Many of us know what to do when it comes to recycling and sorting through plastic and paper items from our trash. But there are several things around our homes that we may not know are recyclable.

Some of these things can go out to the curb with most of our recycled items, but some may take a little more effort. Millions of tons of trash end up in landfills every year. Canada has in fact a very low recycling rate. But we believe that can change! It’s worth knowing what other items can be recycled around your house. Here’s a list of some of the things you can recycle and how to go about it.


You can’t just throw your old electronics in with your usual recycling. You’ll have to bring your old power strips, laptops, and TVs to a recycling centre that’s able to deal with electronic items. You’ll have to do a bit of research but most cities have recycling facilities that can handle these types of items. Some electronics stores may even run recycling programs for their customers. It may seem tempting to just toss these old items in the trash, but some of these appliances may contain heavy metals and chemicals that can harm the environment.


Printer paper, newspapers, junk mail and periodicals can go into your paper recycling bin, but recycling books can be a bit more challenging. If some of your old books are in good condition it’s probably best to donate them rather than recycle them. You can take those books off your overcrowded shelves and donate them to used bookstores, libraries, schools and several other charities. But if you have boxes of beat-up old paperbacks, find out about your local recycling rules to learn about the best way to dispose of your old books. The adhesive bindings on some books aren’t considered recyclable, so they may have to be removed before donation. Some communities accept books with regular paper recycling, but there may be specific drop-off locations near your house.

Running Shoes

Normally when our athletic footwear is worn out we throw them in the trash. But if you’ve got a new pair and your old ones aren’t too worn out, you should donate them. If they’re to the point where they can no longer be worn, they should be recycled. Some shoe companies accept shoes for recycling and some will even let you mail them into them.

Ink Cartridges

Inside many printer cartridges are some chemicals that are toxic and shouldn’t go into your regular trash bin. But some office supply companies will accept them and send them off to be properly recycled. Find out if any offer some sort of reward program for turning in used print cartridges for a discount towards future purchases.

Aerosol Cans

It’s okay for empty aerosol cans to be combined with your metal cans to be recycled. But if there are any chemicals left inside them they’re identified as toxic waste and require special handling. Contact your local recycler about what options are available for proper disposal, or simply make sure you use up the contents before recycling the cans on your own.

Holiday Decorations

There are lots to clean up after all of the presents have been opened and the treats have been consumed. You’ve got another string of holiday lights that have burned out. Packing peanuts scattered about the house from all of the gifts that have been shipped to your home. With a bit of research, you’ll find that the above items are recyclable! Some home improvement shops will take old holiday lights, and some shipping companies will accept styrofoam packing peanuts for reuse.


Single-use and rechargeable batteries can both be recycled. Check your local recycling regulations to find out about battery drop-off locations like recycling companies, post offices or libraries. (In some provinces of Canada it’s illegal to throw batteries in the trash because they contain toxic material) There are several places you can drop them off and some programs where you can mail them into centres for proper recycling. You must review your local government’s website for instructions on how to properly recycle your dead batteries.

CDs, DVDs and VHS Tapes

Outdated media items can be recycled just like your other old electronics. But if your CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes are in good condition you may want to donate them to your local library or a secondhand shop. If your media is scratched or damaged contact a recycling company that handles tech trash. Regarding old VHS tapes, you can pull out the actual tape because if it’s melted down it can release harmful dioxins into the environment. But the plastic cases can be tossed in with your regular plastic recycling items.

Plastic Bags

Even though many shops have stopped using plastic bags there are still some places where they can be found. If you have an abundance of plastic bags around your house you can find ways to reuse them. You can utilise them as bin liners in the small trash cans around your house. (Perfect for the bathroom!) When it’s time to dispose of them, see if there are any shops or grocery stores in your area that have a recycling program for plastic bags.

Bedding and Clothes

You can reuse your old bedsheets by cutting them up and using them as cleaning rags. They’re washable so you can use them over and over. Donate your old or unwanted clothing to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. There are also several used or vintage clothing stores that will take your old clothes. Most of them will be able to tell you what can be utilised and what needs to go to the recycler.

Going green is crucial to our planet’s survival. We all need to do our part for our future. You can start today, right in your home to decrease your carbon footprint and help your community. If you have any questions about what and how to recycle items in your home, reach out to the friendly, professional staff here at Manville Recycling.

Give us a call at 416-751-4732 or visit our contact page. We’ll be happy to chat with you about what you and your family can recycle in your home throughout the year.