Recycling and reusing household items
(taken and adapted from West Sussex County Council advice)
NOTE: HWRS = Household Waste Recycling Site. The nearest one for the HKD area is in Burgess Hill or in Lewes if you live in Ditchling or elsewhere in East Sussex.
Aerosol Cans (e.g. deodorant, hairspray and air freshener cans) can be recycled at home.
Aluminium foil and containers can be recycled at home if they are clean.
Apples can’t be put into the green garden waste bin (if you have one). You could take them to Ditchling Apple Day and get them turned into juice.
Appliances (e.g. toasters, microwaves, electric toothbrushes, lawn mowers, hairdryers, fridges, washing machines, power tools etc). Broken and unwanted electrical appliances can be recycled at your local HWRS. If they still work, you could offer them on Freegle or to some charities (e.g. British Heart Foundation).
Batteries can be recycled at supermarkets and high street shops that sell batteries and at the HWRS. If you use lots of batteries, why not look into using rechargeable batteries?
Bikes can be offered on Freegle Or take it to your local HWRS for recycling as scrap metal.
Biscuit Tins can be recycled at home. Plastic tubs and trays from biscuits and chocolates can be recycled at home too.
Blister Packs can be recycled at home.
Books can be offered to a charity shop or recycled in the special container at the HWRS. Or leave a book for someone to find and spread the words….Book Crossing is the act of releasing your books "into the wild" for a stranger to find, or via "controlled release" to another BookCrossing member, and tracking where they go via journal entries from around the world. Find out more at
Cans can be recycled at home if they are clean.
Cardboard can be recycled at home if it is clean and dry. If it’s dirty or wet, add it to your compost bin.
Cards can be recycled at home but take off any parts with glitter or ribbons or other embellishments. Or turn them into gift tags, postcards, bookmarks etc.
Carpets can be used to cover compost bins to speed up the composting process. And they can be laid over parts of your garden where you want to suppress weeds.Carpets in good condition can be offered on Freegle They can’t be recycled at the HWRS.
Cartons (e.g. fruit juice cartons - Tetrapaks) can be recycled at home if they are clean and dry.
CDs and DVDs can be donated to a charity shop, or taken to the special bin at the HWRS for recycling.
Clothes Charity shops will accept clothes and shoes in good condition for resale. If they aren’t in good condition, you can still take them to Humanity in Hassocks - they have a rag collector who pays them a small amount for all clothes/shoes. All other items not in good condition eg blankets, scraps of material etc can go to the HWRS.
Coat hangers Metal/wire coat hangers can be recycled in the metals containers at the HWRS. Plastic hangers can’t be recycled.
Crisp packets - can’t be recycled at home,
Computers - see below under Technology
Cookers can be offered on Freegle if in good condition. If not, can be recycled at the HWRS.
Cooking Oil Used cooking oil to be recycled at the HWRS. Take it in a plastic bottle and put it in the special container. The plastic bottle can then be recycled in the appropriate container.
Crockery (plates, mugs etc) can’t be recycled at home. Take them to the charity shop or to the soil and hardcore bin at the HWRS.
Curtains can be donated to a charity shop or offered on Freegle if they are in good condition. If not, take them to the textile bank at the HWRS.
Duvets can be offered to animal shelters.
Egg Boxes Cardboard egg boxes can be recycled at home. Try to avoid buying eggs that come in polystyrene or plastic boxes as these cannot be recycled.
Electrical and electronic equipment can be offered on Freegle As a last resort, can be recycled at the HWRS whether it’s as small as an electric toothbrush or as big as a fridge freezer.
Envelopes can be recycled at home. Padded envelopes, such as Jiffy Bags, cannot be recycled due to the plastic lining inside.
Food Most food can composted at home – see for advice. The Green Johanna is a hot composter which recycles all kinds of waste food – even cooked food, bones, meat and fish – into natural organic compost.
Fridges and Freezers Can be offered on Freegle or to some charities if in working order. If not, can be recycled at the HWRS.
Furniture may be collected free from your home by some charities (e.g. British Heart Foundation 01273 769080, Emmaus 01273 426 480, YMCA 01273 722370 (also collects large electrical items) or the Burgess Hill Shed e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel No: 01444 236743/ Mob: 07709 255631), or offered on if in good condition. If not, it can be taken to the HWRS.
Garden Waste can be composted, or taken to the HWRS for composting. Mid Sussex Council offers a green bin garden waste service, turning garden waste into compost which is then resold.. http://www.midsussex.gov.uk/waste-recycling/garden-waste-collection-service. Lewes Council offers a similar fortnightly service to residents in Ditchling.
Gas Bottles can be returned to the place where you bought them or to a local gas dealer. You can also take them to the HWRS.
Glass Only glass BOTTLES and JARS can be recycled in your recycling bin at home. Other glass items could be offered to a charity shop if they are in good condition.
Glasses (Spectacles) Many opticians will recycle them.
Hearing aids Please contact your local hospital to see if they accept old hearing aids. Or put them in the small appliances bin at the HWRS.
Ink cartridges Recycle via recycycle4charity.co.uk. Try refillable ink cartridges - here’s how to refill
Metal cans Food, drink, pet food cans can be recycled at home.
