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10 Surprising Things You May Not Realise You Can Recycle

Over the last decade, we’ve all become a lot more used to recycling. It’s great news for the environment when done correctly, but there are still large amounts of waste going to landfill sites due to certain items not being accepted in household recycling bins.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t recycle, reuse or repurpose some of those items. If we want to make a difference, we’re going to need to go that extra mile to recycle as much as possible. To help you with that goal, this month we’ve found 10 surprising items that you might not realise you can recycle.

  • Coffee Machine Pods

Getting your daily cup of joe at home has been made a lot easier by the rise in the popularity of coffee machines using specialist pods. However, controversy beckoned when it was revealed the used pods went to landfills. Coffee giant Nescafé were stirred into action and now provide a ‘Podback’ scheme where you can arrange for kerbside collection or take empties back into stores.

recycling coffee pods

  • Wine Corks

You might imagine that wine corks can be put in your general recycling, but this isn’t the case. Instead, you should take your collection of corks to wine merchants such as Laithwaites and Majestic Wine where they’ll then be sent on to be given a second life at places such as the Eden Project.

wine corks recycling

  • Crisp Packets

While you can’t recycle your empty crisp packets at home, the sheer volume of crisps we consume means something had to be done to help. That’s why Walkers created public drop-off points across the UK. They accept any brand of foil crisp packet (not tubes) so you can give yours a rinse and drop them off to be recycled.

crisp packet recycling

  • Coffee Cups

A hot drink takeaway is now a familiar favourite in almost every town and city, but most disposable coffee cups have a special lining preventing them from being recycled in household waste. However, you can take paper cups to chains such as Costa, Caffe Nero and McDonald’s to be recycled.

coffee cups recycling

  • Cooking Oil

By now you’ll be aware of the issues that cooking oil can cause when poured down the drain, creating huge clogs and fatbergs, but there are solutions. Pour a small amount into your household food waste recycling once it’s cooled or, for larger amounts, organisations such as First Mile can collect your oil to repurpose it. Read more in our How to Dispose of Cooking Oil article.

cooking oil recycling

  • Mobile Phones

Nearly all of us have mobile phones these days and we’re constantly being sold the next model, so what should you do with your old phone? It can’t go into household recycling, but you could trade it in when you upgrade – there are lots of trade-in schemes at nearly all the big network stores to prevent the valuable materials in phones from being wasted.

mobile phone recycling

  • Electrical Items

Moving on from phones to your general electrical items in the home. Once they’re broken, you’re likely to just put them in the household waste bin, but they contain valuable material that, once separated, could be recycled. Look up your local Waste Recycling Centre to find out where you can take your unwanted WEEE waste like vacuums and irons.

iron recycling

  • Bicycles

Before you throw away your old bike, why not try donating it to a charity organisation that restores them? Organisations such as The Bike Project fix bikes in order to donate them to people who need them.

bicycle recycling

  • Trainers

If your old trainers have run their last race, don’t just throw them in the bin. Brands like Nike now provide a scheme where your trainers can be donated for a new lease of life or for recycling.

trainers recycling

  • Toothbrushes

Because we’re told to change our brushes or electric brush heads regularly, there is a lot of plastic going to landfill sites in the name of oral hygiene. However, Colgate now has a scheme across the UK where you can drop off your old brushes to be recycled into plastic pellets which are then used to make new items.


Here at Woodford Recycling, we aim to recycle as much of your waste as possible when you use our skip hire and waste management services. Take a look at our recycling services page for more details and contact our friendly, professional team today if you need a company committed to a zero-waste-to-landfill policy.

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