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Virginia Wells

I Can’t Let it Go Because I Don’t Want It Going To Landfill!

When we declutter, a common complaint is that you don’t want still useful stuff going straight to landfill. If you’re like many of my clients (and me) you’ll be keen to know that there are a lot of options for recycling lots of items. So, what are our options? Here are a few tips.

This post will be a little Canberra focused. In essence a lot of it should be available in your areas and will give you ideas on finding your local options.

Do what is realistic

I’d like to start by saying, I’d recommend finding the easiest option for you. You’ve done the hard bit, deciding to let it go. Don’t let this last step, of getting it out of your house, beat you! If you’re not a client of mine, you’ll need to do this bit yourself. Delivering all the recycling items to their various drop off points.

Be realistic though – sometimes there isn’t an option. Keeping it in your home, turns your home into the rubbish tip instead. So, sometimes, it’s best (at least for your mental health) to get it out and into the bin.

When it can be recycled, let’s go over some options.

Options to avoid going to landfill

Paints, oils, solvents, corrosive stuff, fire extinguishers and light bulbs

First, always check out your local rubbish tip. Your local resource management centre, will have many recycling avenues to partake in. At Canberra’s, they have a drop off spot for cardboards, tins, glass, and all paints, oils, solvents and other corrosive or poisonous items.

Fire extinguishers and light bulbs (fluorescents) can also be disposed of properly here. For household lightbulbs, you can drop these in at IKEA. There is a bin hidden within the last section of their shop for lightbulb recycling.

There is also a scheme called Paint Back which recycles paints.

TVs, monitors and computers

At our local tip, they have a spot to recycle computers, monitors and TVs. You can now also drop in IT equipment to Officeworks.

Printer cartridges

Printer cartridges should also get disposed of appropriately. You can do this at Officeworks or most Post Offices.

Soft plastics

Soft plastics is essentially any plastic bags, food bags like those on our fruit and veg, frozen foods, and confectionery plastics. All of this and more can all be recycled. Even the ‘green bags’ are made of soft plastics. Essentially if it scrunches up then you can drop them at most Coles and Woolworths shops.

Clothing and fabrics

H&M have a clothing recycling program. Just drop your bags of clothes into their stores. Some Salvo’s take certain too-far-gone clothing and materials to make rags. Check with your local to see if they do. If you have old towels, pet shelters and rescue groups often take them for the animals.

Pharmaceuticals or drugs

If you have a bunch of pharmaceuticals that are unused or out of date, these can go back to the chemist. Just don’t give them syringes. They will safely dispose of these chemicals on your behalf. Resource centres have a spot for syringes.


X-rays shouldn’t be going to landfill, so you can ask your local x-ray places if they will dispose of yours for you.


Batteries are another item that should be recycled properly. They can be dropped into Battery World, Aldi or IKEA. They all have bins inside their stores to drop these in at. Some bins are a little harder to find than others!

Other stuff

Clients of mine get the benefit of me dealing with all of these items on their behalf. I also have recycling streams for bottle top lids, loose craft items, fabrics, second hand pens and stationery, ‘dead’ pens, empty toothpaste tubes and old toothbrushes and more.

The ACT government is keen to divert waste from going to landfill so it has a comprehensive recycling website. If you’re looking to recycle something specific or not sure what to do with it, check out this site. Other states may have something similar.

Have I missed anything? Trying to find a solution? Get in touch. Also, if you have any ideas of where to recycle things, I’d love to hear from you so that I can recycle more.

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