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Surprising Items You Didn't Know You Could Recycle

Coat hangers to be recycled

5 Items We Bet You Didn’t Know How To Recycle

We all know the importance of recycling to protect our planet and conserve valuable resources. While recycling paper, glass, and plastic bottles has become second nature, there are several other everyday items you might not have realised can be recycled.

In this article, we'll explore some unexpected recyclables and where you can recycle them to help reduce waste and make a positive impact on the environment.



1. Coat Hangers

Coat hangers are one of those items that tend to accumulate over time. Instead of throwing them away, if they still work you can take them back to charity shops for their use. Any broken hangers can be recycled.

To recycle, separate the hangers based on the materials they're made of, like hard plastic, wood, and metal. Almost all local recycling centers will accept metal hangers. For plastic hangers, check if your local recycling program accepts them, but many now do accept hard plastics. For any wooden hangers parts, these can be recycled with other wood items at the recycling centre.


2. Soft Plastics

Soft plastics, like plastic bags, cling wrap, and even crisp packets, are some of the most problematic items for our environment. You can however recycle some of them at certain locations.

Many large supermarkets have collection points where you can drop off your used plastic bags and some other soft plastics for recycling. Look out for the recycling logo with the phrase ‘Recycle at large supermarkets’. These plastics are usually processed and turned into new products, like park benches and playground equipment. Next time you visit your local supermarket, don't forget to bring your soft plastics along.


3. CDs and DVDs

With the rise of digital media, physical CDs and DVDs have become less common. If you have a collection gathering dust, there's no need to throw them away. Several online platforms, like Ziffit, Zapper, or musicMagpie, allow you to sell your unwanted discs.

You can also check with your local recycling centre to see if they accept CDs and DVDs for recycling. Some facilities have the capability to recycle the plastic cases, while others may recycle the discs themselves but you’ll have to check at your local facility.

 CDs to be recycled


4. Blister Packets

Blister packets - the plastic and foil medicine packets - can be recycled too. Superdrug stores in the UK launched a recycling initiative with terracycle for old medicine packets. These can be dropped off at local stores. If you have any empty beauty products, take them with you as these can be recycled there too.

While you’re thinking of beauty, why not try switching to eco-friendly beauty products with less packaging.


5. Trainers

When your old trainers have seen better days, you don’t have to put them in the bin, you can recycle them! Companies like Nike and Adidas offer take-back schemes that aim to recycle old trainers to create new products or donate them to those in need.

Some shoe banks and charity organisations accept used trainers but make sure to check before giving them shoes they don’t need. If you can donate, make sure to tie the laces together, that way the shoes stay together.

The most sustainable option is to buy an eco-friendly shoe in the first place. Brands like Allbirds who make trainers from regenerative wool, or Etheletic who only use ethically sourced materials, are good options.


Recycling goes beyond the usual paper and plastic items. By exploring recycling options for unexpected items like coat hangers, soft plastics, CDs, blister packets, and trainers, you can contribute to a cleaner environment and a more sustainable future.

As recycling practices continue to evolve, it's essential to stay informed about the options available in your area. Always check with your local recycling centres, supermarkets, and manufacturers for any specific recycling programs they may offer.

Let’s recycle smart.


Did you like this article? You may also be interested in How to recycle your fridge freezer, and 8 recycling tips you need to know


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