A-Z of Recycling

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Please visit www.norfolk.gov.uk for what you can and can't take Norfolk's Main Recycling Centres.  For other ideas of how to avoid waste and what to do with your household items, please check the list below. 

A

Advent calendars - Take out the plastic insert and then recycle the cardboard.

Aerosols - empty aerosols can be recycled in your household recycle bin and at all Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centres.

Aluminium drink cans - Can be recycled in your household recycle bin and at all Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centres.

Aluminium foil - Cannot be recycled in your household recycle bin, but clean foil can be recycled separately at Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centres

Appliances - Please see Electrical and electronic equipment and appliances

Asbestos - Asbestos cannot be recycled, as it is a Hazardous waste. Click here for further details before disposing of asbestos.

Attic Clearance - Having an attic clearance? Consider selling, swapping or donating the item. You could also use your local online group or paper to find a good home for the item.

Autumn Leaves - Can be composted at home to make leaf mould (see compost pages). Some councils offer a garden waste collection scheme. Autumn leaves can also be taken to Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres

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B

Bags - See Plastic bags

Bathroom fittings and furniture - This is DIY waste and cannot be disposed of through your normal waste collection. If refitting a bathroom, why not hire a skip? Ask your tradesperson to dispose of the waste if you are having it done professionally, but check they have the necessary waste transport licenses.  You cannot ask the tradesperson to take the waste to a Main Recyling Centre for you. You can take one item (e.g. a bath is one item) per week to Norfolk County Council Recycling Centres free of charge, or larger amounts to the subsidised pay as you throw service at one of the eight Main Plus Recycling Centres at Caister, Dereham, Hempton, Ketteringham, King's Lynn, Mayton Wood, Mile Cross and Thetford.

Batteries - Can be taken to one of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres or to one of many battery boxes in retail stores. Try to use rechargeable batteries where possible.

Bedding - Reuse old duvet covers as dust sheets. Good quality bed linen may be accepted by your local charity shop or use your local clothes bank.  Some animal charities welcome discarded duvets.  Feathers from pillows may be composted, but would need plenty of other material mixed in for this to work.  Otherwise, you can place old duvets and pillows in your household waste bin or take them to your Main Recycling Centre for disposal in the waste to landfill container. 

Beds - See furniture

Bicycles - most bikes can be given a new lease of life after you have finished with them.  Look out for community reuse/repair groups in your area or try:  www.each.org.uk or  www.bicyclelinks.org.uk or www.keystonetrust.org.ukAlternatively, bicycles can be taken to your local main recycling centre.

Books - unwanted books may be accepted by your local charity shop, or any of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres, or to your local book bank. Don't forget to offer them to your friends and family first.

Bricks - Cleaned bricks can be reused in the garden to make a barbeque or to line paths. One 80 litre sack of DIY waste can be taken to Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centres free of charge each week, or larger amounts to the subsidised pay as you throw service at one of the eight Main Plus Recycling Centres at Caister, Dereham, Hempton, Ketteringham, King's Lynn, Mayton Wood, Mile Cross and Thetford. Also see DIY below.

Bubble wrap - see Packaging

Building materials/rubble - Many building materials can be reused around the home. You may also be able to find a new home for it through your local online forum or paper. You can also dispose of some DIY waste through Norfolk's Main Recycling Centres. See DIY below.

Business waste - waste from some businesses can used as a resource in another.  For further details on help with recycling in your business see 'Recycling at Work' on the left.  Some organisations collect materials from businesses that can be reused for art and craft projects, usually with children. The Norfolk based Mini-Scrapbox is a local charity that offers this service.

Bulky waste - your local district council may offer a collection service and items such as furniture can be reused or recycled at Norfolk's Main Recycling Centres.  Please visit http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/Environment/ for further details.  Alternative options include using local online forums to either sell or give away unwanted items, or contacting a local charity to see if they are interested in your item for reuse or sale.  A free service run by www.recycle.co.uk encourages members to list their items for charities to claim if they wish to - after 48 hours the listing becomes available to the general public if of no use to the charity partners. 

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C

Cans and tins - Can be recycled through all the council kerbside recycling schemes, at Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centres, and can banks in the county.

Car Batteries - Your old car battery can be taken to any of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres

Cardboard - Can be recycled through all council kerbside recycling schemes in Norfolk and at Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres

Cards - Reuse as gift tags or recycle them at W H Smith, Tesco and TK Maxx through the Woodland Trust, visit www.woodland-trust.org.uk

Carpets - You can reuse old carpets in the garden to insulate compost heaps or keep weeds down if you have an allotment. If in good condition consider selling your carpet. Place it on your local online forum or paper.