Mobile phones can be offered to charities REcycle4charity.co.uk or taken to the container for small appliances at the HWRS. Make sure you encrypt your data and then return to factory settings before you do - here’s how
Nappies can’t be recycled. Or think about cloth nappies – see http://www.goreal.org.uk/ and https://www.nct.org.uk/branches/west-sussex-coastal/cloth-nappy-library
Paint try offering on Freegle
Paper All paper and cardboard items can be put in your recycling bin at home if it is clean and dry. Shredded paper CANNOT go in the recycling bin.
Plastic bags Plastic bags CANNOT be put in your recycling bin at home. Try to avoid being given them, use fabric shopping bags (we have some for sale with the HKD logo) or bags for life, and re-use any plastic bags you are given. Charity shops always welcome donations of plastic bags.
Plastic bottles & containers can be recycled at home if they are clean and empty. This includes: all plastic bottles e.g. drinks, bathroom and detergent bottles; All plastic pots e.g. yoghurt, cream and cottage cheese pots; all plastic tubs e.g. ice cream, margarine, cosmetics, and laundry tubs; all plastic food trays e.g. food, meat, fruit, microwave trays and Easter egg packaging, and all plastic lids e.g. container & jar lids.
Plastic bottle lids and trigger pumps can’t be recycled at home but can be recycled elsewhere in Sussex for charity – see for example
Plastic coffee cups can be recycled in your recycling bin at home, but NOT Polystyrene/Styrofoam cups. Better still, why not buy a reusable coffee cup – some coffee shops (e.g. Pret a Manger) give a discount if you use one.
Polystyrene can’t be recycled so please try to avoid buying it wherever possible.
Saucepans can be recycled at charity shops or in the scrap metal bin at the HWRS.
Shoes in good condition can be given to a charity shop. Older shoes can go to Humanity in Hassocks for rag. If not, put them in the textile and shoes bin at the HWRS.
Shredded paper can’t be recycled at home. Use it for pet or animal bedding or compost it at home. Or take it to the paper and cardboard bin at the HWRS.
Stamps Many charities benefit from the donation of stamps – google ‘recycle stamps for charity’. Envelopes with stamps on can be recycled at home.
Televisions can be offered on Freegle. If they they no longer work, take them to the HWRS.
Tools Tools for Self Reliance collect and refurbish hand tools (except gardening tools), for free shipment to poorer countries. Or offer them on Freegle. As a last resort they can be recycled at the HWRS in the scrap metal container. Power tools can also be offered on Freegle if in good working order, or recycled at the HWRS in the containers for electrical appliances.
Toothpaste tubes can be re-used by a Sussex based charity – see
Toys can be offered to some charity shops (only the Child Help charity shop in Keymer Road, Hassocks takes children’s toys) or taken to the HWRS where they are hand sorted and re-used where possible. You can also use Freegle.
Video cassettes CANNOT be recycled and most charity shops no longer accept them.
Xmas trees Real Xmas trees can be taken to the container for green waste at the HWRS. In Hurstpierpoint, there is usually a collection at the door in return for a donation to local charities. Watch for the announcement in Hurst life or other local outlets.
More information on the West Sussex County Council website: http://www.recycleforwestsussex.org/recycling-guidance/
For Ditchling residents the nearest HWRS is in Lewes - The district council also operates a kerbside service - each participating household receives two boxes and two bags to collect paper, plastic bottles, cans, aluminium foil, small scrap metal items, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, textiles and batteries. From this year the council is introducing a single wheelie bin for all your paper, plastics, cans, cardboard and glass. Find out more at http://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/_resources/assets/inline/full/0/261819.pdf
Information on where to recycle or reuse or repair https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/20/electronic-recycling-e-waste-2017-gadgets
WEEEE charity offers a free parcel service for unwanted computers and electrical equipment http://weeecharity.co.uk/index.php/services/book-collection/residential-collection
Apple offers a similar system for its products and PCs - if the product qualifies you may get a gift card too - just enter the serial number at https://www.apple.com/uk/recycling/ This site also tells you how to delete your data before recycling.
Which offers more information on recycling a computer and wiping your hard drive at
Sussex Green Living has a long list of items which can be recycled locally for good causes, including bottle tops, toothpaste tubes, textiles, inks and CDs and DVDs. Find out more at
To avoid plastic packaging of veg and fruit why not consider a local veg box delivery? See our website directory or local providers. www.hkdtransition.org.uk/really-local-food-directory
Cat Fletcher Freegle’s UK – Director and Head of Media
• Brighton Waste House team
• Brighton & Hove Community & Voluntary sector Environment Rep
• Reuse Manager at Brighton and Hove City Council
• Brighton & Hove One Planet Living City-
Zero Waste & Sustainable Materials action plans
City Reuse Depot founder
This is her address to HKD AGM in 2016 on waste and what we can do:
Our AGM IN 2016 featured inspirational talks from Rachel Carruthers of the West Sussex Waste Prevention Team, David Treadwell of the Mid Sussex Wood Recycling Project and Cat Fletcher of the Brighton Waste House Team (among a number of roles).