Hard-to-Recycle Materials: Truro Area

Recycling is third in the National Waste Hierarchy after Reduction and ReUse.

We do need to first reduce the amount of unnecessary waste we generate, which often has a harmful impact on the environment and the climate; and also purchase goods which can be repurposed, repaired or or reused, and with the minimum of packaging

For an insight into Reuse and Repair opportunities in the Truro area visit Too Good to Waste – Working Towards a Local Circular Economy on the Transition Falmouth website

Recycling can often be the next most appropriate and accessible option. It is a key activity for saving natural resources from going to waste, reducing litter, and helping tackle climate change. Research suggests that recycling can save at least 30% of the carbon emissions that the original manufacturing process produces, and makes a significant contribution to the circular economy.

The “hard to recycle” list below covers drop-off points in the Truro Area for recycling mostly plastics, but also other hard-to-recycle materials which cannot be currently recycled from the kerbside.

The list includes recycling collection points provided by national chains, some supermarkets for “soft” or “flexible” plastics, services offered by independent providers, TerraCycle drop-off locations, and the local household waste recycling centre (HWRC) which also plays an important role in the provision of local recycling opportunities

A summary of the list by materials is here: scroll down for the full list

Contact Lens and Spectacles
Computers and “Old Tech”
Health, Beauty and Wellness Products
Household Batteries
Inkjet and other Printer Cartridges
Light Bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes
Medicine Blister Packs
Oral Care Products (toothpaste tubes/brushes)
Postage Stamps
Rigid Bulky Plastic Items
Soft or Flexible Plastic Packaging
Textiles: Clothing, Bed Linen and Shoes
Various Plastic and other Packaging
Writing Instruments – Plastic/Marker Pens (update)

Contact Lens and Spectacles

Boots Opticians, River Street, Truro.

All types of used contact lens, blister packs and foil covers accepted. Collection box in store

Boots Collection Box

Specsavers, River Street, Truro

Specsavers will accept all brands of used contact lens and spectacles (without cases). Collection box in store.

Specsavers Collection Box

iBuntu Opticians at 66, Lemon Street, Truro
accept used contact lens for recycling. iBuntu also take unwanted spectacles, complete and in good condition, for reuse. These are collected and sent to Rotary York Ainstey for cleaning, sorting and grading to support Sight Projects in Africa. Visit https://www.ibuntu.co.uk/ to check opening hours

The National Lions Club HQ also collects unwanted spectacles and hearing aids for reuse and recycling at two of their centres to support Sight Projects across the world. No cases or cleaning cloths are required.

They can be posted in the first instance to Club Headquarters at 257 Alcester Rd South, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 6DT. For more details email enquiries@lionsclubs.co.uk

And locally there is a Truro Lions collection point for specs and hearing aids in Kenwyn Parish Church, Church Road, Truro TR1 3UY. The Church is open most days.

Lions Club box (Kenwyn Church)

N.B. Some other High Street Opticians may also be able to accept unwanted glasses and/or contact lenses for recycling. Call in and ask.

Computers and other “Old Tech”

Currys PC World at Unit 1, Treliske Retail Park, Truro (near the hospital) provides a recycling service for a wide range of “old tech”. For full details visit


The Truro Household Waste Recycling Centre at Tregurra Parc, (nr. Waitrose) TR1 1RH also accepts computers and other small electrical items for recycling along with unwanted fridges/freezers and televisions

For details of opening times and other materials accepted visit


Health, Beauty, and Wellness Products

Boots in Pydar Street, Truro
will take all brands of beauty, healthcare and wellness product packaging and containers including these:-

  • made of composite materials  e.g. make-up palettes, compacts, lipsticks
  • made from non-recyclable materials e.g. toothpaste tubes, lotion pumps
  • small items e.g. travel minis, samples, mascaras

See boots.com/boots-recycling-scheme for details of their Reward Scheme

N.B. This Take-back Scheme is a Circular Economy Sustainability National Award Finalist for 2021

Household Batteries

There are numerous drop-off locations for spent household batteries across the Truro area mostly in supermarkets and other retailers – too many to list here.