Carrier bags - Take a reusable bag shopping instead. If you do end up with carrier bags reuse them as bin liners. Many supermarkets also collect them to be recycled.

Cartridges (Ink Jet) - Many charities will collect these for recycling, eg. the East Anglian Childrens' Hospice www.each.org.uk/how-to-help/recycling or else take to your Main Recycling Centre.

Cartridges (Toner) - look for companies or charities that will accept toner cartridges for recycling, or take to your Main Recycling Centre. 

Cassette tapes (Audio) - If you cannot reuse them, unfortunately cassette tapes will need to be disposed of in your rubbish bin.

Clothes - Clothes that are wearable can be donated to charity shops, or put in clothing banks. Clothes in poor condition can be reused around the home as rags or stuffing materials, but can also go into any textile bank as they will be sent to be recycled by the collector.  Textile banks can be found in many locations including all six of Norwich Park and Ride sites. 

Compact Discs (CDs) - Consider selling or donating your old CDs to charity. They can also be reused as bird scarers in the garden.  Some companies will recycle them and/or pay you money for them and make new products out of them www.recyclingcds.com or www.musicmagpie.co.uk

Cooking Oil - If you do have any cooking oil from deep fat fryers, cooled oil can be placed in a sealed plastic bottle and taken to your local Main recycling centre.  Some local councils collect this at their Mini Recycling Centres.

Computers - The Norfolk based charity Recycle-PC offer a free collection service for unwanted computer equipment in the Norfolk area.  Unpaid volunteers work to ensure that all equipment is either reused to build working computers which are donated free of charge to local worthy causes, or sent for recycling.  Visit their website at www.recycle-pc.co.uk for more information and to arrange a collection.  There is also a Computers for Carers charity seeking computers with at least Windows Vista installed.  These are then refurbished and offered to carers for free.  Visit the website for further details at www.computers4carers.co.uk  Your computer can also be recycled through any of Norfolk County Council's  Main Recycling Centres.  Make sure you use a suitable programme to completely clear the hard disk of all personal data, before recycling your computer.

Crockery - Consider selling, or donating to charity. Offer it on your local Freecycle group. If you can't do this, you could use it to line the bottom of plant pots to help drainage. If the items are in good condition, you could take them to the Reuse Shops at the main recycling centres.  As a final option crockery would need to go in your rubbish bin.

Crutches and zimmer frames - Return to your local hospital physiotherapy department

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D

Decorations - Reuse them or make new ones from recycled materials.

Detergents - Use refill schemes offered by many manufacturers. The cardboard boxes and plastic bottles can be recycled in your household recycling bin.  Plastic boxes for wash tabs cannot be recycled, so reuse, refill or avoid.

DIY materials - When planning DIY projects, think about how you will dispose of the waste. Try and offer things for reuse wherever possible.  A limited amount (one item or one 80l sack a week) of DIY waste can be taken to Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres for free, or pay as you throw for larger amounts at one of the eight Main Plus Recycling Centres at Caister, Dereham, Ketteringham, King's Lynn, Mayton Wood, Mile Cross and Thetford.  For large projects contact a skip company or similar. 

Duvets - Local Animal shelters and similar operations may be glad of any bedding you could donate. Alternatively old duvets can be placed in your rubbish bin or taken to the Main Recycling Centres and placed in the waste to landfill container.

DVDs - can be reused via charity shops etc. or sold on www.musicmagpie.co.uk (see CDs above)

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E

E-cards - A great way to say a paper free 'Happy Christmas' or 'Happy Birthday'.

Egg boxes - can be put in your household recycling bin.  They are great to add to your compost heap to help circulate the air (tear them up first), or chit pototoes in. You can reuse plastic egg boxes as seedling trays.

Electrical and electronic equipment and appliances - If in good condition consider selling. You may also be able to find a new home for it through your local online forum or paper. Some electrical suppliers will take back old items when you arrange purchase of a new one. You can also take electrical goods to all of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres to be recycled or check if your local council offers a collection service.  Electrical items can be donated to some charity shops or furniture re-use organisations - many offer collection services (eg www.bhf.org.uk)

Envelopes - Check with your local council if the kerbside recycling scheme accepts envelopes. Some bring banks accept envelopes.  Envelopes have strong glues and film inserts that interfere with the paper making process.  Try shredding them before adding to your compost heap (you can sieve the plastic out later or tear it out beforehand).

