Sustainable options for unwanted items

4 sustainable ways to dispose of unwanted items

Most of the collected materials through our clean up collections is sent to landfill, so please consider selling, donating or giving away good quality items. It is also illegal to put items out on the footpath without booking a collection.

Don’t forget the '5 Rs' to reduce waste in the first place: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose then Recycle. Here is how to give items a second chance, save them from landfill and even make some money. And visit our 'A to Z of recycling' guide to find out how to responsibly recycle, rehome or dispose of household items.

1. Repair it

Check if a simple repair can extend an item's life, which saves resources and reduces the need for new purchases. Repairing an item will allow you to keep it, sell it for extra cash, re-home or donate it.

As a first step, check the product warranty to see if it covers repairs.

If you would like to try fixing an item yourself, you’ll find plenty of how-to guides and tutorials on Google and YouTube and on websites like iFixIt and The Social Outfit. If you need tools, borrow from a friend or the Sydney Library of Thingstake your item to the Sydney North Repair Café that runs twice a month in Lane Cove, the Willoughby Mens' Shed in Northbridge or North Sydney's Fix It Hub.

If you don’t have the time or interest in a DIY project, take items to someone who can fix it instead such as your local tailor, shoe cobbler, phone repairer or furniture upholstery shop. Repair organisations in Sydney include The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre, Cycle Re-cycle Club and Sew Make Create.

2. Sell or post it online for free

If you no longer need the item, you can make some extra money by selling it online. List your item as free and it is likely to get snatched up quickly.

Use online marketplaces, like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, eBay or Depop. Search Facebook for Buy Swap Sell or Street Bounty groups in your area. Freecycle is great for giving things away.

Here are a few tips to sell your things online:

  • Set a reasonable price.
  • Use multiple photos.
  • Share the item's story.
  • Provide dimensions for larger items.
  • Be honest about its condition.
  • Respond quickly to enquiries.
  • Update the listing status.
  • Prioritise safety, avoid giving your contact details or bank account details.

3. Pass it on

Offer items to your friends, family, colleagues, and school contacts, or donate to a charity or a reuse centre, such as your local OpShop, Salvos, Vinnies, Mummies Paying it Forward (kids items), Dress for Success (professional clothes), Lifeline book depot (good quality books), Revolve RECYCLING (bicycles), The Reconnect Project (mobile devices and laptops), Reverse Garbage or the Bower Reuse and repair centre.

If donating items:

  • Ensure items are in good condition.
  • Confirm the charity's need for the items.
  • Don’t leave items outside the charity shops.

4. Recycle responsibly

If rehoming or reselling isn't possible, recycle as your last resort. Check to see what we accept at the Community Recycling Centre in Artarmon, where you can drop off items for recycling. Or see if your items are accepted in our RecycleSmart doorstep recycling service and we'll collect them for you.

You can book one free pick-up for your larger bulky items or use one of the three free scheduled clean-ups per year. Your bulky waste collection is for large unwanted household items. These items go straight to landfill, so it should be a last resort disposal option. For more information, visit our Clean-up collections webpage. Remember it’s illegal to put items on the street without a booking.

Note: The websites listed in this article that are third party websites, are not affiliated with Council, and should be carefully considered at your own risk.