How to responsibly dispose of or recycle a mattress, fridge, batteries and other household items

There’s a way to properly recycle almost everything in your home.

Whether you’ve just moved, you’re planning to move, or you’re simply cleaning out your home, you’re probably uncovering furniture and knick-knacks you no longer need. And now you’re wondering how and where you can get rid of your stuff.

The first thing to know is that just dumping it on the footpath outside your home isn’t an option – it’s actually illegal.

Decluttering responsibly can be a challenge, but it's possible with a bit of planning and sorting. Here’s how to dispose of those things responsibly.

‘Re-use’ benefits the community and the environment

Don’t despair if you don’t have a need for an item. If your items are still in working condition, give them a new life and try to find a new home for them first. This helps reduce waste to landfill and supports community reuse of resources.

Check with friends and family, sell them to make some extra cash or give them away. Try advertising through Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Trading Post, eBay, OzRecycle or freecycle. And don’t forget the good old garage sale.


This potential home for bedbugs and canvas for vandals is easy to get rid of. If you’re a City of Sydney resident, we pick up mattresses of any condition and material free – and ensembles too.

The steel springs become scrap metal, the foam can become carpet underlay, and the fabric and felt pads can be recycled into boxing bags.

The Soft Landing program also picks up and recycles mattresses for you. The service costs $50 and helps support people who need job opportunities but have trouble entering the labour market.

White goods and old furniture

If you’ve decided to upgrade, your old things could go to a new home. If your things are in good nick, check with friends and family or post the items online.

You can also contact your local op shop or The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre. IKEA recently started a buy-back scheme for its furniture in Tempe.

The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre.

If you have an old but functional fridge or TV, the NSW Government has an appliance replacement offer to help you upgrade to a more energy efficient model.

Failing this, we offer a free pick-up service for City of Sydney residents.

Old TVs, computers and other electronics

If your old electronics aren’t broken, apply the same logic as above and try to rehome. If the electronics are kaput, you can book a free pick-up if you're a City resident.

Batteries, mobile phones and light bulbs

These little bits are easy. Put them in a box and take them to a drop-off point at one of our customer service centres or libraries. Our contractor, MRI E-cycle Solutions, recovers valuable resources from 99% of light bulbs, 98% of mobile phones and 80% of batteries. You can also try Mobile Muster.

Drop off old batteries, mobile phones and light bulbs at a City of Sydney customer service centre or library.

Chemicals and cosmetics, medicines and vitamins

A quick scan of a well-used vanity cabinet will reveal old makeup, expired medicine and even old chemical products. These have no place in a household waste bin.

You can drop off out-of-date and leftover medicines at the local pharmacy, for the return unwanted medicines program. The pharmacy will arrange for the medicines to be disposed of safely in high-temperature incinerators.

Some make-up companies accept old products. For example, L’Oreal Australia has teamed up with TerraCycle on a beauty products recycling program. You can send them old cosmetics of any brand.

Old cosmetics can be recycled.

Household chemicals are best disposed of at Chemical CleanOut events run by the Environment Protection Authority and local councils. The same goes for other household problem wastes such as paints, car batteries and motor oils that may be hiding in the home. You can also drop them off at recycling centres.

Linens and towels

Textiles are difficult to recycle, so it’s best to reuse as much as you can. Use old sheets to wrap up furniture and breakable items when you move. You can also turn them into cleaning rags. Finally, vets and animal shelters sometimes accept old sheets and towels, so call up your local centre.

Posted . Last updated .

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