Decluttering, Tips and tricks

Declutter your home, without the dread: 12 household items you can recycle today

Declutter your home, without the dread: 12 household items you can recycle today
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An estimated £2 billion* worth of unwanted homeware items are sent to landfill each year in the UK.

A change in season often gives us the urge to declutter our homes, from seasonal clothes and garden furniture to the pesky ‘messy’ drawer full of batteries and old mobile phones. While many of your household items can be sold or donated on sites like Facebook Marketplace, Vinted or Vintage Cash Cow, those trickier items can be left gathering dust and cluttering up your home.

Did you know up to 60%** of the items in your home can be recycled? That's right, from your mattress to your moisturiser, most of the items sitting in your house right now are ready to be re-used, recycled or re-homed.

1. VHS tapes, CDs & DVDs

Greendisk is an online e-waste recycling service that accepts all ‘techno trash’ (AKA VHS tapes, CDs and laptops) and securely destroy your old data, recovers reusable components and recycles the rest.

Male hands holding a pile of miscellaneous batteries

2. Batteries

An estimated 20,000 tonnes of old household batteries end up in landfill every year so to help tackle this, RecycleNow offer both home collection and drop-off points for your old batteries to be recycled.

Or, if you are able, Cancer Research UK stores are accepting used batteries which they recycle for free, plus Ecosurety will donate £100 to Cancer Research for every tonne of batteries donated.

3. Garden furniture

Most plastic garden furniture can be collected from your home and dropped off at your local recycling centre. They may require you to check for the plastic number on the furniture before collection. Use the UK postcode recycling checker to see whether your council collects your type of plastic and under what conditions.

4. Clothing

Donating or selling your old clothing is the easiest way to give your items a new lease of life, however for unwearable items, RecycleNow offer home collections and drop-off points. Find your nearest drop-off point here.

5. Mobile Phones

Most mobile phone providers offer a trade-in scheme for your old handsets, perfect if you are planning to upgrade. However, for those phones that have been lurking in your home for years, sites like Envirofone will buy any make or model of mobile phone (even broken ones) and postage is totally free.

Woman placing her empty toiletries into a boots recycle box

6. Make up and toiletries

Many high-street stores like John Lewis, Boots and Superdrug offer rewards and cash-back for donating your empty toiletry and make-up packaging. If you have any unused items - many of us have plenty of gifts that go unused, donating them to food banks and shelters is a great option for those in need. Please ensure all items donated are in date.

7. Mattresses & bed frames

The Mattress Recycling People provide a cheap and easy way to recycle your old mattress and bed frames without the hassle. From as little as £44.99 (no matter the size of your mattress) they will collect from your home and recycle responsibly. 

8. Expired medication

Unopened, unused and out-of-date medication should be returned to your pharmacy for proper disposal, however, the cardboard packaging can be recycled as normal. It’s worth noting that inhalers should never be put in the waste bin as they contain gases which are harmful to the environment. They should also be recycled at your local pharmacy. 

9. Glasses

Often made from plastic or metals, glasses and sunglasses that are put in household waste will end up in landfill. The best option is to return unwanted, broken or old glasses to an optician who has a donation bin. Specsavers, Vision Express, and Boots Opticians for example work with charities that provide optical training and sight care for people in developing countries.

10. Printer Cartridges

Many printing shops accept used printer cartridges in-store so it’s worth taking yours along the next time you pick up a new one. If you’re unable to get to a store, services like Return a Toner offer free home collections and will recycle your printer cartridges safely and responsibly.

11. Books

Like Vintage Cash Cow, WeBuyBooks is the easy way to reclaim your bookcase and make some money - all from the comfort of your own home. Find out more here.

Foreground: Cardboard box with a mixture of childrens toys. Background: A woman holding a brown stuffed bear

12. Toys

Many local recycling centres do not accept toys so donating them to charity shops or shelters is a great alternative. If you’re unable to do so, services like Toys4life buy your old toys and export them to third-world countries and socially deprived areas where people are unable to afford new toys.

*Ideal Home


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