A good starting point is to use the Recycle Now Locator – just click on the item in question, enter your postcode and check the listings: https://www.recyclenow.com/recycling-locator

It is recommended you check out your preferred location first to ensure the collection point is still operating. There may also be collection containers/tubes available not on the locator, for example – your local library in Truro.

Truro Community Library

Note: car batteries as well as household batteries can also be taken to the Truro HWRC (nr. Waitrose). Check this link for opening times and details of all materials accepted

Inkjet and other Printer Cartridges

Currys PC World at Unit 1, Treliske Retail Park
accepts all makes of Toner and Inkjet Cartridges and offers a post-back service

Truro Computer Store at 21 River Street, Truro
accepts used Epson Printer Cartridges only for recycling. Call 01872 264350 for more details

Please note: Truro Community Library’s collection point for the above and mobile phones, has been temporarily suspended until an alternative recycling company can be found. They continue to provide a drop-off recycling point for spent household batteries (see above)

Light Bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes

Truro HWRC near Waitrose

The Household Waste and Recycling Centre at Tregurra Parc, Truro (nr. Waitrose) accept used energy-saving light bulbs along with fluorescent tubes for recycling.

For details of these and other materials accepted at the HWRC plus their opening times and directions visit http://suezcornwall.co.uk/what-we-do/recycling/truro/

Note: Energy-saving bulbs can also be taken to an instore collection point at Tescos, Garras Wharf, Truro along with spent household batteries, inkjet cartridges and water filters


Previously notoriously hard-to-recycle used mattresses and bedframes can now be collected for recycling by upcountry-based Keen & Able

For full details of their comprehensive recycling service, including collection charges, visit https://themattressrecyclingpeople.co.uk  It is well worth checking to see what is involved as the mattresses they collect are broken down into the separate materials for recycling

Note: a lower charge for removal may be made if companies delivering new mattresses agree to take away the used one(s) – but customers would need to check first the eventual destination. Landfill, incineration, or genuinely recycled?

The local alternative for disposal is to use the Cornwall Council Bulky Waste kerbside collection service. This is a cheaper option, but used mattresses are not recycled, but shredded and taken to the local incinerator for disposal. For details of their service visit https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/rubbish-recycling-and-waste/. Note that for the fee charged 3 additional bulky items can also be removed.

Note that used mattresses can also be taken to the Truro Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) for disposal free of charge as a bulky item. See http://suezcornwall.co.uk/what-we-do/recycling/truro/ for opening times and directions

Other options include using Freegle if mattresses are in a reusable condition https://www.ilovefreegle.org/ or alternatively reuse organisations e.g. British Heart Foundation or Hidden Help.

Medicine Blister Packs

Visit Superdrug in Boscawen Street, Truro. All types of used medicine blister packs are accepted in support of Marie Curie Nursing

Superdrug Collection Point

Note: there is now an additional collection point in the Devoran Community Library (TR3 6QA). Packs are taken by a volunteer to Superdrug in Truro for recycling

Oral Care Products (toothpaste tubes/brushes)

Visit Oak House Dental Practice, St.George’s Road, Truro.
Collection box in the waiting room for all plastic toothbrushes, spent toothpaste tubes and caps, plus electric and battery toothbrush heads and cartons.

Make sure to check opening hours by visiting https://www.the-oak-house.com or call 01872 222922

Oak House Collection Box

Nylon bristle heads of wooden toothbrushes can be cut off, put in an envelope, and posted to Freepost Georganics. 4 heads minimum or 1 sonic toothbrush handle.

Other brands’ heads and electric bodies are also accepted for recycling. For more details visit https://uk.georganics.com/pages/zero-to-landfill

Note: toothpaste tubes are also accepted under the Boots High Street Recycling Scheme – see Health, Beauty and Wellness entry above

Postage Stamps (Used)

There are various options for collecting used postage stamps to raise much-needed funds for iSight Cornwall which include:-

A collection box is in the eye clinic of Treliske Hospital (Ophthalmology Department) Also you can call into The Sight Centre on Newham Road, Truro.

