How to dispose of these common yet tricky household items

It’s much easier than you think!

Recycling and disposing of some of the trickier household items doesn’t have to be complicated.

To help you get started, here are some free and easy options for getting rid of unwanted items from around the home.

1. Batteries

When it comes to disposing of batteries, there is only one option, and that’s recycling. Batteries are made from non-renewable resources, such as lead and mercury, that can be harmful to both our health and the environment. Household batteries can be dropped off for recycling at a Community Recycling Centre, Chemical CleanOut event or your local ALDI store. Additionally, you can recycle old phone batteries through the Mobile Muster program.

2. Soft plastics

Among the most common of household recycling conundrums is ‘Which plastic can I recycle?’. In a nutshell, there are two types of plastic: rigid and soft. Recycle rigid plastics like soft drink bottles and meat trays in your yellow recycling bin. And for soft plastics, such as biscuit packets, cling film and plastic bags, collect these and drop them off for recycling at a REDcycle bin located at your nearest Coles or Woolworths.

Soft plastics can be recycled at your local Coles or Woolworths
(Credit: Getty)

3. Clothing

If you’ve got unwanted clothes that are still in good condition donate them to charity. As for the rest, retailers such as H&M and Zara are leading the way with their garment collection programs to repurpose clothing and textiles into fabrics or new products. For old sheets and towels, IKEA also offers one-off collection events to turn them into new beds for animals at the RSPCA.

4. Paint

Stored in every garage, shed or room under the house are the leftover reminders of that freshly painted room or DIY project. There are a couple of options for disposing of your unwanted paint: Drop it off at your local Community Recycling Centre year round or one of several Chemical CleanOut events across NSW. Both services accept up to 20 litres of paint without charging a fee.

You can recycle up to 20 kilos of unwanted paint for free
(Credit: Getty)

5. Household chemicals

The safest and most environmentally friendly way to dispose of household chemicals, such as pool chemicals, pesticides and motor fuels, is via a Chemical CleanOut event. This service accepts household quantities only. 

6. Electronic waste

Whether it’s old laptops, mobile phones or small appliances, almost all unwanted electronic equipment can be recycled. Instead of binning them, check your local council website for e-waste collection days or drop off points. OfficeWorks also has a range of recycling programs such as ‘Bring IT Back’ for computers and IT accessories; Cartridges 4 Planet Ark; Mobile Muster and TerraCycle for hard-to-recycle items, such as pens and coffee pods.

Check your local council website for e-waste collection days
(Credit: Getty)

7. Fluorescent lights

Fluorescent globes and tubes contain small amounts of mercury which can be reused. These can be disposed of correctly through a Community Recycling Centre or a Chemical CleanOut event. Alternatively, many local libraries also have Community Recycling stations which accept a range of small items, or you can visit Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You to find out where you can recycle fluorescent lights in your area.

Looking for more ways to recycle? Watch the video below!

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