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F

Fabric - If you cannot find a reuse for it, it can go to your local charity shop or your local textile bank.  These are located in many places including all six Park and Ride sites around Norwich, all Main Recycling Centres and numerous local banks.

Fertilisers - try to use these up rather than disposing of them.  If you have any residue to dispose of please see Hazardous Waste.  Avoid in the future and use home-made compost instead.

Fire extinguishers - these must be treated as Hazardous waste and not placed in your rubbish bin. Contact the manufacturer for advice or find a local fire extinguisher company online or in the yellow pages.  Some companies will recondition units or take them if you purchase a new unit from them.  Otherwise search for a waste collection company who are licensed to take hazardous waste.  The County Council may offer a yearly Household Hazardous Waste Amnesty in the future (usuallly Sep/Oct) when you are able to dispose of extinguishers for one weekend only at selected Main Recycling Centre.  However, Main Recycling Centres do not accept fire extinguishers at any other time. 

Fireworks - must be treated as explosives - unused fireworks must be stored safely until they are used (see manufacturers guidelines).  After use, they must first be dampened (soak in a bucket of water) and double wrapped before placing in your household rubbish bin. 

Fluorescent tubes - Fluorescent tubes are hazardous waste and should not go in your council waste collection. You can take them to be recycled separately at any of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres.

Food - Try to only buy what you need and compost vegetable scraps. Look for recipes to use up leftovers. Visit our Love Food Hate Waste link on the left to find out more.

Fridges - If in working order consider selling or finding a new home for your fridge through your local Freecycle group. Some retailers will take fridges back for you when you purchase a new one. You can take fridges to any of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres to be recycled. Or you can ask your district council to collect them for a small charge.

Furniture - Some good items may be accepted by your local charity shop and many can collect. Consider using your local online recycle group to find a new home for any unwanted items. There is also the Furniture Reuse Network who can make use of unwanted furniture - visit them at www.frn.org.uk. You can also take furniture to any of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres for reuse or disposal.

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G

Garden Waste - Compost at home to create a perfect recycling loop in your own back garden. Some councils offer an opt in garden waste collection scheme, and you can take garden waste to any of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres.

Gas bottles - Can be exchanged when you buy a new gas bottle. Empty gas bottles can also be accepted at all Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centres.

Glass bottles and jars - If you live in Norwich City you can put all glass bottles and jars in your green box. If you live elsewhere, find a reuse for them or take them to a glass bank at your supermarket or local recycling centre.

Glasses/spectacles - Some charities collect them for reuse in other countries - ask your supplier. 

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H

Hair - can be composted in your home composter.

Hazardous waste - these wastes are any solid or liquid material that may cause harm to people or the environment if not disposed of correctly.  Please visit www.norfolk.gov.uk for further details of what to do with hazardous household waste.  Most hazardous materials will have a 'hazard' symbol of some kind on the packaging.  Do not put hazardous materials into your rubbish bin.

Household cleaners and chemicals - try to use all the product up, but if you have any left over to dispose of please see Hazardous Waste.

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I

Inkjet cartridges - see Cartridges

IT equipment - see Computers

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J

Jars - Jars can be reused. If you are in to cooking, then use them for storing your home made jams and chutneys. You can also use them to store dried foods such as herbs and seeds. For the DIY enthusiast they can be reused for storing nails, nuts and bolts, for mixing paint or for cleaning paintbrushes. They can also be recycled at your nearest glass bring bank.

Jiffy bags - Save Jiffy bags and reuse them. Some Jiffy bags are made of paper with a paper stuffing, and can be composted at home.

Junk mail - Recycle using your kerbside collection (remember to remove any plastic wrappers). To remove your name from mailing lists and reduce the amount of junk mail coming through your door visit www.mpsonline.org.uk. Unaddressed mail such as flyers and circulars can be stopped by contacting Royal Mail.

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K

Kerbside collections - ask your local council about kerbside collections in your area. They can provide you with details of what you can recycle and when your collection day is.

Kitchen scraps - Uncooked fruit and veg, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags can all be composted at home. Some scraps can be fed to the birds, but the rest will need to go in your rubbish bin. Double wrap any food waste going in your rubbish bin to reduce any smells. Use you kerbside food caddy if your council provides one.

Kitchen cleaners - try to use up all the product.  If you have any to dispose of please see Hazardous Waste.

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L

Liquid food cartons - Take them to any of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres. Some councils also have bring banks for drinks cartons and many supermarkets are now doing the same.

