If you are renovating, updating, or just having a clean-out at home, there are many options to dispose of your unwanted household items and to keep them out of landfill.
Why recycle furniture and household items?
Furniture, fixtures and fittings, and other household items such as crockery, homewares and bric-a-brac, are made from a range of natural resources. Disposing of these items as rubbish is a waste of these materials, energy, time and effort used in their manufacture. Recycling your furniture and household items will:
- conserve raw materials
- reduce landfill
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
How to recycle furniture and household items
Charity shops, garage sales, toy libraries and online forums
The first step should be to determine whether items can have another life. Items in good condition can be handed down to family and friends, donated to charity shops, sold to second-hand furniture shops, antique stores or through online forums and garage sales.
Don't donate dirty, broken or unusable good to charity stores. If you wouldn’t give it to a friend, don’t give it to a charity. This applies for everything from a t-shirt to a mattress. Charities across Australia spend millions on processing items that they cannot sell.
The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO) ensures its members use all collected goods and proceeds exclusively for their welfare programs. Always check with your charity shop to confirm which items are accepted, and remember that leaving items outside a closed store or next to a collection bin is illegal dumping.
Wondering what to do with your child's old toys? There is a growing community of not-for-profit toy libraries which accept toys that are still in good working order. and check any other requirements before donating.
Resource recovery centres (transfer stations)
Resource recovery centres, also known as transfer stations or ‘tips’, are council run facilities where you can dispose of unwanted goods and furniture. Some resource centres have ‘tip shops’ that accept good quality household goods and furniture which they then sell at great prices. Contact your local council to find out whether furniture and other household items are accepted.
Ceramic and glass waste (non-packaging) and cutlery
Items such as cups, crockery, drinking glasses, Pyrex glass, ovenware, window glass and mirrors should be wrapped (if broken) and placed in your garbage bin. They cannot be recycled through kerbside recycling. Items in good condition can be donated to a charity shop, given to family and friends, or sold at a garage sale. Damaged or broken metal cutlery should be placed in your kerbside recycling bin.
Hard rubbish collections
If you've exhausted all other options, furniture that is broken and cannot be reused or recycled can be discarded through your local council’s hard rubbish collection. Check with your local council to confirm hard rubbish arrangements and find out what other recycling options are available in your area.
Purchase recycled furniture and household items
Remember that recycling only works if we also buy recycled goods. People dispose of household goods for many reasons, so you might pick up a real bargain at a charity shop or through an online forum.
Furniture recycling for businesses
Businesses should visit Planet Ark’s BusinessRecycling.com.au to find collection and pick up service options.
What happens to recycled furniture and household items?
Furniture and household items that don't find a new home through charity shops, or aren't resold, will be broken down into their recyclable materials such as glass, plastic, metal and paper and recycled accordingly.