12 Ways to Recycle And Reuse Extension Cords

I am finding it is very difficult to walk by my neighbors houses on Trash Day. The stuff they throw away is amazing, clothes, shoes, toys, baskets and sports equipment and worst of all electronic devices, which are full of toxic materials such as lead and mercury, all going into our landfills and then into our water.

Yesterday I picked out an extension cord out of the trash just as a reminder to do a post on what to do with old extension cords.

I Just Gotta Tell Ya

  • The majority of extension cords sold in the United States contain lead in the PVC housing
  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSO) estimates that each year, about 4,000 injuries associated with electric extension cords are treated in hospital emergency rooms. About half the injuries involve fractures, lacerations, contusions, or sprains from people tripping over extension cords.
  • Thirteen percent of the injuries involve children under-five years of age; electrical burns to the mouth accounted for half the injuries to young children.
  • CPSC also estimates that about 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others. The most frequent causes of such fires are short circuits, overloading, damage, and/or misuse of extension cords.

What to do with old extension cords:

1.) Ideally the best thing you can do is repair them. You can purchase replacement plugs at the hardware store for a few dollars and replace the head.

2.) Recycle them,  many scrap dealers will take the copper wiring, so you can sell the wiring and make money.

3.) Put on Craigslist/Giving away/YinYango to see if anyone wants them.

4.) Use as ropes

5.) Use as clothesline

6.) Use a tie downs for car

7.) Make  a belt

Photo- http://www.instructables.com/id/Materials/

8.) Make Jewelry

Reuse Copper and Make Jewelry- Etsy: Creations by Kerin

9.) Make Art

Extension Cord Art by Joris Laarman

10.) Glue around picture frame for decor

11.) The rubber housing can serve as great padding for storage or shipping items.

12.) I haven’t seen this, but it makes sense to use in chair seats, can braid them together and interlace.

So now I know what I am going to do with the rescued extension cord, putting it in my car to use as a tie down for those times you could also use a rope.


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  1. Sam says

    I had a whole heap of really long white extension cords. I went to the hardware store, purchased some male and female plugs, cut the cords in half and made lots of shorter length ones. Sounds lame but how often do you need to extend a power supply an extra meter or so but don’t want to have 4 meters of extra cable bunched up not being used! (Happens to me all the time) haha

    Also stripping out the insulated wire inside the extension cords is great for auto electrical/car stereo work/re wiring your car/trailer lights etc.


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