Everyone who is even slightly aware of the problems facing our planet from the depletion of natural resources to plastic pollution is probably well used to the routine of recycling paper, card, plastic and glass. What if there were more items we could recycle? Is it worth the effort and what would the impact be? Here are 5 items you probably never considered recycling that can make a huge difference. 


Both single use and rechargeable batteries contain chemicals like mercury, cadmium and nickel. These chemicals will leach out of the batteries as they corrode, damaging the environment. Most batteries end up in landfill, so recycling yours will make a big difference. You can recycle batteries safely at council recycling sites and many national retailers. 


As long as your used foil is not covered in food waste, it can be placed in one of your council recycling bins. This includes sheet foil and foil takeaway containers as well as screw top wine lids. Aluminium never fully biodegrades, so any foil you send to landfill will be there forever. 

Plastic bags

Even if you carry a reusable shopping bag, it's impossible to avoid using plastic bags completely. Fresh food often comes in plastic bags, as do many other products. If you can't reuse them, recycling is a much better option than landfill. Nobody really knows how long plastic bags take to decompose, but some estimates say up 500 years. Many supermarkets offer plastic bag recycling, both in-store and as part of their delivery services. 

Light bulbs

Old incandescent light bulbs cannot, unfortunately be recycled, but newer energy efficient ones can. By recycling these, you are not only saving precious resources, but preventing your light bulbs sitting in landfill for what could be thousands of years. 

Ink cartridges

You might be surprised at the number of resources that are used in the production of a new ink cartridge, including oil, aluminium and plastic. Recycling your old cartridges means that these resources can be saved and they won't end up in landfill. You can recycle your ink cartridges by post or in many stores.