How To Dispose of Household Items

When it comes to household items it’s always best to reduce, reuse and recycle, but sometimes that’s just not possible. Some items can’t go in our regular recycling systems, and others need more specialised disposal methods, and it can be mighty confusing figuring it all out! Today I wanted to share a little guide on how to dispose of household items like these, so hopefully you find it helpful!

How to dispose of household items

Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs can’t be recycled, so they unfortunately need to go in the general waste bin. Fluorescent lights and compact fluoros are recyclable but as they contain mercury they can’t go straight into your recycling bin at home. Instead, they need to be dropped off at a recycling centre, and you can find your closest centre through the Recycling Near You website (Australia wide)


Polystyrene is unfortunately non-degradable and has a nasty habit of spreading itself out over vast distances, so it’s really best to avoid it wherever possible. If you do end up with polystyrene it does just need to be disposed of in your general waste bin, however if you have large amounts then there are some collection points in capital cities that will take it off your hands, so again, consult the Recycling Near You website!


Batteries definitely shouldn’t be thrown out with your general waste as the chemicals contained in them (zinc, mercury and cadmium, to name a few) can leach into the ground and water tables, causing contamination problems. It’s best to collect them up at home and then take them to a collection bin which you will find at ALDI supermarkets, as well as most Bunnings, Officeworks and Coles. Your local Council may have a drop-off location as well, so check their website (and if they don’t, you could always ask them to start one!).

Aerosol Cans

The best way to determine whether an aerosol can is recyclable is to attempt to stick a magnet to the side, if it sticks it can go straight in your recycling bin (with the lid off). If not, they can generally be recycled through your Council’s drop-off service, or hazardous waste service.

Expired Medicine

Avoid putting any expired medicine in the bin or down the sink as the chemicals can cause contamination of the soil and waterways and have huge impact on aquatic life. Luckily there is a Federally funded program that allows us to drop off any unwanted or expired medication to any pharmacy in Australia, where they are disposed of properly.

Computers & TVs

Older style TVs and computer monitors contain chemicals like mercury and lead so they can’t be easily disposed of, however some parts are recyclable. The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme was set up to deal with this problem and requires all industries that sell these products to also take responsibility for their disposal. Often this can be arranged when you purchase a new computer or TV, but otherwise you can find someone to take them off your hands here.

Other E-Waste

Other electronic waste like printers, CDs, DVDs, electronic appliances and the like that you no longer need (and can’t donate) can be recycled by making use of your Councils e-waste service. This varies across Council areas – where I live there is a 24 hour drop off site, whereas some Councils run specific e-waste drop-off days across the year. So check your local Council website for more info!

Printer Cartridges

Printer cartridges include valuable resources that can be recycled into new products quite easily, so they should definitely be recycled! This is another example of one that needs to be dropped off at a specialised location though, so the Planet Ark Recycling Near You website is once again your friend here (it’s a seriously helpful website!).

Mobile Phones

Old mobile phones are full of useful components like copper, gold, lithium and cobalt so recycling them rather than let them pile up in a drawer somewhere is definitely an excellent idea. Mobile Muster is the not-for-profit to give them to, and they have collection points in various locations including some Council buildings, the zoo, Australia Post centres, Officeworks, Salvation Army Stores and many other spots. You can find the closest drop-off point to you on their website, or even download a free postal label and send them in yourself!


Paint and paint thinner are full of chemicals so shouldn’t go in your normal waste and definitely shouldn’t go down the sink! In Victoria there is a program called Detox Your Home which collects paint in different municipalities across the year, otherwise there are lots of other hazardous waste collection services available across the country. Your Council and Planet Ark are your go-to resources here as well! If you’re in Victoria there are some permanent paint drop off locations, and you can find those on the Sustainability Victoria website.

Garden Chemicals, Car Oil & Varnishes

Much like paint, garden chemicals, oils and varnishes should never go down your sink and need to be collected as part of a hazardous waste service so they can be properly disposed of. For Victorians, the schedule of upcoming mobile Detox Your Home locations to dispose of your household chemicals can be found right here.

And that’s it! My guide on how to dispose of household items without causing problems for the environment. I hope you found it helpful!

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26 Comments on How To Dispose of Household Items

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 4, 2015 at 8:20 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks Nicole, glad to hear it was helpful!

