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By Roz Rogoff

Getting rid of an old toilet

Uploaded: Apr 21, 2014

Well the title of this says it all. It isn't glamorous but sometimes it is necessary to get rid of an old toilet. I've seen some that were turned into planters, but I have more appropriate crockery for that.

In February I replace my regular height toilet with a chair height toilet. The small toilet is in good condition and I thought someone could use it. My neighbor, who put in the new toilet for me offered to break the old one into pieces to throw away in the next trash pickup. I sometimes give "personalities" to inanimate objects, and I didn't want to see the little toilet smashed to pieces.

Instead I had my yard man put it in the front of the house, and I put a sign on it saying
I also put out a 17 year old microwave oven with the same sign. After a couple of days the microwave was gone, but the toilet was still there.

I called Waste Management to ask if they would pick it up in the next trash pickup. They said it would cost around $60 to take it away, but they would take it for free as part of their special pickup in May. So I asked my neighbor to bring it back into the back yard. He again offered to smash it into pieces, but I said I'd rather wait.

Last week I decided to try listing it on FreeCycle-San Ramon. FreeCycle is a volunteer organization that recycles items from people who wants to get rid of them to others on the list that can use them. The goal is to keep waste from going to the dump. So I emailed a listing for my toilet.

I know, you're thinking "Who would take a used toilet?" Well someone replied to the listing asking for pictures. "Have a pic? Thanks Sent from my iPhone" So I took three photos and emailed them. He (or She, I couldn't tell from the name) replied "Dont see the pics." So I posted them in my FreeCycle photo album on Yahoo.

At the same time I received an email from another FreeCycler suggesting I give or donate the toilet to Urban Ore.

"I'm not sure if you have heard of Urban Ore in Berkeley... but they will pick up household items that they can then recycle. We have had them pick up used toilets and they grind them up and recycle the porcelain... just a thought. If you google Urban Ore you can find a phone # and then you leave a message and they call you back with the date they'll be in the area..."

I contacted the pic's person, and he/she still had not seen them. I was starting to suspect that this person was just jerking me around. So I took down the pics and called "Outside Trader," Urban Ore's Pickup service, and left a message.

A man from Outside Trader called me yesterday. He will pick up the toilet tomorrow around noon. He asked for $10 for the pickup. That's a better deal than what Waste Management wanted and the toilet would be recycled into something useful.

I couldn't recall the exact amount Waste Management wanted to take the toilet away, so called Waste Management again to get the information for this blog. The Customer Service person I spoke to tried way too hard to be helpful. I know they are under scrutiny, but that kind of syrupy interaction creeps me out.

She didn't know what they charge to pick up the toilet, but she gave me the phone number for Waste Management's Hazardous Waste Hotline pickup. She also suggested I call Habitat for Humanity, which accepts building materials for new and remodeled homes.

I called the Habitat for Humanity contributions number and left a message. Someone called back 15 minutes ago. They would accept the toilet but I had to bring it to their location in Oakland. I don't have any way to get it there, so Outside Trader will take it tomorrow to Urban Ore to break it up into recyclable porcelain.