10 Things You Didn’t Know Could Be Recycled

If the bin or tip tends to be your first port of call when throwing out awkward items, you may want to hold fire. Truthfully, there are actually many items that we think are not recyclable that actually are – resulting in tonnes of unnecessary waste going to landfill when it could actually be re-used or recycled. 

In this article, we’ll take you through some surprising things you can recycle, including how to go about it. 

10 Things You Didn’t Know Could Be Recycled 

1. Coat Hangers

Composed of several different materials, such as plastic, metal and sometimes wood, all the components of coat hangers are perfectly recyclable. 

How do I recycle coat hangers? Simply break down the coat hangers into their component parts and ensure each type of material ends up in the correct place. A quick internet search may reveal specialist coat hanger recycling services, too. 

2. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs 

Commonplace in homes throughout the UK, these bulbs actually contain mercury. While not harmful during use, if a compact fluorescent light bulb is discarded incorrectly, it can actually be damaging to the environment. That’s why professional recycling is imperative.

How do I recycle fluorescent light bulbs? Just a quick call to your local authority should be enough to establish if there are any nearby recycling centres who will accept fluorescent light bulbs. Also, some independent recycling companies will also be able to take them off your hands. 

3. Carpet 

Redecorating and can’t wait to get rid of your shabby old carpet? Don’t just chuck it in landfill – tonnes of carpet is wasted this way every year. Carpet Recycling UK is a not-for-profit membership association whose aim is to promote the sustainable re-use and recycling of carpet across the country, and they have plenty of tips to help the average homeowner. 

How do I recycle carpet? Some suggestions include getting in touch with the company you originally purchased it from to see if they have a re-use scheme themselves. Other tips include upcycling it to line a pond, use as bedding for pets, and to contact your local authority to see if they have the capacity to recycle it. 

4. Electronics 

Computer monitors, mobile phones, TVs – most electronic equipment can actually be recycled. All it takes is a professional who knows how to deal with both hazardous and non-hazardous electrical equipment. 

How do I recycle electronics? Most reputable recycling companies should offer dedicated electronics recycling services to dispose of them correctly and safely. 

5. Toilets 

Who knew it? Your old bog can actually enjoy a new lease of life, along with any other porcelain products, such as tiles, sinks, and bathtubs. 

How do I recycle toilets? Before sending the whole lot to landfill, check with your local authority or local independent recycling company who will be able to advise on whether they can give your toilet and other bathroom features a second chance. 

6. CDs and DVDs 

With films and music moving onto online platforms, you may find yourself with lots of unused CDs and DVDs on your hands. The local charity shop is always a good bet, and you can also recycle them, too. 

How do I recycle CDs and DVDs? Contact your local recycling centre, either council-run or independent. It may take some ringing around to find a facility that will recycle them for you, but it’s worth finding. 

7. Running Shoes 

If it’s the end of the road for your trainers, don’t bin them. Instead pursue recycling options. 

How do I recycle running shoes? Several companies, such as Nike and the More Foundation, have recycling schemes specifically for running shoes, so make sure to get in touch. 

8. Aggregates 

Garden projects can leave you with old or excess aggregates, such as soil, sand, hardcoare and stone. If you’re scratching your head at what to do with all this extra aggregate material, you’ll be pleased to know it can be recycled. 

How do I recycle aggregates? Some independent recycling facilities, such as Brown Recycling in Stoke-on-Trent, will take collected aggregate waste to be re-used in construction and land restoration – giving it a second purpose without being dumped. 

9. Cigarettes 

Streets and bins are littered with cigarette butts, so much so that we’ve all become quite used to seeing them. However, surprisingly, there is an alternative. 

How do I recycle cigarette butts? Some companies will now take cigarette butts, splitting them into their component materials of paper, tobacco, plastic etc, and will recycle or re-use each material individually and responsibly. Call around to see if there’s a company near you who offers this service. 

10. Batteries 

Batteries are a big part of powering our modern life, but are full of hazardous materials, which means that simply binning them can be dangerous. Instead, recycling is the best option – depending on whether that particular type can be recycled. 

How do I recycle batteries? As mentioned above, not all batteries can be recycled. Check with your local authority to see which types will be accepted by your local recycling centre. It’s also worth checking with independent recycling companies to see if they can handle certain types of battery. 


Need a trusted, independent recycling centre to handle your waste? Look no further than Brown Recycling, the go-to waste management specialists for Stoke-on-Trent and beyond. We recycle an array of tricky items and materials including electronics, aggregates, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, and much more. See if we can recycle your materials by getting in touch with our friendly team.


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