider the goodwill option as well.)


Just wrap in some newspaper and the tape the package up. This is how my knives always come back from a professional sharpen. It surprised me a little the first time I saw it, but it will render the knife harmless.

  • Lots of layers of newspaper. Cardboard is better. U can also stick a cork in the tip.
    – Chef
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 6:47
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    @Chef, I have found that a single piece of newspaper works just fine for one knife. Cardboard probably is better, but newspaper is a little bit less hassle and may be more likely to be lying around for some.
    – yossarian
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 13:56

If you are dumping a whole set in a block, just glue them into the block and throw away.


Fold some foam rubber around the blade, then wrap it all up with duct tape. The foam rubber should hold against the blade and be resistant to being cut.


Since you're throwing the knife out, take a hammer to the edge. You don't need to hit hard -- the edge is obviously pretty thin, so it won't take much to roll the edge. Just place the back edge of the blade against something hard and heavy -- anvil, concrete block, etc. -- and tap firmly all along the sharp edge until sufficiently dull.

  • Ah man, I just wrapped it very well, but this is a pretty good idea! +1
    – JustinP8
    Commented Aug 6, 2011 at 5:52

You're over thinking this. Just toss it in the bin.

There are plenty of other dangerous sharp things in bins already. Eg, broken glass, tin cans/lids, etc. Anyone going through bins (eg Freegans, garbage disposal workers, super spy's jumping out of buildings) knows to take precautions (or will learn quickly). Odds are that no one will go through your bin on that particular day anyway.

You can decrease that further by putting in in the bin the night before collection day.

If you must do something active, it's not worth the effort/waste to find something to wrap it, just stab it through anything plastic or cardboard you are throwing out (so I am seconding the news paper suggestion). Eg Milk Carton, empty plastic meat tray. It doesn't need to be perfect, you are just trying to add another chance on top of what is already fairly safe (just throwing it in the bin).

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    -1. Your answer is wrong. It's not uncommon for sanitation workers to get deep cuts from broken glass. (Source.) Don't increase their risk of injury even further by throwing away an unwrapped knife. Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 17:57

While performing on stage I adopted the "lob a full 360" approach but my juggling partner usually returned them.

Now I would take it to my dump, tip, recycling centre, and present it to a member of staff. This has three advantages:-

1/ No wrapping or unpleasant bending.

2/ It's a day out.

3/ It becomes an S.E.P. [Someone Else's Problem]

My brother, a chef, would have lodged it in a Kitchen Porter, thereby also creating an S.E.P.

  • -1. This answer does work. However, if you drive a car all the way to the city dump just for this, it may not be the best thing for the environment. Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 18:00

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