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Ten Things You Never Knew You Could Recycle

By 12th August 2016Recycling

Nowadays more and more of us are making sure to recycle things such as our plastics, bottles and cans, but there’s still so much more that we could be doing!

The average UK household produces over a tonne of waste every year, and while a lot more of this is being recycled there are many things that people don’t even realise that they could be recycling.

So here are ten items which instead of throwing into one of our skips, you should think about recycling!

Energy Saving Light Bulbs

The high mercury content of energy saving light bulbs (also known as CFLs) means that they’re more difficult to safely dispose of than your normal light bulbs.

However, there are numerous programmes which allow you to recycle your low energy light bulbs when they burn out such as Recolight who have a number of collection points across the country.

You can also take your bulbs to your local Homebase store, where you can safely and conveniently drop them off.


There are millions of bikes either thrown away or stuck at the back of a shed in the UK.

So rather than letting them go to waste, why not send them off to a charity such as Re-Cycle, who collect, refurbish and donate bikes to help children in Africa travel to school.

Wine Corks

We know what you might be thinking, wine corks are hardly the root cause of global warming.

But when you consider that as a nation, we consume almost 14,000 bottles of wine a minute, all of those corks begin to add up!

There’s also some pretty cool stuff you can do with corks which you probably didn’t think of!


When your pair of sweaty trainers are reaching the end of their lifespan, it’s natural that you’d want to simply throw them in the nearest bin.

However, when you consider how many pairs a lot of us get through, perhaps it’s worth looking into recycling them?

The United Shoe Recycling Company are one such company who are happy to give your unloved shoes a new home.

Mobile Phones

While you’ve probably seen the TV adverts, not that many people actually recycle their mobiles.

According to MusicMagpie.co.uk, there are between 1-3 unused phones sitting in the average UK household, with the country as a whole producing 1.3 million tonnes of electronic waste each year, a large proportion of which is from phones.

The best thing is that you’ll usually even get a bit of money back on your old phone, even if it isn’t that much.


It feels sort of weird just throwing away a pair of glasses that you no longer need, but it isn’t immediately clear how best to recycle them.

Thankfully, there are organisations which can take your old glasses, and redistribute them to people in need across the world.

For example, Lions Clubs International collect, sort and distribute glasses to clinics and eye camps in communities across Africa, India and Eastern Europe.


When it comes time to change up your carpeting, you’re left with a lot of waste, which usually ends up going straight in the tip.

However, through companies such as the Carpet Recycling Group, you can either drop off your carpeting to be recycled or even better they can come and collect it from you.

Many carpet manufacturers themselves also have their own recycling programmes.


Considering how often tights can become unwearable due to runs and snags, they actually contribute quite a lot to our household waste.

However, there’s a whole host of ways to repurpose an old pair, from arts and crafts to cleaning and gardening as you can see in this blog post.


While there are clothing recycling banks around the country, one item of clothing you might not think to recycle is your old bras!

However, Oxfam run a great programme called Frip Ethique where they send bras (and other items of clothing) to Senegal where local woman sell them on to market traders, investing the profits into fighting poverty and helping the local economy.


The little tubes, tubs and other fiddly containers of cosmetics packaging usually don’t get recycled, but did you know that some companies such as MAC Cosmetics have programmes where they will give you a free lipstick of your choice when you return six of their packaging containers!