When we dug up our old patio we gave the rubble to my brother-in-law, who crushes them up to use as foundations for his farm roads. But what are some of the other options to get rid of them?
Your main two choices to dispose of old pavers are ‘recycle or reuse’. While you can throw away certain types of building waste in dumpsters, you need to check your local laws. Better options include getting a recycling firm to collect them or reusing them in other backyard projects.
Let’s look at your options for disposing of old pavers in greater detail, and we’ll also share some creative ways to reuse them around your property…
What Do You Do With Old Pavers?
You’re treating yourself to a smart new patio – but what can you do with the old one? Don’t worry – there are plenty of things you can do with old pavers, and we’ll take you through them.
Your main choices are recycle or reuse. Because pavers tend to be heavy and unwieldy, the best solutions involve somebody else taking them off your hands. Alternatively, if you’ve had a tough day, taking a sledgehammer to some old pavers can be truly cathartic (and we’ll talk about why you should break up your pavers later).
Our main message is – don’t just dump them! A cracked slab may no longer look good on your patio, but that doesn’t mean it’s reached the end of its useful life.
Can You Put Bricks & Pavers in a Dumpster?
If you are using a dumpster for a big project, yes you can throw in construction-type waste like bricks and pavers. There are strict rules about what you can and can’t put in a dumpster, so it’s always best to check with your individual dumpster hire company before renting one.
Old paving slabs and bricks are OK because they’re not hazardous. However, they are heavy, and you’ll need to rent a large 15-yard dumpster. The rental company will advise you on maximum load, and it may be that you’re only allowed to fill the dumpster three quarters full.
An alternative is hiring a junk removal firm, who will turn up in a truck and haul everything away for you. This costs more than renting a dumpster, but it’s a lot easier.
Again, ask yourself if your old paving slabs should really be going to landfill, when there are other useful functions they can perform. You’ll also make a saving if you can reuse or recycle slabs, as you may not need to hire that dumpster after all…
Are Old Patio Pavers Worth Money?
Sorry, if you have a pallet of old pavers for disposal – the answer to this question is “not really”. Concrete pavers aren’t very expensive to buy new, and you can get all sorts of exciting designs at places like Home Depot without breaking the bank.
If your patio pavers are in good condition, you may be able to get a few dollars for them on a selling site like your local Facebook marketplace. The main thing to consider when getting rid of old pavers isn’t really the money: it’s more about saving yourself the effort of disposal. So, your best bet is to focus on keeping down the disposal costs rather than making money from the pavers themselves.
You could also see if a local charity needs them: they could be made into stepping stones for a playground, or used around the fire pit for a scouting organization. Or, you could look into local recycling schemes (more about this in a minute).
Does Anywhere Provide Free Concrete & Paver Disposal?
Find out which organizations near you offer a concrete disposal service simply by going onto Google and asking the question. When we searched for our local area, a whole list of names came up. Some firms will recycle old pavers for free, however many recycling companies do charge a fee.
However, you may decide that paying a recycling company to remove your concrete pavers is worth it, because you’ll know that they haven’t simply gone to landfill. Old patio bricks and pavers can be recycled into hardcore for major building projects, such as new roads.
It’s thought that up to 50% of landfill is made up from old concrete and other construction waste materials. With most counties under pressure to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill, many recycling companies are looking for ways to divert it. Reusing smashed up slabs of concrete and old pavers as road base materials is a brilliant idea that ensures the waste has a useful life for years to come.
If you want your slabs to be reused but would rather not pay a collection fee, see if they’re any use to a smaller-scale project. A good way to get rid of old pavers is to advertise them for free on your neighborhood website or Facebook page. Say they’re free if collected. Who knows – you might even have a friend or neighbor in search of some cheap materials for a yard project.
Again, a charity might be happy to collect them from you, provided they are getting the pavers for free. Serviceable pavers could be a great asset to a community garden or a local kindergarten or school.
How Can I Recycle or Reuse Patio Pavers?
If you want to recycle and reuse your old patio pavers yourself, there are plenty of things you can do with them. Here are a few of our favorite yard projects involving old paving slabs.
Use Them For Potted Plants
Smashed up pavers are perfect to use as drainage in planting containers.Put on your safety goggles, clear the cat, kids and car out of the way, and get breaking. Smash up the pavers with your sledgehammer, making sure you keep the shards fairly large (by this, we mean, don’t smash it into dust. Pot drainage shards need to be two or three inches long at least). Then, place them at the base of your pot before adding the soil and compost.
Smash Them into Gravel
If you’re enjoying the smashing part, keep going until the pieces are smaller. They can then be dug into your soil in place of gravel, providing handy drainage for plants that don’t like wet feet. You can also use smashed pavers as a coarse aggregate to go under your new paver slabs, which is a rather pleasing solution.
Use Them as Pavers
Seriously, unless they’re really cracked, old pavers still make perfectly serviceable, well, pavers. Use them to go under your grill or BBQ, as you won’t mind any oil splashes, or use them around the fire pit. Tough old pavers can be fixed outside your workshop for those outdoor DIY jobs.
A Solid Foundation
If your old pavers are still intact (just ugly), they can be used under sheds, greenhouses, play houses or other outdoor buildings to create a firm foundation. The old concrete slabs won’t be seen, and will save you from having to buy new ones for your building project.
Put Them in Flower Beds
If you have large flower or vegetable beds, place pavers on the soil (you may want to put an inch of fine gravel down first) to act as handy stepping stones. This helps you hop from plant to plant. Or, create a pathway down the center of a really large bed to make the plants more accessible.
Create a Messy Play Zone
It’s lovely to have the kids out in the yard, playing away happily in the fresh air. However, you could do without spillages, paint, chalk, play dough, and goodness knows what else getting all over your clean new pavers. Create a separate little play area where they can happily make mud pies to their hearts’ content without messing up the patio.
In the absence of having farmers in the family – who always need rubble to crush up for road maintenance and as the foundations for outbuildings – your main options for disposing of pavers are recycle or reuse.
Old pavers have no monetary value as they’re so cheap to buy brand new – so if you don’t want to pay a recycling firm to take them away, or local laws won’t allow you to put them in a dumpster – then simply reusing them in other backyard projects is the best option.
I’d keep them in case they’re needed for something in future – you might build a new shed or pathway at some stage, and you’ll kick yourself if you’ve got rid of them. 🙂
Homeowner and property investor Larry James founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >