Things you might not know you can recycle

While we’re used to seeing kerbside and communal recycling bins for glass, paper, and plastic, there is still a lot of other materials which can be recycled both in these bins and elsewhere. Of course, here at Plastic Free Scotland we would always promote reusing items rather than just recycling them after one use. However, there are some products you might not know go in the recycling bin rather than the trash.

Here’s our top list of things you can recycle that might surprise you although it’s worth noting that different councils can have different recycling rules.

1. Contact lenses

Contact lens packaging

Until recently there was no way to recycle your contact lenses, but now thanks to a programme by Acuvue and TerraCycle it is possible. The new scheme allows you to recycle your lenses, blister packs and foil covers in over 2,700 locations across the UK. Click here at Acuvue and TerraCycle to find out more and search for your nearest recycle point.

2. Tinfoil

If we can recycle aluminium cans then we can also recycle aluminium foil. The only thing you need to remember is that the tinfoil needs to be clean and rolled into a ball. If you do all that then you can just put in your local recycling bin.

3. Batteries

Pile of assorted batteries

If you have a look in your local supermarket then you’ll probably spot a battery recycling point usually situated where you can purchase new batteries. If there’s not one near you then check your with your local council as they can also be collected in your own roadside recycling bin.

4. Fast Food

While reducing food waste is an important step in helping the environment, there is an option if you do have leftover fast food that isn’t going to be eaten by yourself or anyone else. You might think of your food caddy for fruit and vegetable peelings, but you can also put your leftover chips or pizza in it too.

5. Wine corks


If you enjoy a bottle of wine at the weekend then make sure you keep hold of the cork and send it to Recorked UK. The company resells the corks that people send in and donates a percentage of the profits to charity as well as supplying schools and charities with free corks for art projects. Definitely a better option that throwing them in the bin.

6. Shoes

You might think your shoes are a bit worn or maybe they just don’t fit anymore, but shoes can easily be recycled. If they are still in a good condition then you can take them to your local charity shop and if not they can be donated to a shoe bank or donation bin which can often by found at big supermarkets.

Let us know if there’s any other surprising items you recycle that we might not know about.

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