3 February 2020

Items you didn’t know could be recycled – Part 2

Read Time: 4 mins

Following on from our first post about items you didn’t know you could recycle, we have another list that may surprise you. How many of these did you already know about? How many do you recycle? If we pick up any of the below items in our man and van, skip hire or skip bag collections, we will always make sure that they are recycled appropriately.

Items you didn’t know could be recycled


If you’re a keen cyclist and are choosing to upgrade to a new bicycle soon, think about what you’re going to do with the old one. If it’s still in good condition, you can sell it on or donate it to a charity. If it’s not in a resellable condition, then you should recycle it. There are plenty of places including charity shops that will accept donations of old, broken bikes. These can be repaired, refurbished and reused. Have a look at the charity shops in your local area and see if you can donate your bike locally.

Cat food pouches

If you have a pet cat, you’ll know just how many pouches of food you can get through each week. On average, each cat could be having 2-3 pouches a day which adds up to 21 pouches a week. If you have more than one cat then you will obviously be getting through a lot more! If you’re throwing away all of these pouches once you are finished with them, then they will have a very negative impact on the environment. Luckily, there is a way to recycle them with Terracycle in partnership with cat food manufacturers Whiskas and James Wellbeloved. Once the pouches are empty, you simply need to wash them out and make sure there is no cat food remaining in them. Then you should collect them up until you’re ready to recycle them. Have a look at the Terracycle to see where your nearest collection point is.

Christmas trees

Although Christmas is well and truly over, it’s worth noting for next year that your Christmas trees can be recycled. We have written a whole blog post about how you can recycle your Christmas tree which is worth the read if you like to have a real tree.


Although many bottles of wine now have screw tops, you may find yourself with a cork every now and then and they still come with Champagne and Prosecco. If you’re into DIY or are a bit crafty, these can be reused for a number of different projects, or you can send them away to be recycled.


Cosmetic packaging

If you use a lot of makeup and cosmetics, you may be wondering what you can do with the empty packaging. Some companies such as Lush will recycle them for you if you take them back to the relevant shop. Some may also have a promotion where you can swap a certain number of empty packages for a brand new item. It is always worth asking when you go in store if they offer a recycling scheme. Alternatively, you can wash out the packaging and put them in with your normal household recycling. As long as the packaging is plastic and clean it can be recycled.

Engine Oil

Engine oil can be recycled at your local recycling bank. All you need to do is make sure that you store the oil in a sealed container and it doesn’t mix with any other substance. It is so important that you recycle your oil properly as it is very damaging to the environment and wildlife.

Ink cartridges

Many homes have printers which take ink cartridges. When you’ve run out of ink and toner, don’t just throw away the plastic cartridges – they can be recycled! There are quite a few places that collect them such as British Heart Foundation and various other charities.


One item that you can’t just put in with your normal household rubbish is a mattress. They’re big, they’re heavy and they can actually be recycled! An estimated 167,000 tonnes of mattresses are sent to UK landfills each year. Once at the recycling plant, the mattresses will be broken down into separate components and each one will be recycled. The metal springs, foam, wadding and fabric can all be used for different things.

Plant Pots

If you’re a keen gardener then you will probably get through quite a few plant pots. It is estimated that there are 500 million plant pots in circulation each year. Whether they’re broken or your plant has just outgrown it and needs repotting, there’s no need to throw them away. Although you can’t usually put them in with your usual household recycling, a few local authorities will collect non-black pots. You may also be able to take them to one of your local garden centres who will recycle them for you.

Running shoes/trainers

Running shoes get a lot of wear. Some serious runners can get through a pair at a rate of every two to three months. If they are coming to the end of their life and you need to buy a new pair, don’t just throw them away. Did you know that there are some companies that will break them down into separate components and reuse the materials. Some local sports shops will collect them for you and some may even offer a discount on a new pair if you donate your old pair to them.



When the time comes to get a new sofa, you might not be aware of what you should do with your old one. If the fire label is still attached and it is in good condition, then you may be able to donate it to a charity. The charity will then be able to resell it to raise money for their cause. You could also pass it onto someone in need or sell it yourself if you have the time. Alternatively, Clearabee offers a sofa removal and collection service. For a fixed price, we will send one of our teams to collect your old sofa. We make sure that we recycle as much as we can and are proud to say that >95% of the waste that we collect is diverted from landfill.


In 2006, end-of-life tyres were forbidden from UK landfills as a result of the 2006 EU Landfill Directive. If you get new tyres from a garage, they will usually dispose of your old ones for you. However, if you find yourself with some tyres hanging around then you will have to find a way of recycling them. There are designated tyre disposal outlets across the UK. If you are unsure of where your nearest one is, then you can find out via your local council.

How many of these did you know about? Will this change the way you recycle in the future?

Back to all articles

Related articles

Need help or got a question?

Start a live chat with a member of our helpful team