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16 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

In a world where sustainability has never been more prevalent or important, an increasing number of people are looking to reduce their carbon footprints. Some of the ways in which you can help is by making sure that you’re recycling as much as possible. Many items are thrown in landfill that could be recycled. So with this in mind, here are 16 things that you have probably been throwing in the landfill without a second thought that you actually can recycle:


1. Lightbulbs

A wealth of lightbulbs, including halogen and fluorescent lightbulbs, can be recycled. You should never throw lightbulbs in your household waste bin. Also, they should never be placed in landfill containers at your local recycling centre. They need to be put in designated lightbulb bins to ensure they’re disposed of sustainably and safely. There will be a dedicated lightbulb location at your local recycling centre, so make sure you check with your Local Authority before you go.


2. Inhalers

Thousands of inhalers are thrown away, in the general bin, every single year. But did you know that you actually should never throw them into your household bin? They need to be saved up and taken to a pharmacy or a chemist who will recycle them for you. This way, you can rest assured that they will never end up in landfill, something that’s firmly stated by Recycle Now.


3. Bicycles

Decathlon estimates that around 15 million bikes are sent to landfill annually, which is completely unnecessary given the fact that bicycles can actually be recycled fairly easily in the UK. This is because the body of a typical bike is made purely out of aluminium which can be recycled in a quick and simple manner, no matter its size. 

Also, if they’re safe and in good condition, bikes can be donated to friends or family, listed online or donated to a bike rental service. Never throw your bike in the landfill, give it away or donate it to a second-hand bike shop so that someone else can give it a new lease of life.


4. Eyeglasses

According to The University of Rochester, around 4 million pairs of glasses end up in landfill each year. Although you cannot, as of yet, recycle your eyewear at your local recycling centre, there are plenty of organisations and opticians who will be pleased to take your old glasses. Those companies will recycle your eyewear responsibly, such as Specsavers, Vision Express and Boots. There are also charities, such as Vision Aid Overseas, who will take your old glasses, test them out and deliver them to those who need glasses in the impoverished world. 


5. Used cosmetics containers

It’s difficult to know what to do with old makeup products and empty cosmetic containers. Many people throw them in landfill because they aren’t sure about how to dispose of them sustainably. But most of them are made out of plastic, which can be easily recycled, even at home. Simply wash the container out and put it in your at-home recycling bin. 

If it has a metal casing, then it can be taken to your local recycling centre. You should also check with the cosmetics company about whether or not they offer a recycling scheme. MAC, for example, operates a ‘Back-to-MAC’ recycling scheme. They encourage consumers to bring their old pallets and containers back to the store so they can be recycled properly.


6. Tennis balls

This is a very apt entry seeing as Wimbledon started and finished this month. But have you ever wondered what they do with all of their old tennis balls? They actually sell their used tennis balls in the Southern Village store, states Wimbledon themselves. They’re never thrown in the landfill, They’re repurposed by budding tennis players and purchased by Wimbledon fans alike. 

But if you’re sitting at home with tennis balls that are worn and you’re wondering what in the world you can do with them aside from throwing them in the bin, then you’ve come to the right place. There is a scheme offered by Recyaball whereby they’ll take your old tennis balls and “refurbish” them. They transform them back into a functioning tennis ball once again. They’ll then take those balls and donate them to schools and charities, among other organisations. In some cases, they may even pay you for giving them your old tennis balls.


7. Shoes

Shoe banks, much like clothing banks, are everywhere. The most common place you’ll find them is in supermarket car parks. If you have a pair of shoes that are worn beyond repair and cannot be made use of by anyone else, then throw them into the designated shoe bank. Also, shoe shops, such as Clarks, will take your old footwear and distribute them to impoverished countries where shoes are needed but hard to come by. 

Nike also has a recycling scheme in partnership with particular charities for running trainers, so make use of this service, get rid of your unwanted shoes and help someone in need all at the same time. You could also sell them online or give them away for free. There are homeless charities who ask for shoe donations to be made so that the people in their care are provided with adequate footwear when they need it most. Don’t throw your shoes in the landfill, donate them instead.


8. Electronics

Again, this is something that can be easily recycled. But not everyone is aware of what to do with waste electrical items when they no longer work. White goods, computers, televisions and other electronic devices can all be recycled at your local recycling centre. Make sure you take them there to ensure they’re recycled properly. 

This is especially important for appliances such as fridges and freezers, because of the coolant that exists within it. If your electronic devices still work and if they’re in good condition, but you just fancy a replacement, then ask friends and family if they would like the item or list it online for someone else to make use of.


9. Batteries

Batteries can be recycled very easily, with battery bins popping up in a wide range of supermarkets and recycling centres. All you have to do is remember to bring your old batteries with you when you do your weekly food shop. It’s paramount that you do not put them into your general household bin. 

Batteries must never end up in landfill as they contain harmful chemicals. It’s important to also note that not every single type of battery can be recycled. Check with your Local Authority for more information before you send them to be recycled. It would also be worth getting in touch with battery companies to see if they offer any advice or a recycling service, like they do with printer ink cartridges.


