It's a nightmare sorting through your empty cartons, dead batteries and worn-out clothes. The labels aren't always clear about what you can or can't recycle.
We've put together this useful guide for where to recycle or upcycle a wide range of goods across Tyne and Wear.
Where to Recycle in Newcastle and Gateshead
It is always worth trying to sell a bike on, even for parts before you consider dumping it.
If you want to give your bike a new life, then consider donating it to Recyke y'bike at their workshops in Newcastle or Durham. They will take your bike and assess what they can do with it. It will be repaired if possible, ready for a new rider, or it will be sent for recycling after it has been stripped down for parts.
You can also take your old bike to Brassworks Bicycle Co, based at Pedalling Squares Cafe, Swalwell. They offer repairs and also accept donations of old bikes which they can transform into beautiful retro bikes.
An easy way of recycling your old batteries is to take them with you when you next visit a supermarket. Just remember to put them somewhere easy to access because the battery recycling bins are often after you checkout.
There are lots of smaller shops and convenience stores that also offer battery recycling. To find the nearest place where you can recycle batteries, click here.
You can often recycle batteries at your local tip.
You can only recycle energy saving light bulbs. Old style incandescent bulbs cannot be recycled.
Some shops and supermarkets offer light bulb recycling. Otherwise you'll have to take them to your local recycling centre.
Laptops, Computers, Phones
Donate Digital is an initiative run by responsible IT recycling company called Sunderland-based Rebuyer with support from Northumbrian Water. They aim to tackle what is known as 'Digital Poverty' where people cannot afford to access a laptop or computer.
Com Comp are a community focused, earth-saving tech company that help provide IT services, while also collecting e-waste.
There is also a range of national charities where you can donate your second hand electronics. Take a look here.
If your printer has run dry, then there's a range of places where you can recycle your old cartridges.
Alternatively you can get cash for your printer parts at Empty Cartridge Recycling. Again they provide links to various charities where you can donate directly.
Co-Op have announced soft plastic recycling, which means you can take your used crisp packets and bread bags on your next visit.
Terracycle runs a scheme for recycling packaging waste such as crisp packets and you can drop off your waste locally. See the map below for your nearest place to recycle. NOTE: The Terracycle crisp packet recycling scheme has ended, but instead you'll be able to recycle crisp packets along with any other soft plastics at your local supermarket. Some councils are also trialling a soft plastic collection.
Plastic carrier bags, some plastic film, (recycle with larger carrier bags at store)
Most supermarkets will now have some form of plastic carrier bag recycling. Sometimes you can swap your worn out or broken reusable plastic bags for new ones in store. Otherwise there is usually a recycling point within the shop.
It is here that you can also recycle other packaging and soft plastics that are marked with "Recycle with bags at larger stores". This will include things like the plastic bags that your bread comes in. Always worth checking the label.
In Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland you have to put food waste in your household rubbish bin.
This will be changing though. As part of a government pledge to reduce food waste by 20% by 2025, food waste will have to be collected separately by councils.
Try composting your food scraps. If you have enough space, you can make your own compost bin with some pallets or scrap corrugated iron. Here's some more guidance when it comes to composting.
Paint (Part Full and Empty)
You could always save the dregs in your paint can for any touch up work you might need to do in the future. Or maybe you have an upcycling project that needs a bit of paint.
Otherwise, consider donating your half-full paint cans to the Community RePaint Network. You can use their website to find the nearest drop off point.
Sponsored by Dulux, Community RePaint will take the donated paint and give it to those in need including charities and local communities.
You can recycle empty paint tins at some local household recycling centres - check with your local authority.
There are a lot of great initiatives locally to find a new home for your furniture.
OrangeBox North East is a community interest company dedicated to collecting second-hand furniture and re-distributing it to people in need. It has two branches, one in Newcastle, the other in Northumberland. A great place to give your furniture new life and support those who are without furniture.
Foundations Furniture Project is another great option for supporting people who may be experiencing 'furniture poverty'. They offer free collections from most Gateshead addresses as well as some other areas of Tyne and Wear.
Here's some advice for recycling your old carpet from not-for-profit Carpet Recycling UK.
Parcels, Packaging, Newspapers
Whether it's old birthday wrapping paper, packaging from a parcel, bubblewrap or cardboard boxes, save them again for later. It is so handy to have a few boxes around just in case you need to send something in the post.
That said, we can often end up with too many old parcel boxes. There are a few options to deal with your mountain of cardboard.
At Green Heart Collective we make use of old parcels, cardboard and plastics to send out our orders. We are currently accepting donations of the Amazon cardboard envelopes as well as plastic clothes bags.
