How to Dispose of a Broken Riding Lawn Mower?

The day comes for all of us – the day our trusty riding lawn mower finally gives up the ghost. It sputters, it groans, it refuses to start, and we’re left staring at a hunk of metal and wondering what to do with it. Throwing it in the trash isn’t an option, and leaving it to rust in the backyard isn’t exactly a pleasant sight. So, what’s a homeowner to do? This article will walk you through the process of responsibly disposing of your broken riding lawn mower, covering everything from dismantling and recycling to finding a new home for your aging machine.

Overview of Disposing a Broken Riding Lawn Mower

Disposing of a broken riding lawn mower involves a combination of responsible dismantling, proper recycling, and potentially finding a new owner for reusable parts or the entire machine. The process will vary depending on your local regulations and resources available.

Step 1: Prepare the Riding Lawn Mower for Disposal

Before you start dismantling the mower, it’s crucial to take some safety precautions and properly prepare the machine.

1.1 Disconnect the Battery:

  • Safety First: Always disconnect the battery terminals to prevent accidental electrical shocks. Use a wrench to loosen the battery terminal clamps and remove the cables.
  • Store the Battery Safely: If the battery still holds a charge, store it in a safe place away from children and pets. You can consult with your local recycling center or auto parts store for battery disposal options.

1.2 Drain the Fuel:

  • Safety Precautions: Work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gloves to avoid skin contact with gasoline.
  • Drain the Fuel Tank: Use a siphon pump to carefully remove the gasoline from the tank.
  • Dispose of Fuel Properly: Never pour gasoline down the drain or into the ground. Contact your local waste management facility for proper gasoline disposal options.

1.3 Remove Any Fluids:

  • Check for Other Fluids: Inspect the mower for any other fluids, such as engine oil or hydraulic fluid.
  • Dispose of Fluids Properly: Follow the same disposal methods as for gasoline, contacting your local waste management facility for guidance.

Step 2: Dismantle and Recycle Components

With the mower safely prepared, you can begin dismantling it for recycling and disposal.

2.1 Metals and Plastics:

  • Separate Components: Carefully remove any metallic components like the engine, chassis, wheels, and other parts.
  • Recycle Metals: Metal components are recyclable. Contact your local recycling center to find out which metals they accept.
  • Recycle Plastics: Separate plastic components, such as the housing, from the metal. Many recycling centers also accept plastics.

2.2 Engine Disposal:

  • Check for Recyclable Components: The engine may contain valuable metals that can be recycled.
  • Contact Your Local Waste Facility: For the rest of the engine, contact your local waste management facility for guidance on disposal.

2.3 Other Components:

  • Dispose of Tires: Tires can be recycled or disposed of at designated tire collection centers. Check with your local waste management facility for information.
  • Check for Other Recyclables: Separate any other potentially recyclable materials, such as glass or cardboard, and dispose of them properly.

Step 3: Consider Donating or Selling Parts

While many components of a riding lawn mower are recyclable, some parts might still be in good working condition.

3.1 Donating Parts:

  • Local Repair Shops: Contact local lawn mower repair shops to inquire about donating parts.
  • Online Forums: Post about the available parts on online forums and marketplaces dedicated to lawn mower enthusiasts.

3.2 Selling Parts:

  • Online Marketplaces: Use online platforms like eBay or Craigslist to sell individual parts.
  • Local Classifieds: Place ads in local newspapers or on community bulletin boards.

Step 4: Seek Professional Help for Disposal

If you’re unable to dispose of the mower yourself, or if it contains hazardous materials, professional help is available.

4.1 Contact a Scrap Metal Recycler:

  • Professional Removal: Scrap metal recyclers are often equipped to handle large items like lawn mowers.
  • Cost Considerations: They may charge a fee for pickup and disposal.

4.2 Contact a Local Waste Management Facility:

  • Household Hazardous Waste Programs: Many local waste management facilities offer programs for the disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Special Collection Days: Some communities have designated days for the collection of bulky items like lawn mowers.

Step 5: The Importance of Responsible Disposal

  • Environmental Impact: Improper disposal of lawn mowers can release harmful pollutants into the environment.
  • Safety Hazards: Broken lawn mowers can become dangerous if left unattended, especially if they contain gasoline or other hazardous materials.
  • Resource Conservation: Recycling and reuse maximize the value of the mower’s components, reducing the need for new materials.


Disposing of a broken riding lawn mower requires a thoughtful and responsible approach. By taking the time to properly dismantle, recycle, and potentially donate or sell parts, you can ensure that the machine is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. Remember to always prioritize safety, consult with your local waste management facility, and consider the environmental impact of your choices. Your efforts will help protect the environment and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can I just throw my broken riding lawn mower in the trash?

A: Unfortunately, no. Most municipalities consider riding lawn mowers too large and bulky for standard trash collection. They also often contain hazardous materials like oil, gasoline, and batteries that can contaminate the environment. Therefore, throwing your lawn mower away will likely lead to fines or even legal issues.

Q2: What are the best ways to dispose of a broken riding lawn mower?

A: There are several environmentally friendly and legal options available. You can take your lawn mower to a scrap metal recycling center, where it will be broken down and reused. Alternatively, you can donate it to a local charity or non-profit organization if it’s still in working condition. Finally, some local municipalities offer e-waste collection days, where you can drop off your lawn mower for proper disposal.

Q3: What should I do with the gasoline in the tank?

A: It’s important to drain the gasoline from the tank before disposing of your lawn mower. This helps prevent environmental contamination. You can use a siphon pump or a small container to carefully extract the fuel. However, never pour gasoline down the drain or into the ground. Instead, dispose of it at a hazardous waste collection facility or use it up in other gas-powered tools.

Q4: How do I prepare my riding lawn mower for disposal?

A: Before taking your lawn mower to a recycling center or donation site, remove any fluids like gasoline, oil, and battery acid. You can drain the oil by removing the drain plug and collecting the oil in a suitable container. Once drained, ensure you properly dispose of the fluids at a hazardous waste facility.

Q5: Can I sell my broken riding lawn mower for parts?

A: It’s possible! Many people are looking for parts for their riding lawn mowers. You can try selling it online through classifieds websites or auction platforms like eBay. Alternatively, you can contact local repair shops or enthusiasts who might be interested in purchasing parts.

Q6: Is it legal to abandon my broken riding lawn mower?

A: No, it’s illegal to abandon a riding lawn mower on public or private property. Doing so can result in fines and legal issues. It’s always best to dispose of your lawn mower properly, using one of the methods discussed above.

Q7: How much does it cost to dispose of a broken riding lawn mower?

A: The cost of disposing of a broken riding lawn mower can vary depending on the method you choose. Scrap metal recycling centers usually charge a fee based on the weight of the lawn mower. Some charities might accept your donation free of charge. If you opt for e-waste collection services, there might be a fee, but this typically varies depending on your location.

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