You'd be surprised how often the adage "one man's trash is another man's treasure" is true, especially about things you'd like to be rid of, like your old bathroom tiles. Tiles, be they porcelain, terra-cotta or marble, can go on to live meaningful second lives, so don't put them in your trash.
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Reuse Broken Tiles Yourself
When it comes to things like decorative garden edging, creating flower beds that drain well or even using fill for things like a new walkway, broken tile can help you get the job done. When putting plants in pots, add broken tile at the bottom as you would gravel or stones; then add soil and your plant. This keeps the plant roots from becoming oversaturated.
But you could also complete a do-it-yourself project like making a tabletop mosaic or even creating funky stepping stones in your garden. Just design a pattern with tile shards and lay them into Quikrete as a DIY project.
Donate Tiles in Good Condition
Habitat for Humanity is an organization that builds homes for people with insecure housing. They've built homes for everyone from homeless war vets to victims of natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina. While cash donations really help Habitat for Humanity, so do donated used building supplies.
Habitat for Humanity often will take those tiles off your hands and maybe even some broken ones too if you ask. Then, they'll clean them up and sell them in their ReStore locations, where you can save on your bathroom reno by buying used building supplies for a fraction of their retail prices.
Recycle Your Tiles
In some regions, recycling of various materials can be a burden because they don't have the infrastructure for it. But the good news is that industry is constantly looking for new ways to save money or create revenue streams, and some ceramics companies have found ways to reclaim tiles and porcelain toilets and create all new products from them.
This helps the world in a few ways. One, natural resources don't have to be mined to create new tiles. Two, products are kept out of the landfills, which helps keeps water sources cleaner too. Three, companies using the recycled materials can save money, which can create jobs.
The Crossville Tile Company's Tile Take-Back Program has saved over 114 million pounds of tiles from landfills since its inception in 2009 through 2017, and that's just one company. With Crossville's success, other companies have joined the fray and are now recycling tile too. Ask local home centers if they'll take your tiles and check with civic waste management to see what they suggest for local recycling options.
Give Them Away
And now, back to the beginning: Don't assume your trash can't be treasure. Today, there are all kinds of "buy nothing" local groups on Facebook. Find some for your area or use the "Marketplace" option to post your tile haul as being free. You'd be surprised how creative some people are and the ways in which they might be able to reuse your junk. Many crafters and DIYers scour these pages for opportunities, so definitely consider them when you're getting rid of anything.