Whether you’ve found the Zero Waste movement, the Konmari method or have just had a spring clear out, you probably have boxes upon boxes full of old stuff that you don’t need, use or want anymore. It can be intimidating and time consuming to find companies, shops or friend who can take your unwanted items.
To make everything a bit simpler, and to stop you giving up and throwing it in the trash to end up in landfill, I’m sharing my current list of places (in the UK) to let go of your usable items.
Music Magpie. CD’s, DVD’s, Laptops and other tech devices can all be sold online through music magpie. Simply enter in the details or scan the barcodes, send them the items and receive cash in exchange. You can also donate the sum to charity if you’re feeling extra philanthropic.
Smalls for all. Most charities won’t take bras but Smalls for All is an exception. Send your new or gently worn bra’s to their Scotland based HQ and they’ll take them to number of charities who distribute them to women who need them in developing countries.
Apple or your phone network. Apple and most phone networks, like O2, offer recycling schemes for your old devices. Most offer money off a new model or simply just the cash.
‘Bring back’ schemes. As the name suggests, bring back your old packaging to the store to be reused or recycled. Lush is the most well-known for this, (bring back 5 black pots and get a free face mask) but companies like MAC, Origins and Aveda also offer a similar service.
Local pharmacy. Medication is one of the most importing things to dispose of responsibly. Scavenger animals can ingest the mediation if it thrown in the trash and flushing pills down the loo can have disastrous effects on aquatic life. The best way to dispose of any medication (everything from prescriptions, over-the-counter pills, supplements and vitamins) is to take them to your local pharmacist.
Give and makeup. Lightly used makeup (without applicators, so no mascara or lip gloss) and toiletries can be donate to Give and Makeup who gives them to women in the UK and abroad who need them. Only used a blush a few times before realising the colour doesn’t suit for complexion or that the eyeshadows are too chalky for you? That is the level of usage they are looking for, so your half empty, out-of-date foundation isn’t going to cut it.
Local facebook groups. Ideal for all those strange odds and ends you wouldn’t be able to sell or donate. Whether it’s a box of cable ties or old shoe boxes, there’s probably someone in your local community who could make use of them. Excellent for heavily used items such as furniture or children’s toys.
Charity shops. This might seem obvious but it’s always worth mentioning. Hopefully, you are shopping at your local charity shop, but if not I’d recommended having a look around at what they sell and noting if there is any items they specifically take that other do not. For example, in my town the Oxfam shop takes sewing and art materials, which none of the others will accept.
Make sure that all items are in good, resalable condition and are cleaned before donating.
Textiles recycling bins. These are normally with the bottle banks in supermarket car parks. These are perfect for clothes which are not good enough quality to go charity shops. Also fabric scraps can go here.
Primary Schools, pre-schools or children’s groups. Children’s toys, fancy dress costumes and art supplies are always needed by organisations for young children.
Homeless shelters and charities. Most supermarkets have collection bins for local homeless shelters and foodbanks, which are perfect for disposing of unused in-date non-perishable food and unopened, unused toiletries. I like to grab a couple of packs of sanitary towels with my food shop to donate as they are often in high demand but rarely donated.
Selected supermarket. Look for those ‘recycle your plastic bags’ bins near the entrance or in the carpark. These bins will accept more than just plastic carrier bags; they also will take plastic bread bags, cereal bags, loo roll wrappers, 6 pack can wrappers, freezer bags, thin produce bags and magazine wrappers. Often supermarkets will have battery and ink cartridge recycling facilities.
Doctor’s surgery/dentist’s office. Old magazines for the waiting rooms. Plastic toys for children to play with whilst waiting.
If you have altnernative places to suggest, leave them in the comments and we can all learn from each other.