Recycling Ideas for Old Satellite Dishes

Written by laila alvarez
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Recycling Ideas for Old Satellite Dishes
Small dishes make unique bird baths. (Satellite TV image by Bryan Crowe from

With the rise of cable and Internet TV, satellite dishes are becoming more a thing of the past. Those satellite dishes that were once on many roofs are now finding their way into landfills. However, the shape and material of satellite dishes allows for many uses and can be recycled easily. Whether large or small, satellite dishes can be turned into something beautiful, useful or both.

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Using the size of an older satellite dish to your advantage can help you create an interesting gazebo. Use the upside-down dish as the roof of the gazebo with metal poles to help it stand. You'll need to learn basic welding to attach the metal poles, and some exterior paint will make the gazebo pop. Or, leave it as is for a modern, industrial look.

Solar-Powered Water Heater

To create a solar powered water heater, purchase solar foil (available from many online retailers) and attach it to the concave side of the dish, using the arm of the dish to house the recirculated water coil. To absorb the most amount of energy, the dish will need to sit in direct sunlight. To do this, manually move the dish throughout the day or create a timing device that automatically rotates the dish throughout the day.

Bird Bath

A smaller satellite dish can be turned into a bird bath easily. The first step is dismantling the dish so that there are no connected components or wires. Leave the bolts and any holes sealed. Clean the dish and then paint it with an exterior paint. You can mount the dish on a post, using strong exterior glue, or you can leave the dish sitting in your garden. Simply fill with water and the birds will enjoy.


Industrial art pieces are becoming more popular as more and more people become conscious of recycling different materials. Use the satellite dish in your own creative way as a statue for your yard or as a gift. If you're not the artistic type, donate your dish to someone who is. The Texas Sunflower project, for example, accepts satellite dishes to make metal sunflowers.

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