How to recycle your rubbish

How to recycle your rubbish

We all know that feeling of relief when we've finally sorted out that pile of unwanted items we've been meaning to tackle for ages. But what to do with the things you want to get rid of? We could ship them off to our local charity shop, but not all items, such as electrical goods, are accepted. Our useful guide explains how you can make your clutter go further by recycling, selling on and donating the things you don't want.

Whether it's your broken-down fridge or vinyl records gathering dust in your attic, save yourself a trip to the tip with these smarter solutions- they could help you support your favourite charity, or just earn you a little extra cash.

CDs, DVDs and vinyls

Make cash: If your CD and DVD collection is well overdue a sort out, motivate yourself with the thought of making money from it! will offer you cash in exchange for between ten and 500 second-hand CDs, DVDs and games. They send you a box to pack them up in and postage is free.

If you no longer have the space to store all your LPs, see if a vinyl collector would like them. Ratrecords ( buys vinyl and collects nationwide, so contact them for a quote. At least you’ll know they’re going to a good home!

Furniture and white goods

Donate: Large, heavy items can be hard to sell and councils charge for collection. The British Heart Foundation collects furniture, white goods and some electrical items, such as old televisions, for free, to sell on in BHF shops. You can book your collection on 0808 250 0030 or visit

You can also list anything you’re willing to give away for free on

When you buy new electrical items or white goods, government regulations mean that retailers have to collect the old goods in-store or fund your council’s household waste recycling centres. So if you’re buying a new fridge for example, it’s worth asking the retailer to take the old one away.

Mobile phones and laptops

Make cash: Many phone shops offer a discount on a new model when you trade in your old phone, so always ask when you upgrade (you can do this at the end of your contract). Carphone Warehouse will give you money for an unwanted phone, even if you didn’t buy it from them. Visit your local store or get a valuation online at

Currys PC World offers money or gift cards for working and broken phones and will recycle old computers for free.

Donate: If you want to help a good cause, Water Aid turns mobile phones into money for third world countries.  If you arrange your phone donation to Water Aid through Fonebank you can split the money between a share for you and a share for Water Aid. Visit or call 0207 404 6440 for more info.

When it comes to computers, Dell will give you  money off your new purchase when you hand in your old model, as long as it works and is no more than five years old.

A word to the wise, though, make sure you take care of your data. Always make sure you've wiped all information from your computer and mobile before you give it away. Currys offer a data-wiping service for £30 or you can get programmes to do it yourself, such as Disk Wipe (free to download at

Clothes and specs

Make cash: Get rewarded when you donate or recycle your clothes. By taking a bag containing at least one item from Marks & Spencer into an Oxfam shop, you’ll receive £5 off a £35 spend in M&S.

Oxfam’s Tag Your Bag scheme also gives you Nectar points when your donations are re-sold. You get 100 points just for joining the scheme (fill in a form at your nearest Oxfam store), then get two Nectar points for every £1 of clothes donated.

Donate: Take worn and torn clothes, towels and bedding into H&M (none of it has to be bought from its stores) and they’ll give you a £5 voucher to redeem on a purchase of £30 or more. You’ll find the recycle boxes next
to the cash desk.

For old glasses, Vision Aid Overseas sends specs to children in developing countries. Many opticians and all Vision Express stores are happy to pass your old spectacles onto them for you.


Make cash: Selling on Amazon ( is a great way to get a good price for your old reads. It’s easily done too – you only need the ISBN number (on the back of the book) and Amazon will come up with the rest of the selling details for you.

If you like the idea of sharing books, join It’s a swap shop for bookworms, where you can exchange your last novel with the one you’re dying to read. It also uses a ratings system, like eBay, to help you decide who are the most reliable users to trade with.

Donate: Red Cross charity bookshops and local libraries may also take books off your hands, especially if they don’t already have the book you’re donating.

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