10. Plant pots & containers

Everyone around the UK will have a plant pot or a container that they no longer want or need. It could be made from anything, including plastic, metal or ceramic. So what should you do with them if you want them to be recycled instead of ending up in landfill? Here are a few ideas for you:

  • If they’re still whole and undamaged, donate them to charity
  • Donate unwanted plant pots to allotments and gardening schemes
  • Offer them up online, either for free or for a reasonable price
  • Use broken up pots as drainage for your plants or grass
  • Collect up broken pots and place them in the hardcore bin at your recycling centre so it can be turned into aggregate and repurposed 


11. Coat hangers

Coat hangers can be easily recycled or repurposed, despite common belief. There are plenty of sustainable disposal options for old plastic, wooden or wire clothes hangers. No matter what the hanger is made from, every single element of it can be recycled, even wooden ones. 

If you want to recycle them, break them apart and separate them into different materials then make sure that every pile ends up being recycled in the right place. Metal, wood and plastic can be recycled exceptionally easily at your local recycling centre. So make sure you put them all in the right containers when you get there.


12. Carpet

Usually, waste carpet pieces will go to landfill. Many tonnes of carpet are thrown away unnecessarily every single year. But what if we told you that you can actually recycle your carpet instead? You might not think that there are many options available to you other than ending it to landfill. With this in mind, here are some ideas if you want it to be repurposed and recycled instead:

  • Offer it up online to see if anyone will be able to make use of your old carpet, more so if it’s in good condition or if it’s a considerable off-cut from a new carpet
  • Turn it into a doormat
  • Put it in your loft and save it in case you need to replace any part of your carpet
  • If you have lots of different carpet off-cuts, weave them together to make one big homemade rug
  • Check with the company you bought it from about whether or not they’ll recycle it for you
  • Use the backing or underlay as a way to line a pond
  • Use it as bedding for dogs, cats, rabbits or even guinea pigs
  • Make your own scratching pole for your cat by wrapping your old piece of carpet around a wrapping paper tube, or another cylindrical item


13. Toilet bowls

You might have thought that recycling a toilet would be easy, as they’re usually made of ceramic. But there are a few other ways, aside from turning them into aggregate, in which you can recycle your old toilet bowls. If it’s in good condition, you could advertise it online so it can be reused in someone else’s’ bathroom, especially if they’re doing a remodel on a budget. 

You could also sell it and put that money towards your bathroom renovation or, to be quirky, you could use it in your garden as a plant container – this is especially popular with old, Victorian or rustic-looking loos. There’s a wealth of ideas out there to save your unwanted  toilet from going to landfill.


14. CDs & DVDs

You might have thought that the only way to get rid of DVDs and CDs you don’t want is to either give them to charity, offer them up to a friend or simply throw them in the bin. But there are actually many different ways in which you can recycle your unwanted CDs and DVDs. Giving them to your local charity shop is the most common and most eco-friendly way to clear your home of DVDs and CDs, but if you either don’t want to do this, or if you can’t for whatever reason, there are a few other things you can do, including:

  • Giving them to family or friends
  • Donating them to local youth clubs, homeless shelters or schools
  • Take them to your local recycling centre (check with your Local Authority first about whether or not they will actually take CDs and DVDs)
  • Turning them into garden hanging decorations to keep birds away
  • Saving them for Christmas crafts with your children – they can be used as the perfect backdrop for some paper cut-out snowflakes


15. Aggregates

Anything from broken up pieces of ceramic sinks to shattered paving slabs and disintegrating bricks, if it’s made from concrete, stone or anything that’s classed as hardcore, then it can all be broken down and made into aggregate. Aggregate can then be resold or offered in hardware stores, DIY stores or building yards for people to mix in with concrete or as adequate drainage systems for landscaped gardens. 

Aggregates can be used in a wide range of different industries and has a variety of purposes, making it the ultimate recycled product. Here at Willshee’s, we’re able to recycle hardcore and concrete, as well as soil and an abundance of green waste – look to us if you’re planning to remodel your garden or if you’ve come across any rubble in and around your property.


16. Rubber tyres

Tyres are consumables on many different vehicles and transportation solutions, from cars and vans right through to lawn mowers and wheel barrows. But if your tyres experience a puncture or if they’ve become damaged, are bulging or have become misshapen, then it’s time to have them replaced. But what should you do with the old one? Recycle it. There are many different ways in which tyres can be recycled:

  • Car tyres can be left with the car garage so they can dispose of them responsibly by sending them off for recycling
  • If the tyre is big enough, it can be repurposed into a swing for children to play on in playgrounds or spinneys
  • Tyres make the perfect raised flower beds if you simply place them flat on the ground and fill it with compost and plants
  • Tyres can be recycled and made into brand new rubber items, including things like mouse mats



Willshee’s is able to provide both domestic and commercial clients with a wide range of different waste management solutions, from skip hire and grab hire to hazardous waste removal and an impressive range of recycling services, we’re your one-stop solution for sustainable waste collection and eco-friendly disposal every single time. We endeavour to recycle everything we receive here at Willshee’s, helping to not only reduce our customers’ carbon footprints, but ours as well. For more information about how we can ensure you recycle as much as possible in a convenient, responsible manner, then get in touch with a member of our specialist, professional team today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.


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