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Dear Recycling Bins: Our Recycling Advice Column

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Dear Recycling Bins,

I’m a parent with a problem. My little one is now no longer so little but my loft, spare room, and garage is chock full of baby and toddler gear. Little people do come with a lot of stuff! I want my spare room back and my other half keeps complaining about the state of the garage, so I need to get rid of some of the clutter. The thing is, I don’t want to throw some perfectly good things in the bin. What do I do with all my baby gear? Thank you for your question! Babies definitely do come with a lot of stuff and while there are probably some sentimental things you want to hold on to, here are some tips on what to do with the rest.

Sippy cups and food bowls

These are mostly made of easily recyclable plastics like PET or HDPE so they could go in your recycling bin. If they are still in good condition, you might consider donating them to a charity shop or passing them onto friends and family who may need them.

Baby bath

You can sell or donate it if it’s in good condition because there’s a huge market of cash-strapped new parents on the lookout for baby stuff. But if it’s not in great condition, it can go in your recycling bin if your local council accepts rigid plastics. You can check what is accepted in your area here.

Dummies

You can’t usually recycle these, and because they can harbour bacteria, they aren’t suitable for donating either, so sadly these will have to go in your rubbish bin.

Mattresses and cots

If they are in good condition, they can be sold or donated, but if the mattress has the remnants of too many ‘accidents’ on it, arrange a bulky waste collection or take it to a recycling centre.

Toys

Toys can be sold or donated to a charity shop, church, or playgroup if they are in good condition. If they aren’t in good condition, it may be possible to recycle them, but they will need to be taken to a recycling centre as most councils won’t accept them as part of their household recycling schemes.

Clothes

Clothing is sometimes accepted in kerbside recycling, but check the rules where you live. You can also drop unwanted items off at textile banks and recycling points. Many charities welcome donations of baby clothes, and did you know that some, like the British Heart Foundation, offer a free collection service which you can arrange via their website?

Books

You might think books can be recycled with cardboard and paper, but because they are bound with glue, they are not usually accepted for recycling. Your best bet it to sell or donate them to charity shops, libraries, or playgroups.

Baby car seats

Baby car seats are hard to recycle because they are made of mixed materials, usually rigid plastic, metal, and fabric. Obviously, they are made to withstand impact too which means that separating the different materials for recycling could prove very difficult. Check with your local council as they may be accepted at recycling centres.

Charity shops don’t tend to accept them as there’s no real way of checking their safety, and many people will be wary of buying these second-hand, as most manufacturers recommend that they should not be used for more than 6-10 years.

We hope this has shed some light on what you should do with your baby gear. Happy decluttering!