I was just thinking that with all the things replicated by a replicator, I never recall seeing them dispose of the non-consumable items replicated. E.g. whenever Picard asks for his tea, it always replicates the tea and the mug. He drinks the tea obviously, but what about the mug?

Does a replicator have the ability to 'de-replicate' the items it replicates (presumably then storing the constituents elsewhere), or is this 'waste' managed by a different system?

(Note I'm talking about things replicated, not foods or drinks which I know what happens to following this question.)

  • No idea if it's canon but use the transporter. Beam the waste pretty much anywhere within any star. Problem solved. – Elliott Frisch Jun 28 '14 at 4:47
  • @ElliottFrisch good idea, but wouldn't that be a ridiculous waste of resources? Considering the question I've linked, if human waste is recycled what are the chances that they'd simply beam other materials off the ship? – Often Right Jun 28 '14 at 4:52
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    There was an episode of DS9 where either Sisko or Yates tells Jake Sisko to put his dishes back into the replicator. I have no idea which episode it was. – calccrypto Jun 28 '14 at 5:01
  • Regardless, the Federation seems especially profligate with their energy usage. My assumption therefor is that energy is essentially free. – Elliott Frisch Jun 28 '14 at 5:08
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    @calccrypto Also in DS9, we see Molly put her dishes back into the replicator – Izkata Jun 28 '14 at 5:20

The second sentence on Memory-Alpha's entry on replicators says

It was also capable of inverting its function, thus disposing of leftovers and dishes and storing the bulk material again.

Also as mentioned above, in an episode of DS9, Jake Sisko was told to dispose of his dishes in the replicator.

  • +1. We actually see this done many times in the series. – ruakh Jun 28 '14 at 5:21
  • This one stood out for some reason. Or I might have misremembered this scene. – calccrypto Jun 28 '14 at 5:22

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