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M

Magazines - Some dentist and doctors surgeries may take your old magazines, if not they can be recycled through your local kerbside collection scheme.

Mattresses - If in good condition consider finding a new home for it through your local Freecycle group. Mattresses can also be accepted at your nearest Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centre.

Medicines - Don't dispose of medicines through your rubbish bin or down the toilet. Return to a chemist for safe disposal

Metal - See Scrap metal

Mobile phones - Many charities and schools now collect old mobile phones for recycling to raise money and you can also take them to Main Recycling Centres.

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N

Napkins - Compost your paper towels and napkins.

Nappies - Nappies can't be recycled. Why not try washable nappies instead, which offer many benefits for your child and will save you money - approx £500 for your first child.

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O

Oil - Put engine oil in a secure container, and take to your nearest Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centre to recycle the contents in one of the oil banks.

Old clothes - Take them to a textiles bank or your local charity shop.

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P

Paint - Updated - from 1 April 2014 paint will not be accepted at any Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centres. Please do not put liquid paint in your household waste kerbside collection. If paint is completely dried out it can be accepted in your rubbish collection.  Metal cans may be recycled at Main Recycling Centres in the metals container; plastic cans will be accepted in the waste to landfill container.  Liquid paint will be accepted at Household Waste Amnesty days held annually at selected sites. Please check the website for forthcoming dates www.norfolk.gov.uk/hazardouswaste Your local district, borough or city council may offer a hazardous waste collction service, but there may be a charge for this. Please contact them for further information. 

Paper - Reuse paper where possible. Paper can be accepted in your household recycling bin.

Pesticides - try to use these up, but if you do have any for disposal you must not put them in your household waste bin as the contents will end up in a landfill not designed for such waste - see Hazardous waste.

Photocopiers (household only) - if working see if charities want them or through your local online forum or paper.  May also be taken to any Main Recycling Centre for recycling (please note, no office printers will be accepted as these are classed as commercial waste.)

Photographic chemicals - must be treated as Hazardous waste and not placed in your rubbish bin.

Plastic bags - Reuse next time you go shopping, or use as bin liners. Better still take a reusable cloth bag or bag for life to do your shopping and don't pick up plastic bags at all.  Most supermarkets offer plastic bag recycling so make use of this.

Plastic bottles - Recycle in your recycle bin at home.  You can reuse drinks bottles a few times beforehand. 

Plastic trays - these need to go in the rubbish bin as they can't be recycled.

Plastic wrappers or film - Plastic wrappers can be added to the plastic bag recycling points in your local supermarket http://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with or you can save them up and take to Polyprint at Rackheath, Norfolk www.polyprint.co.uk (polythene only).  The company will accept film on site, or you can post it to them.  For further details visit http://www.polyprint.co.uk/pages/recycling.php .

Plastics (rigid plastics) - A mixed rigid plastics recycling trial is currently in operation at Dereham and King's Lynn Main Recycling Centre Plus sites ONLY.  Rigid plastics accepted include food containers, bottles, toys, empty paint pots, buckets, guttering (DIY restrictions apply), garden furniture and other similar items. Plastic bags, plastic film and polystyrene foam are not accepted (see plastic bags).  Please note that this service is currently a trial and may be changed or removed without notice.

Polystyrene - Reuse as drainage material at the bottom of plant pots as it's very light and will make moving pots much easier.  Otherwise place in your rubbish bin or take to any Main Recycling Centre.

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Q

Questions - Click the link if you have any questions on what can be taken to Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centres or call 0344 8008020. Or to find out what can be recycled in your kerbside collection contact your local district council.

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R

Rags - Clean, but otherwise unwearable textiles can still go in your local textile bank as they will be sorted by the collector and separated for recycling into other materials such as mattress stuffing etc.  Consider reusing as floor/dish cloths, paintbrush cleaners etc. or get creative and make a cushion cover out of your old jumper or shirt.

Recycling Centres - visit Norfolk County Council's website to see what you can take to the Main Recycling Centres across Norfolk www.norfolk.gov.uk

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S

Saucepans - If in good condition consider donating to charity or finding a new home for them through your local online forum. They can also be put in the scrap metal bin at your nearest Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centre for recycling.

Scrap metal - scrap metal can be recycled at any of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres as long as it does not exceed the weekly allowance if it is DIY waste (eg radiators).

Sharps - Sharps should not be placed in your rubbish or recycling bin as they are extremely dangerous. Sharps include diabetic blood testing kits, insulin pen needles, syringe needles for medical injections, and needles from injecting drug users. Please make sure you dispose of these responsibly by asking your doctor for a sharps box and taking them to your doctor's surgery for safe disposal.

