What To Do With Old License Plates Texas?

When you get new license plates in Texas, you may wonder what to do with the old ones. You have several options to properly dispose of old plates, including returning them to the DMV so they can reuse or recycle them. You also may try selling old plates online to collectors, crafting something new out of them, donating them to charity, or scrapping them for cash.

What can you create, or where might your old plates end up when you decide to part with them? The possibilities may surprise you.

You Can Send Your Old Plates Back To The DMV

You Can Send Your Old Plates Back To The DMV

Returning your old license plates to the DMV in Texas is a straightforward process that promotes responsible disposal. By sending them back, you ensure proper handling and reduce the risk of unauthorized use. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) typically provides guidelines on its website, including mailing addresses and any required documentation. 

This practice aligns with the state’s commitment to efficient plate management, preventing issues related to expired or unused plates. Remember to check the specific instructions from the DMV to guarantee a smooth return process, contributing to a well-maintained and regulated vehicle registration system in Texas.

Try Selling Your Plates Online

Websites like eBay offer a platform to sell old Texas license plates, including sought-after items like New York Old License Plates. Vintage plates often command higher prices, especially those over 20 years old or featuring unique numbers/words. Ensure your plates are in good condition, then create a detailed listing with information like the plate number, state, year issued, and overall condition to attract collectors and potentially make a profit.

Recycle Your Plates At A Recycling Center

Recycle Your Plates At A Recycling Center

Dispose of your old license plates responsibly by taking them to a local recycling center. Recycling centers are equipped to process metal materials, including license plates. This eco-friendly option ensures that the materials are recycled efficiently, reducing environmental impact. Check with your local recycling facilities for specific instructions on how to drop off your old plates, contributing to sustainable waste management practices while adhering to proper disposal methods.

Recycling your license plates at a designated facility not only helps the environment but also supports the recycling industry. Metals from old license plates can be repurposed for various applications, minimizing the need for new raw materials. This small effort on your part contributes to the overall reduction of waste and promotes a more sustainable and circular approach to resource use.

Craft Something New Out Of Your Old License Plate

Transforming your old license plate into a unique and personalized craft is a creative way to give it a new life. Consider turning it into a decorative sign, a custom key holder, or even a stylish piece of wall art. With a bit of imagination and some simple tools, you can repurpose your old license plate into a one-of-a-kind item that adds character to your space and preserves the memories associated with your vehicle.

Crafting with old license plates not only reduces waste but also allows you to showcase your DIY skills while creating functional and aesthetically pleasing items. Whether you’re into upcycling projects or simply want to infuse a touch of nostalgia into your surroundings, repurposing your old license plate can be a fun and rewarding endeavor.

Sell Your Plates To A Scrap Metal Company  

Scrap metal companies buy all types of metal by the pound, including old license plates. This option gets you cash for plates and also recycles them. Call around for the best price per pound of scrap metal in your area. Just be sure to remove any non-metal parts first.

Hang Old License Plates On Your Garage Wall

Hang Old License Plates On Your Garage Wall

Transform your garage into a nostalgic haven by hanging old license plates on the wall. This simple and quirky decor idea not only adds a touch of vintage charm but also allows you to showcase your collection or commemorate past vehicles. It’s a cost-effective way to personalize your space while giving a second life to those retired license plates, creating a unique and visually appealing backdrop.

Keep It As A Souvenir 

You may want to keep your old license plate as a souvenir from the year it was issued or a memorable period of your life. It takes up little space but serves as a nostalgic memento. Store it safely indoors to prevent rust/fading.

Keep As A Collection

Some people enjoy collecting old license plates from different places and time periods. If you have plates spanning many years/states, display them together as an eclectic collection. Try framing each plate or mounting them on a board. It’s a simple way to express your hobby.

Give as a gift

Make an old plate even more special by gifting it to a loved one. Consider framing a plate from a meaningful year (birth year, wedding year) to give to a family member or spouse. Or, attach one onto a homemade sign or plaque as a personalized present.


Can you throw away old license plates in Texas?

Yes, you can discard old license plates in Texas. It is advisable to deface or destroy them before disposal.

Do I need to return license plates in Texas?

Yes, in Texas, returning license plates is recommended, especially when they are no longer in use, to comply with state regulations.

What can you do with expired license plates in Texas?

Options include surrendering them to the DMV, recycling at local centers, or repurposing them for creative projects.

Can I keep my license plate in Texas?

Yes, you can keep your license plate in Texas, but it’s essential to follow proper procedures if the vehicle is no longer in use.

Where do I return my Texas license plates?

License plates can be returned to your local county tax office or mailed to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

What are the plate laws in Texas?

Plate laws in Texas cover issues such as proper display, renewal, and the surrender or transfer of plates when a vehicle is sold or disposed of.


To sum it up, understanding what to do with old license plates in Texas offers a spectrum of choices, each catering to different preferences and values. Whether surrendering them to the DMV, recycling at local centers, crafting DIY projects, or using them as nostalgic decor, these options align with responsible and creative practices. By exploring these avenues, you contribute to sustainable waste management, uphold regulatory compliance, and infuse personal touches into your surroundings. 

Texas provides diverse possibilities for handling old license plates, encouraging individuals to make thoughtful decisions that resonate with their environmental consciousness and penchant for creativity. Consider these alternatives to navigate the transition of your license plates with ease and purpose.

What To Do With Old License Plates Texas?

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