How To Reuse, Redistribute & Recycle Your Rubbish

Updated November 2019

With all the publicity about cutting down on plastic use, many people are now looking to go further to reduce throw away items and even work towards zero waste. We are all pretty adept at recycling our rubbish now but how many of you reuse or redistribute your rubbish?

The old saying “one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure” is so true and now there are so many easy ways to give away your rubbish.

Before you throw away all your household waste, have a clearout, or buy anything new,  have a read and take on board some of these ideas.

Specific sites like Freegle and Freecycle have been running a long time but now there are Marketplace and many local Free and For Sale groups on Facebook* where you can advertise things that you’d normally throw away and someone will come and collect it. I try to give away as much as possible as it not only cuts waste and landfill but someone else will benefit.

* just search Free, Buy & Sell or For Sale in (……. your town) in the Facebook search bar, join group then post as a Selling ad with 0 as the price.

Many items will be claimed by crafters, childminders, pre-schools, infant schools, brownie/scout groups, homeless shelters, pet refuge, other charities, etc. You can always contact these groups direct if you’d rather not have someone collect from your home.

Here are some things that are very popular giveaways:


Christmas & birthday cards –  collage and making gift tags

Gift bags/boxes – reuse next year or offer to schools or community groups

Fabric Scraps, wool and ribbons inc those from Christmas crackers – crafters and schools

Sweet wrappers – make an ecobrick or offer cellophane to crafters

Empty jars –for jam making, food storage, crafts and school fete games

Empty wine bottles – crafters will decoupage and make bistro candles

Used jiffy bags, small boxes and packing materials – Ebay sellers

Shoe boxes – for Christmas charity appeals and home storage

Heavy duty boxes and bubble wrap – people moving home


Old sleeping bags, duvets and pillows – for homeless people and pets

Old Towels, cushions and sheets – for pets and schools

Old, even ripped, clothes, sheets and textiles – most charity shops have a RAG BAG where they sell by weight for cash

Used stamps, baby wipe packs, milk bottle lids, plastic labels, spray triggers and coffee pods – some charities collect to exchange for cash via the TerraCycle scheme.

Old reading glasses – many opticians collect these to send abroad

Old bras – some charities collect to send to 3rd world countries or recycle if they are not in wearable condition

Saucepans – schools and nurseries can use them in their mud kitchens or outdoor music stage. Or why not put them in your garden with rocks in for frogs.

saucepans in a garden with water and frogs in
photo credit Carla Carlita

Bottle lids, kitchen roll inners, some food boxes – junk modelling for children

Empty punnets and ice cream tubs – for storage, collecting and junk modelling in schools


Newspapers and shredded paper – pets

Books – for rereading and book folding (hardback)

Comics – for reading in schools and decoupage

Sheet music, maps, atlases, football programmes, gig flyers – for parcel wrapping, feature wall collage and furniture decoupage

Old diaries, notebooks (even if pages are missing), envelopes (the prepaid sort in junk mail), postcards, stationery, any paper or card – for mark making in schools and pre-schools

Incomplete jigsaws – crafting and school art


Pallets and wood scraps – make planters, fences, outdoor bars, etc

Partly used paint and tester pots – decorating smaller items or feature walls

Old mirrors and tiles, even if broken – crafters

Old vinyl records – to make art, bowls, bags, clocks

Parts of candle – will be remelted to make new candles

Out of date bandages can be used by preschools and infant schools for role play doctors and vets.

Tumble dryer lint – can be used as an open fire lighter

Mismatched cups, saucers and plates – for vintage tea parties and to make candle cups


In fact, pretty much anything that you are throwing away is worth advertising (bar actual waste and rubbish). There are people out there with great imaginations who will make something fantastic out of your junk. I just love to see things get a new home and some reuse, especially when people show all the clever things they make from your rubbish.

Do you have any more ideas for repurposing your rubbish? If so please leave your suggestions below in the comments and I will add them to the feature.

You might also like to read my posts on other ways to reuse or redistribute your rubbish:

How to Survive a Car Boot Sale
Ecobricks – How to Reuse Waste Plastic 
How to Make Art and Upcycle your Music Memorabilia

or look at more in  Arts, Crafts, Upcycling & Eco Issues.


20 thoughts on “How To Reuse, Redistribute & Recycle Your Rubbish

  1. When we moved house I tried using Facebook groups to giveaway, not sell, giveaway some furniture which was all in fantastic condition. People took the mick! They wanted it delivered, 3 towns over free of charge and said they were coming to collect it and didn’t. Ugh. I ended up using Freecycle and made many people happy.
    I hadn’t thought of recycling most of the things you mentioned. Fab ideas! x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t thought of most of the recycle ideas on this list. I will have to try to incorporate more of them in our lives — except that saucepan/frog one! We have enough frogs wandering around our neighborhood — I run every time! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fabulous collection of ideas, many I wouldn’t have thought of. I love the tea cup candles, so pretty. I recently took in a load of old reading glasses to the opticians, and I never throw away a book of any kind, it’s either donated or re-used.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.