Skip to content
Electronic household items

How to Recycle

Nine things you didn’t know you could recycle

On this page

These days we’re all pretty clued up about the kinds of things we can put into our recycling bins ready for bin day. But while we’re used to rinsing out glass jars and flattening down cardboard packaging for collection, it’s easy to forget that just because something can’t be collected kerbside doesn’t mean it can’t be recycled! Here are just a few of the things you can recycle in other ways…

1. Electronics

You may not always be able to plonk them straight in your recycling bin at home (take a look at your local council website or our Recycling Locator to check), but your tech can still be recycled. There are loads of schemes out there to help you do this safely, and some may even offer you cash in return – result! Search Compare and Recycle to find the best recycling scheme for your device.

Any device that has a plug, batteries or that needs charging comes under the category of ‘Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment’. While this can’t go in the wheelie bin, it can either be given to charity (if it still works) or taken into the store where you’re replacing it for the retailer to recycle for you.

Read more about recycling electrical items.

2. Hair and beauty products

If you’re wondering what to do with that drawer full of old lipsticks and other used beauty products, take-back schemes are the answer. Numerous types of hair and beauty items can be recycled, from plastic combs to eye shadow palettes, so find your nearest beauty and grooming take-back scheme.

3. Batteries

From tiny button batteries from a thermometer or car keyring to gigantic car batteries and anything in between, batteries can very much be recycled! Whether or not you can include them in your kerbside collection depends on your local authority, so search your local battery recycling for more information and any specific instructions. If batteries aren’t accepted, you’ll likely find a battery recycling point in your local supermarket or electronics store. Remember, batteries are a fire risk, so don’t put them into the main bin with everything else.

4. Pet bedding

If your household is home to a furry friend or two, it’s worth investigating whether your local authority will accept bedding materials such as straw, hay and sawdust in your green garden waste wheelie bin. The textiles section of your local Recycling Centre is the place to go for getting rid of fabric beds and blankets for dogs and cats, while plastic ones can go in the general plastics section. Find out more about recycling animal bedding.

Pet bedding

5. Crisp packets

We Brits love our crisps, and while the empty packets can’t currently go in your recycling bin at home, they can still be recycled if you take them to recycling points that accept plastic bags. Crisp packets can be recycled at supermarkets across the country. Find your nearest participating store by checking our recycling locator here and find out more about recycling crisp packets.

6. Furniture

Because furniture is big and bulky, we tend to think of it as something to sell or give away rather than recycle. But if it’s reached the end of its useful life and can’t be mended or upcycled, furniture can be recycled too! Head down to your nearest Recycling Centre to dispose of tired old furniture, or check with your local council to see whether a bulky item collection can be arranged. Find out more about recycling furniture.

7. Clothes

Having a bit of a wardrobe clearout and have clothes to get rid of that still have plenty of life left in them? Donating them to a charity shop or listing them on a clothes swap or reselling site is the best way to keep them in use. But if you’ve got clothes full of holes or otherwise beyond repair, you can recycle them. Check whether your local council will collect them, drop them off at a clothes recycling point at your local supermarket or see whether your local clothes retailers have a take-back scheme. Find out more about recycling clothes, and get the lowdown on specific considerations for recycling school uniforms.

8. Lightbulbs

While the old-school ‘incandescent’ bulbs can’t be recycled, the newer energy-efficient ones can. Check with your local council to see whether they accept them in your kerbside collection, or take them to your nearest Recycling Centre. Find out more about recycling lightbulbs.


9. Carpet and rugs

Giving a room a makeover? Don’t consign carpets to the landfill! If the carpet fitters won’t take it away, carpet may be recycled at your local Recycling Centre, as can any rugs you want to get rid of that aren’t good enough to sell or donate. Find out more about recycling carpet and rugs.

You’d be surprised by how many things you can recycle, so before throwing something in the general rubbish, be sure to look it up in our recycling guide to find out how best to dispose of it!

Find out if an item can be recycled and where to recycle it:

Explore more

Help spread the word by sharing this page