Some companies will encourage you to return their boxes and packaging to be re-used. Often the box will have some extra adhesive so that you can reseal and send. But check first, in some cases you might have to pay to return.
Animal shelters can often make use of cardboard and newspapers to use for bedding and keeping cages dry. Here are just a few across Tyne & Wear: Pawz for Thought, North Hylton, Happier Days for Strays, Sunderland, Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter. Check with your local charity or shelter first to find those in need.
Got a quilt that's gotten a bit too dirty? If you've already tried washing it or if it's falling apart, it still might have some use to a charity or an animal shelter.
But, if you've got some creative skills (and maybe a sewing machine) you could use your spare bedding materials to create something else.
The fabric could be cut up and used for pillows, the stuffing could make a bed for a pet.
It's okay if you've fallen out of love with some of your clothes. But it is crucial to find them new homes where possible.
Your first port of call is to repair and upcycle your garments where you can. Bored of that denim jacket? Try finding a back panel that you can sew on to liven things up.
Okay, if you're really fed up of a piece of clothing, then you should donate it. Start with family and friends. I've lost count of the amount of passed down clothes that I can still wear today!
If you're passing by on Gateshead High Street, then we'd love to help if you want to donate your preloved clothing - clean, in good condition from a smoke-free home, please! Check our opening hours.
There are also various websites where you can send clothes off in the post. Swish.plus sends you a free bag and then you can fill it, send it off and eventually earn rewards from it.
Sometimes we've loved our clothes to death, beyond repair! In this case, you should try recycling your clothes using one of the textile donation banks. Use this link to find your nearest one.
Often you can find textile banks at your high street fashion retailer. H&M offer clothes recycling. M&S also offer a 'Lets Swop' service, where your second hand clothes will either be sold via Oxfam, or recycled.
You can't donate used bras and underwear to charity shops, but there are charities that make use of them.
Against Breast Cancer runs a bra recycling scheme. Their 'bra banks' stops bras going to landfill. At the same time, your old bras get a new lease of life in countries such as Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
Nudea is a brand that sells bras and underwear and has partnered with Terracycle to provide customers with 20% off when they recycle their old bra. They detail the recycling process on their website, with bras being dismantled into textiles, metal and rigid plastic.
Another option is taking your bras to a Bravissimo store where they are either donated or recycled through a partnership with SOEX, with money being raised for Coppafeel for every kilogram of bras.
It's your call, but you might be able to pass on a pair of socks if you've got too many. If they're too worn in the heel, try darning them! And if they're really falling apart, here's 20 ways of reusing socks.
Ask your optician if you can recycle your old pair of glasses when it is time to get a new pair. Sometimes these are donated abroad, or reused in other ways.
Alternatively, there are some charity shops that take donations for your glasses.
Peep Eyewear is an online-only vintage glasses seller. They offer a discount on their products if you donate your old eyewear, as they will either recycle your specs or turn them into a groovy upcycled pair. Great option to keep an eye out for.
Tablet packs/blister packs
Think before you chuck out your finished pack of tablets. You can still recycle these at some Superdrug pharmacies. Please check with you local branch before you travel.
The Superdrug in Newcastle town centre still takes small amounts of blister packs.
There is also a drop off point for blister packs in Hexham, at Matthias Winter.
Used Corks and Candle Wax
Finished your candlelit supper and want to recycle everything you can? Again you could make the tip to Matthias Winter in Hexham. They pass on the used candle wax to Hexham Abbey who can reform them into new candles.
RecorkedUK also takes donations and also offers wholesale collection of corks.
Used corks can be recycled and upcycled into new cork products, such as cork yoga blocks, shoes, bags and more.
Regular coffee pods can be a pain to recycle. Try using Podback, which is a coffee pod recycling service.
They take your used pods and separate the used coffee grounds from their plastic/aluminium containers. These grounds are used to improve soil and for renewable energy. The plastic and aluminium are used for drinks cans or for garden furniture.
Consider switching to reusable coffee pods. Yep, that's right, you can now buy reusable coffee pods. They are made to fit into the branded coffee machine, but you can re-fill them with coffee grounds each time you make a fresh cup. There are lots out there. Which tested the leading brands, and found a lot of them to be expensive, hard to use and often still required some kind of disposable material.
Which cannot recommend any of the leading brands, sadly, but Alchemy Refillable Pods came out on top. The verdict was: "Easy to use, makes OK coffee and affordable."
We hope you found this guide useful. If you did, or if you have anything to add, then please do get in touch. And share with family, friends and anyone who might find this useful.
Is there something you're looking to recycle, upcycle or donate? Fire us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for free advice.