Spring Clean

March 25, 2021

It’s that time of year, with the promise of Spring on its way, that we get the urge to have a clear out, whether it’s in the house, shed or garage. Why do we do it? It’s an opportunity to make space for something new, perhaps both physically and psychologically and the change of season makes it a particularly good time.

When clearing things out consider whether the items are still in good condition; could they be useful to someone else? Could they be repaired; repurposed; donated, recycled or even sold? See below for our guidance and suggestions:


Not everything can be recycled and not everything that is recyclable can be recycled from home. Watch our video ‘A Brief Guide to Recycling’ to double-check your knowledge:

Recycling from home:

Putting the correct items in the recycling and taking the time to present them well, can make a big impact on the amount we recycle in Leicestershire. We know it can be confusing and so please follow our tip tips to help us make the most of our recycling:

  • Ensure it’s clean and dry – empty food and drink containers, give them a quick rinse and then leave to drain before recycling;
  • Put lids back on jars and bottles before recycling – this makes sure the lids get captured;
  •  Remember to recycle items from all around the house, including cleaning product bottles and toilet roll tubes from the bathroom which often get forgotten.

Clean recycling is key to improving the quality and quantity of material we recycle, let’s make every item count.

Food and drink residue

One of the main contaminants that comes through Leicestershire’s recycling stream, is packaging that still contains food and drink residue. This includes items like dirty margarine tubs, half-eaten pots of yogurt, and liquid left in drinks bottles. Once these items are in your recycling bin, the damage is done. They then run the risk of soiling other materials, like paper and card which cannot be cleaned.


Your home recycling bin isn’t the place for clothes and other textiles either. Whilst they can be reused, they’re not accepted as part of your kerbside recycling. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, they can become wrapped around the sorting facility equipment, causing extensive and costly damage. Secondly, during mixed recycling collections, textiles come into contact with all sorts of contamination, including unidentifiable liquids and broken glass, which is impossible to remove. This means that not only will they not be reused but they won’t be recycled either through this process.

Currently, North West Leicestershire, Melton and Hinckley & Bosworth councils all offer clothing/textiles collections at the kerbside. Please check with your District/Borough council for guidance on what textiles they accept and how to present them:

North West Leicestershire


Hinckley & Bosworth

If your local council doesn’t currently collect textiles, then look at the section further below on repair and reuse for further suggestions.

Miscellaneous items

A huge range of items that we don’t accept for recycling are still regularly put into Leicestershire recycling bins. These vary from large items that might damage the machinery, to smaller everyday items, but they all without doubt spoil the quality of our recycling.

As a county resident it is your responsibility to make sure that the right things are going in the right bins. If in doubt, check our list of items that are accepted as part of your kerbside recycling, you can view it here.

Batteries and small WEEE (electrical and electronic equipment)

Batteries and small electrical items are not accepted in your main recycling bin but some councils (North West Leicestershire; Melton and Blaby) do provide a separate collection from your home. Check their instructions for the WEEE collections. Alternatively, look at visiting your local Recycling and Household Waste Site or options for repair and reuse.

Still not sure if an item can be recycled? Take a look at Recycle Now’s A-Z of What to-do-with

Recycling and Household Waste Sites

Not all items can be recycled or thrown away at home, some may need to be taken to your local recycling and household waste site (RHWS) if other options are not available.

At this time of year the sites are very busy so please consider whether you really need to go or whether the visit can wait. With social distancing rules remaining in place we cannot accommodate the same number of customers on site that we had before and unfortunately cannot assist with unloading items either. Please note you’ll need to make a booking in advance of making a visit

The sites can accept a range of items, although it can vary slightly from site to site and so do check what your local site accepts before you travel there. Further information can be found here: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/search/site/recycling

Please also be aware that there is a charge to dispose of some types of non-household waste, and you will need to pay using a credit or debit card, contactless where possible. Cash or cheques will not be accepted.

Bulky collections

Alternatively, you can arrange a bulky collection for some larger items through your district council. They collect a wide range of items, including household and garden furniture; bicycles; mattresses; large kitchen appliances, such as cookers and fridge freezers and garden waste. They will also collect smaller items if bagged appropriately. Collections differ slightly and there is usually a charge for the service. Use the links below to check your local service:

Alternatively, the Recycle Now website has a handy tool to locate your nearest recycling point, including one of the many bring banks in your area.

Home Composting

If you’re venturing out into the garden for the first time this spring, it’s also worth remembering that recycling can also be carried out in the garden in the form of home composting. Home composting is a way of recycling your waste garden materials into a useful product that will improve the nutrition and structure of your soil to benefit the plants you grow.

If you haven’t yet given this a go, then we have put together a video ‘An introduction to composting at home’ which can be viewed on request by registering an interest .

If you’re already a keen home composter then you’ll know that spring is a good time to sort the compost bin and make use of the compost you’ve made. If you’re relatively new to composting and think your compost is ready, then check out our video ‘How to empty the compost bin’, which will take you through the process:


along with our video on how to use your compost which will give you plenty of ideas for making the most of the compost you’ve made:

Further information on home composting can be found on our website: www.lesswaste.org.uk/compost/home-composting/


Instead of throwing away an item that you no longer need, have you considered giving it a new lease of life? It’s a great way to save money and the perfect way to get creative and give the item a unique twist.

There are several ways to reuse items ranging from repurposing furniture, creating garden ornaments from old household bits and bobs or repairing or upcycling your old clothes.

And if you really don’t want an item, you could give it away. There are multiple platforms out there that can give your item a new lease of life. This includes giving it away via Freecycle, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. And with charity shops still being closed, some like British Heart Foundation, The Air Ambulance Service and Shelter are taking donations by sending out freepost labels so you can send your old item to them for free.


Perhaps you have an item in need of repair? There’s a huge satisfaction to be gained from making your own repairs. Check out the sites below to see what support they can offer: