Recycling / Donating Options

This page in work in progress. I wanted to be able to have a resource available where my readers can go to find ways to recycle items that they can’t rehouse or to donate still useful items. I am just adding as options appear on my radar so the list may be short right now but it will expand as I go. If you have access to a good link you feel would be appropriate to add here please feel free to send it to me via my contact page.

Recycle / Donate

Building Supplies ~ If you have leftover building/renovation supplies, timber, nails, paint, carpet, tiles etc they can be donated to Habitat for Humanity. You could also try to sell these to a reclaimed building materials business.

Cars ~ UK only will scrap your car for free. In Australia the scrap companies will buy your car and collect it for free so this may not be your best option.

Cassette Tapes

“Here is a link to a recycling site in the UK which recycles not only old video cassette cases but also the tape.  They also do audio cassettes and CDs. You have to pay postage, but it makes me feel less guilty about throwing them away!  Maybe there are similar sites elsewhere too?” ~ Jane

CDs & DVDs ~

Coat Hangers from the dry-cleaner ~ Take them back to the dry-cleaner he will be more than happy to use them again. I have done this in the USA and in Australia so I am sure any dry-cleaner would be happy to save the money on buying new ones.

Computers ~

Craft Items ~ These would be gladly accepted at schools, daycare centres, children’s playgroups, retirement and aged care facilities and craft groups.

If you are an enthusiastic crafter, you probably make more things than you can find homes for. I donate my nature-themed crafts to the wildlife centre and they sell them in their gift shop.  A hospital gift shop may welcome donations of hand-made cards, jewelry or other small items. (Thanks Wendy B for this tip)

Those non-recyclable plastic lids and “bits and bobs”, bits of material after you’ve cut out what you want, easter egg foil, those ends of wool when you’ve sewn up your knitting or crochet, old magazines with pictures in them, egg cartons and other possible “making” oddments, are all welcomed at your local kindergarten or playcentre. (Thanks to Ann for this tip)

Broken Electrical appliances – I recently received a comment from a reader suggesting donating these items (minus the power cord) as roll play items to your local kindergarten / childcare centre etc. This is certainly worth investigating.

Furniture: Thrift stores such as St Vincent de Paul, The Salvation Army, Father O’Reily (Australia only), Lifeline (Australia only)

Greeting Cards – Cut the front of these and use a little plain cardboard to make new ones. I make my Christmas cards this way every year and some birthday cards too. Yes you are still using cardboard but you are saving the environment from all the other manufacturing processes like printing  etc.

Linen ~  can be donated to

  • animal shelters ~ Towels, sheets, pillows, duvets (doonas)
  • boarding kennels ~ Towels, sheets, pillows, duvets (doonas)
  • homeless shelters. ~ Towels, sheets, pillows, duvets (doonas)
  • Animal rescue organisations ~ Towels and pillow cases/shams
  • Garden weed mat ~ Sheets and duvet covers

Medications ~ Flashing old medication down the toilet or throwing them in the bin to go to landfill can have detrimental effects on the environment so you need to dispose of them responsibly. I

  • Australia ~ I believe, you can drop them off at any Chemist/Pharmacy.
  • USA ~ I found this site difficult to find information about the household hazardous waste program, but it you search for those words at your states site you should find what you are looking for.

Newspaper~ Cindy says that the animal shelter that she supports also go through lots and lots of newspaper, as they line the bottom of the cats’ and rabbits’ cages with it. So why not take any old newspapers to your local animal shelter.

Phone Books – Of course these can just go in your recycling bin but you can avoid that by opting out. In Australia phone 1800 008 292 to opt out of receiving phone books. This is an Australian 1800 number and won’t work anywhere else.

Stationary ~ These items can be donated to schools or any charity/non profit organisation that do what they can to keep their running cost down in order to maximize their funds for where they are really needed. Really there are almost and endless list of place that these can be donated to because every organisation uses stationary to some degree.

Toiletries ~ If you have toiletries you haven’t used up but have decided you don’t like donate them to homeless shelters. Those little hotel bottles that people can’t seem to resist taking with them would be greatly accepted by these shelters. But please in an effort to reduce the demand on over packaged hotel toiletries please resist the temptation to take them.

General Information

  • Recycle – Most local government departments have web sites where they have information on the disposal of recyclable items. they will usually list what plastics etc you can put in your curb side pickup bins and where you can find local recycling centres for other more toxic items like batteries, chemicals, florescent light globes etc.
  • Donate – Most household items such as clothes, furniture, electrical goods, trinkets, china, glass, jewelry, linen etc can be donated to charities like The Salvation Army, Goodwill, St Vincent de Paul or any kind of thrift shop of that sort. These need to be in reasonable working condition of course.
  • Some non-profit organizations post a Wish List on their website.  We automatically think of sheets and towels for the animal shelter, and toiletries for the women’s shelter,  but they might wish for office supplies, tools, or kitchen utensils for the staff room . (Thanks Wendy B for this tip)

Web Sites


Donation Town

Freecycle ~ Great for getting rid of those odd things that aren’t suitable for eBay or donating. Particularly good for items that no longer work properly. There are lots of handy people out there who love to have a go at fixing things.