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Recycling and Waste

Telephone: 0345 603 7625

Reusing products

24 March 2016

The following gives you information about some items you can reuse at home and items which can be reused by others.

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If you can’t find details of an item, look in our A–Z guide on waste. For more tips on reuse, visit Recycle for Essex.

Items you can reuse at home 

Carrier bags - Carrier bags are among the biggest contributors to landfill waste. This can be reduced by reusing plastic bags when you go shopping, or using them as bin liners.
Cards and paper - Before throwing away paper, make sure you have used both sides of the sheet. Envelopes can be used for rough notes and shopping lists and greetings cards can be reused to make gift tags.
Nappies and sanitary towels - Instead of using disposables, cloth nappies and reusable sanitary towels are kind to the environment and can save you money.
Plastic containers - Margarine and ice cream tubs can be reused as storage containers. In the garden, yoghurt pots and food trays can make flower pots and seed trays.

Items which can be reused by others 

You can find a home for unwanted household items in your local area by taking them to the recycling centres or using services such as Reuse Essex, Give or Take, FreecycleEcoBees and Freegle. These services are reuse community networks or websites where people can give or receive items free of charge.
The following is a list of some of the items which can be reused locally: 

Arts and crafts material - Almost all non-toxic materials can be donated to scrap store schemes across the county.


Books and magazines - After you have finished reading, you can donate books and magazines to your local charity shop, hospital or daycare centre, or use other suggestions in our A-Z guide on waste


Clothing and shoes - Unwanted clothes and shoes can be donated to your local charity shop. Charity shops tend to prefer 'as new' quality as they are looking to raise money for good causes.


Milk bottles - Glass milk bottles from the milkman are reused up to 24 times and are more environmentally friendly than the plastic ones from the supermarket.


Mobile phones - Mobile phones and their components can be reused. You can deposit unwanted handsets, batteries and accessories at your local recycling centre. Please remove SIM cards before depositing.


Toys - Toys relating to 'role play', such as garages, dolls' houses, dressing-up, etc. which are in working order may be suitable to donate to toy libraries.  This not only helps to save the environment by reducing landfill, it could also help with the learning and development of children across the county.