Recycling or Disposal – What to Do with Household Goods

This article contains information from the Recycling Council of Ontario.

It is important that you dispose of household materials in a safe and environmentally-friendly way.

This article has information about how to dispose of books, cars, renovation materials, fabrics and clothes, furniture, hazardous waste and more.

Books - Hard and Soft Cover

If your books are suitable for reuse, contact local charities, community groups and second-hand bookstores, or try online exchanges, textbook clearinghouses (like TextbookExchange.ca) and buy-and-sell websites.

You can also promote literacy and education via the International Book Project.

If the books are in poor shape, remove any hard covers and put them in the garbage. Recycle the pages.

Cars

Recycle your old vehicle and receive a tax receipt from Car Heaven. Or contact the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association.

Construction Waste and Renovation Materials

Donate doors, windows, cabinets and other fixtures and fittings to a Habitat ReStore or a local salvaged building materials company (check online for locations near you).

For construction waste or fixtures that that are no longer reusable, call your local municipality or check online for local for construction waste recyclers.

Electronics, Peripherals and Media

Look up provincially audited e-waste drop off locations near you.

Consider donating your equipment for reuse to groups like Computers for Schools, Reboot Canada or a local community service agency.

Toner cartridges and ink can usually be dropped off at office supply stores.

Fabric, Textiles and Clothing

Items in good repair can be donated to organizations like Goodwill, the Salvation Army or the Canadian Diabetes Association for resale, or given to a local shelter.

If items are not suitable for donating, however, here are some other ideas:

  • Use rags as cleaning cloths.
  • Add fabrics and rags to compost (natural fibres only!) and only in small quantities.
  • Donate scraps and fabrics to local schools for arts & crafts projects.
  • Donate bedding & towels to local animal shelters.
  • Contact companies that buy such items, like the Canadian Textile Recycling Directory.

Furniture and Household Goods

Sell your items by hosting a yard or street sale, or by placing an ad in a newspaper or online (such as, Kijiji or Craigslist).

Give your items away through Freecycle.Org or a local social service agency or shelter.

Smoke detectors only last about 10 years but should be disposed of carefully as they contain radioactive Americium 241. Many manufacturers now offer a “take back” service and will accept old detectors for proper disposal.

Household Hazardous Waste

Don't put paint, batteries or other toxic materials in your garbage or recycling bin. Find an approved drop-off location through the Orange Drop program.

Don't flush unused or expired medication down the toilet or put them in the garbage. Contact your municipality to find out where you can take them.

Personal Care Items

Eye glasses, hearing aids and mobility/hospital equipment can all find second homes thanks to the good work by humanitarian organizations around the world. Ask your professional practitioner (optician, audiologist, etc.), local service clubs (like your local Lions Club), or faith groups for program details.

Plastic Bags

Try to reuse your plastic bags as much as possible. You may be able to drop off plastic bags at your local grocery store for recycling.

Contact your municipality to find out if they collect plastic bags in their recycling program.

For More Information

  • Your Local Municipality - Contact your municipality for more information about recycling and waste management in your area.
  • Orange Drop Program - This program helps residents safely dispose of household waste, such as fertilizers, chemicals, propane tanks and more.
  • Recycle Your Electronics - Find out where to bring electronics in your area.
Last updated: August 18, 2016 4001504