Shoes - If in good condition, consider donating to charity or sell them on.  Some district councils also have shoe banks at their mini recycling centers.  Shoes may go in many textile banks, but please check the bank first.  You may use the textile banks at all six Park and Ride sites in Norwich to deposit shoes.  Some retailers also have shoe recycling points - check locally.

Sweet wrappers - These cannot be recycled. Use them for craft making with children. Foil wrappers can be taken to Recycling Centres.

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T

Tea bags - Put in your home compost bin.  Some of the modern bags have plastic in them which wont degrade.  When you spread the compost just remove the remains of the bags and put them in your rubbish bin.

Textiles - Wearable clothes and shoes can be donated to charity or advertised in papers or online forums. Look out for your local textiles banks located throughout Norfolk including all the six Park and Ride sites around Norwich. You can also take textiles to your Main Recycling Centre. Visit www.norfolk.gov.uk for further details.

Tiles - Reuse broken tiles in mosaics,  as crocks for pots, or advertise in online forums. One 80 litre sack of DIY waste can be accepted at Norfolk County Council Recycling Centres per week free of charge. Larger amounts can be taken to one of the 8 Main Plus Recycling Centres at Caister, Dereham, Hempton, Ketteringham, King's Lynn, Mayton Wood, Mile Cross or Thetford where a charge will be made. See DIY.

Timber - Try finding a new home for your old timber through your local online forum or paper. One 80 litre sack of DIY waste is accepted at Norfolk County Council Main Recycling Centres per week free of charge. Larger amounts can be taken to one of the eight main Recycling Centres at Caister, Dereham, Hempton, Ketteringham, King's Lynn, Mayton Wood, Mile Cross and Thetford.  See DIY.

Tins - Food and drinks cans can be collected through your kerbside recycling collection. Large tins (e.g. old biscuit tins) are too big to be accepted in your local council recycling collection so please take to your Main recycling centre or reuse as storage containers.

Tools - Consider donating to charity, or advertise through your local online groups or papers.

Toys - If in good condition consider donating to charity. You can also recycle in some areas via the 'toy banks'.

Tyres - Updated - From 1 April 2014 ,household motor vehicle and bicycle tyres will only be accepted at Norfolk Main Plus Recycling Centres.  These are located at Caister-on-sea, Dereham, Hempton, Ketteringham, King's Lynn, Mayton Wood, Mile Cross and Thetford.  Bicycle tyres will be accepted for free, but there will be a charge of £2.50 per motor vehicle tyre for disposal.  There is a limit of 5 tyres per household, per month.  Whilst on site disposing of four or more tyres, you may be asked to fill in a household waste disclaimer form prior to being able to deposit them. Alternative options include using the garage that fits tyres to your car - there is usually a small fee for this. Why not reuse tyres to create compost bins, flower and plant containers or children's swings.

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U

Unwanted gifts - Give them away on your local online forum or try selling via an auction site or paper.

UPVC windows - One window may be taken per week to Main Recycling Centres.  Any more can only go through Main Plus sites (see DIY above) where a DIY charge will apply.  Alternatively, hire a skip or collection service.

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V

Vegetable peelings - Compost at home. Visit www.norfolk.getcomposting.com for a reduced price compost bin.

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W

Walking sticks - Consider donating to charity or advertise on your local online forum or paper.

Washing machines - If still in working order consider selling or advertising on your local online forum for a new home. You can take an old washing machine to any of Norfolk County Council's Main Recycling Centres to be recycled. Or you can ask your district council to collect them for a small charge.  If buying new, choose the option to have the old one removed and recycled for you.

Water Filters - All components of the Brita cartridge are recyclable. Cartridges returned to Brita will be sent to their own recycling plant in Germany where the component parts are separated and processed for secondary use. Cartridges can be returned via www.brita.net/uk for local recycling points.  All other brands of water filter should be disposed of in your rubbish bin.

Wrapping paper - Avoid sticky tape by using string or ribbons so that paper can be reused. Some paper bring banks in the county accept wrapping paper for recycling.

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X

Xmas trees - Take your real trees to one of Norfolk County Council's 20 recycling centers for composting or contact your district council for more recycling points. Some brown bin garden waste collections accept Christmas trees cut up in the bin, contact your local council for further details. Plastic trees cannot be recycled, but if of a metal frame variety they can be placed in the metal bin at Main Recycling Centres.

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