Getting Rid of Stuff Waste-Free in the UK

Clothes and Bric a Brac

Your local charity shop will accept donations of clothes, books, DVDs and other still usable items. It’s surprising what some shops will take – my local Barnardo’s accepted a pile of textbooks with writing in them and some old leads. So ask.

Freecycle is site where you can pass on all that unwanted stuff that the charity shop can’t accept. I’ve found takers for a rusty bike lock, bubble wrap and a crooked lamp. Or try Freegle.

Furniture and Large Items

Many local waste authorities have reuse shops where items that can still be used are sold rather than sent to landfill. Some will also collect. Otherwise, there are many charities that collect items like furniture and electrical goods, such as Sue RyderBritish Heart FoundationEmmausFurniture Donation Network, and the British Red Cross.

For businesses, CollectEco collect furniture, equipment and materials to donate to good causes.

The Furniture Re-Use Network allows you to search for local reuse centres.

Ebay turns your unwanted stuff into cash, or check out buy and sell groups on Facebook.


Olio  is an app allowing you to give away unwanted food and stuff.


Give and Make Up accepts postal donations of toiletries, children’s toys, and clothes for women’s refuges in London and Cardiff, and Bloody Good Period accepts postal donations of women’s toiletries to give to refugees and asylum seekers. There are similar projects all over the UK – check out refuges and homeless shelters near you.