  1. merilyn
    February 6, 2015 at 7:31 am (9 years ago)

    some very useful tips here! good on you liz!
    it’s just one of those things where we have to be responsible!
    we do most of them but sometimes get a bit slack!
    we have three bins ie green/organic, yellow/recycle, blue/landfill
    we hardly have any landfill … so we must be doing ok!
    when we visited mr m’s family in Austria they are amazingly aware and proactive! cheers m:)X

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm (9 years ago)

      Sounds like you’re doing very well Merilyn! I wish more Councils had organic waste bins, it seems to be a rarity unfortunately.

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm (9 years ago)

      Glad to hear it was helpful!

  2. Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life
    February 6, 2015 at 8:47 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks for the tips. I’m wanting my husband to clean out our garage and this answers the question of what to do with some of our unwanted items.

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm (9 years ago)

      Happy to help!

  3. Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad
    February 6, 2015 at 9:35 pm (9 years ago)

    There are some terrific info in here. I had no idea about some of these especially the battery thing. Definitely have to make more of a conscious effort about where I’m putting things. Thanks!
    Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad recently posted…These Golden Years

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 6, 2015 at 10:14 pm (9 years ago)

      No probs Vicki, so glad to hear it’s been helpful to people!

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 7, 2015 at 12:52 pm (9 years ago)

      Glad to hear it!

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 7, 2015 at 12:52 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks for sharing Kelly, so glad to hear people have found it useful!

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm (9 years ago)

      No probs Em, always happy to help share information!

  4. Annaleis
    February 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm (9 years ago)

    This is a great post. I have a stack of light globes in the cupboard that I keep forgetting to take to Perth with me. Might ring my local shire and see if they have a point for them. Be better if they did.
    Annaleis recently posted…How are you?

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 11, 2015 at 8:50 pm (9 years ago)

      Fingers crossed they do – or if they don’t that they start one soon!

  5. Bele @ BlahBlah
    February 10, 2015 at 9:40 pm (9 years ago)

    Awesome list. I’m going to share this baby on face crack. I didn’t realise Aldi and Bunnings recycle batteries – that’s great x
    Bele @ BlahBlah recently posted…Workshop tickets are available now

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      February 11, 2015 at 8:50 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks lady xx

  6. chris
    May 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm (9 years ago)

    Great information.

    Ironically, I also wrote an article about the proper disposal of your smoke detector. We recommend finding your local hazardous materials drop off center where you can also dispose of many of the articles you mentioned. Thank you!
    chris recently posted…Home Smoke Detector Disposal

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      June 7, 2015 at 8:52 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks for sharing Chris

  7. AntoineJoseph
    June 14, 2016 at 10:17 pm (8 years ago)

    its an nice share..

    Yes, I agree to your words.
    Additionally, major cities have various guidelines on how they want items to be disposed so as to make it easier for them to recycle and safely remove from the environment.
    And after reading this I can say that these are really the best tips everyone should read.
    Thank you so much for this share.
    Keep doing good work.
    God bless U!!

  8. AntoineJoseph
    August 17, 2016 at 4:14 pm (8 years ago)


    Your blog is really appreciable .

    I must say that Recycling has become a way of life for many people.

    While recycling many household items is simple – just place them in a recycle bin and take the bin out to the curb once a week – many other household products such as electronics, mercury-containing light bulbs and household chemicals require special care to dispose of them properly.

    Hiring a professional waste collection companies are also a good option .

    Thanks buddy!
    Thumbs Up to your blog.

    God Bless U!:)

  9. Anthony
    December 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm (7 years ago)


  10. Sushma Bramhacharya
    March 4, 2021 at 11:19 am (3 years ago)

    Hi Liz ! Thankyou for such a great tip. I really appreciate your thoughts. The information you have mentioned in this article is something that every people should know. When it comes to disposing the household items or any other items that people do not need any longer, most of them simply throw it away where ever they like. People are becoming irresponsible and simply destroying our planet. Even I was not aware of many method that I can follow to dispose item before reading your article. I think every body should read your post. And can you provide me some tips on disposing broken piece of glass or mirror? I would love to get more of your advice. Please keep posting more great tips. Once again I am really thankful toward you.


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