20 simple changes Rubbish and recycling
This article, 20 simple changes, was last updated on 19 March 2008 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Home & garden articles.
Recycle unwanted goods
Reusing can help you get extra life out of those difficult-to-recycle items in your home.
Why not donate unwanted goods to a charity shop? Or selling on eBay is a great way to recycle and raise extra money.
Electrical goods can be dangerous if they end up in landfill sites. Recycle or dispose of them properly to reduce the risk.
Under the Weee directive, retailers are obliged to safely dispose of consumers’ old electrical products when they make a new like-for-like purchase – ask in store for details or read disposal advice from the Environment Agency.
Some charity shops accept small electrical items, and working items can also be sold through online auctions or second hand electronics shops.
Dispose of hazardous rubbish safely
Household rubbish like medicines, paint and batteries contain potentially dangerous chemicals – so recycle or dispose of them carefully using the options below.
If you've a small amount of left, let it dry out or absorb it on newspaper or sawdust before disposing of it. Many local authority tips and community schemes like Community Repaint also accept old tins of paint.
Only a few local authorities collect batteries for recycling – check the availability of services on the Recycle Now website.
A new EU directive means retailers will have to provide boxes for disposing of old batteries – ask in store for details.
Disposing of medicines
If you have old, out-of-date medicines lying around the house you can return them in their original packaging to a doctor or pharmacy where they'll be able to dispose of them safely.
Tetra Pak recycling
Don't throw away Tetra Pak cartons – recycling them is easier than you may think.
Recycling facilities for Tetra Pak cartons are available in 80% of local authority areas, with nationwide availability of carton recycling facilities expected by the end of 2008.
If your council doesn't recycle them, Tetra Pak operates a postal recycling scheme for responsible disposal of cartons. Visit the Tetra Pak recycling website for more details on recycling options.