Paper, plastic, tin cans...err...glass...um...sometimes cardboard. We all roughly know what can or can’t be recycled but usually, our knowledge is a little hazy around the edges; after all, recycling and the recycling signs can sometimes cause confusion (you can read our guide to recycling signs here). But here are some things that you might not realise can be recycled…
As long as you thoroughly rinse them out you can recycle all the various plastic bottles you have:
- Shampoo and conditioner bottles
- Shower gel bottles
- Liquid soap bottles
- Bleach bottles
- Bathroom cleaners bottles
If your toilet is made from porcelain then you may be able to take it down to a recycling centre and put it in the hardcore and rubble containers, though you may have to pay a charge for doing so.
In the bedroom you can recycle:
- Empty aerosols such as deodorants and hairsprays
- Running shoes - in fact, many companies actually accept old trainers and recycle them for you (Nike and Running Wild, for example)
- Mattresses - these can be used to make fibre for scrap metal, wood chips, clothing and foam products, and
- Clothes - people often forget about this one but not only can you recycle clothing at recycling centres but you can also donate undamaged clothing to various charities to be used by those who need them
As long as you thoroughly rinse out the following you can recycle:
- Washing-up liquid bottles
- Furniture polish aerosol
- Air freshener aerosols
- Dishwasher tablet and kitchen roll boxes
- Metal lids, and
- Food tins (chocolate tins, biscuits tins, tomato tins – but remember to pop the lids inside)
As well as those, many charities and charity shops will accept used crockery. You can also use old corks for decorations and children’s arts and crafts projects, or make your own cork board from them.
And as long as you’ve removed the lid and given it a clean, you can recycle aluminium tubes - like the ones used for tomato or garlic puree.
- Light bulbs - In the UK you can send your used fluorescent light bulbs to a company called RecoLight.
- Inhalers - If like me, you suffer from asthma you can actually recycle all of your inhalers at these drop off points.
- Bicycles - Your bikes can not only be used for the aluminium they’re made of but also can be passed on to charities and youth programs.
- Glasses - There are charities that repurpose your glasses for those who may need them overseas
- VHS Tapes - If you still have any VHS Tapes lying around then there are some companies that will recycle your tapes into usable plastic
- Cosmetics - Companies like MAC offer free lipstick for every 6 containers they get back that can be recycled
- Printer cartridges - You can recycle your print cartridges at various printer companies, charities and recycling centres
- Envelopes with plastic windows - Some envelopes with plastic windows are recyclable as some recycling centres can separate the plastic in the process. Often there will be a recycling symbol on the envelope but if there isn't you can always rip the window off the envelope so that you can recycle the paper if you are unsure
And finally, some things you thought you could recycle but you really SHOULDN'T
- Some recycling bins from home do not accept glass - these would need to be taken to the recycling centre
- Coffee Pods
- Plastic shopping bags
- Bubble wrap
- Bagged materials
- Black plastic tubs, pots or trays
- Non-packaging plastic, e.g. storage boxes
- Plastic Straws
- Plastic children's toys
- Some types of wrapping paper - a simple rule to follow, if you can scrunch it into a ball and it stays in that shape, it's recyclable, if not, it isn't!
- Glass cookware