Freepost envelopes can also be sent out to those who have small quantities and who can’t make it to one of their collection boxes. For more details visit www.isightcornwall.org.uk/fundraising/stamps-appeal/

Kenwyn Parish Church, Church Road, Truro TR1 3UY hosts a collection box – accessible most days of the week

iSight Cornwall welcomes enquiries from organisations/individuals wishing to host a collection box – contact them on the above website for a poster to attach to any suitable collection box

Rigid Bulky Plastic Items

Bulky rigid plastic items can now be recycled at most Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) including Truro. These items include clean buckets, garden furniture, water butts, plastic bins, collapsible crates, pale brown or beige plant pots (not black)

There are a range of other items which can only be recycled at local HWRCs – to check out what else can be recycled visit http://suezcornwall.co.uk/what-we-do/recycling/truro/

Bulky Plastics Collection Point


Soft or Flexible Plastic Packaging 

The Co-op Store, Boscawen Street, Truro
Accepts “soft” plastics including “crisp packets; sweet wrappers; plastic film; pet food pouches; and plastic bags” www.coop.co.uk/environment/soft-plastics

Collection point is just inside the door from St.Mary’s Street entrance

Co-op Collection Point

Sainsbury’s , Treyew Road, Truro (opposite County Hall)
A collection point can be located outside the store (close by the ATMs) which accepts a wide range of “flexibleplastic packaging – for full details www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/sustainability/plan-for-better/our-stories/2021/flexible-plastics

Sainsbury’s Collection Point

Tesco, Garras Wharf, Truro
Collection point located inside main entrance on the right which accepts soft” plastic packaging including any “plastic bag; crisp packets; food and pet pouches; plastic wrappers; and any plastic film” More detail at www.tescoplc.com/news/2021/tesco-to-launch-uk-s-biggest-network-of-recycling-points-for-soft-plastic/

Tesco Collection Point

Tesco also provide an instore collection point for energy-saving light bulbs along with spent household batteries, inkjet cartridges and water filters

Textiles: Clothing, Bed Linen, and Shoes

Textiles are usually defined as products made of silk, cotton, linen, wool or synthetic material.

Clean and undamaged textiles including shoes can often be taken to local charity shops for sale and reuse – for a full list go to Too Good to Waste – Working Towards a Local Circular Economy and click on Clothing/Textiles.

Clothing and Shoe Banks are also an option for both reuse and recycling of textiles – check out, for example, the Salvation Army banks listed in the Too Good to Waste Guide

Household textiles can often be taken to various high street retailers for either reuse or recycling. Most items can only be accepted if they are clean and undamaged.

It is highly recommended to check the details of what can be accepted on their websites before visiting.

Here are two notable examples :

Dunelm, Newquay, Road Retail Park, Truro TR1 1RH

Accept a wide range of clean textiles under their Textile Take-back Scheme including clothes, towels, duvets, pillows, table cloths, cushions and curtains and many others 

Visit https://www.dunelm.com/info/about/take-back-scheme or see image below. Most items will be reused and donated to charities. Anything which can’t be reused will be recycled with nothing goes to waste

Dunelm Collection Box

Dunelm works in partnership with the British Heart Foundation assisting them to provide a wide range of reusable home products to raise funds for their work.

For more details of the location of their shop in Truro.and their home collection service,  visit https://www.dunelm.com/info/about/british-heart-foundation

Primark, Lemon Quay, Truro

Accept any brand of clothing, textiles. bags and footware in any condition as part of their instore recycling scheme – see collection point below or visit https://www.primark.com/en-gb/a/inspiration/sustainable-fashion/let-your-pre-loved-be-re-loved

Primark Collection Box

Note: Cornwall Council (Biffa) will collect clean and dry, old or worn clothing as part of their kerbside service. Put in a tied bag and into the black box


Shoes which are deemed to be beyond reuse or not easily repaired (see the Too Good to Waste Guide for local shoe repairers) can be returned to some companies for recycling

Schuh, King street, Truro offer a “Sell Your Soles scheme” whereby you can bring in old, worn shoes and they will give you £5 off a brand new pair

Other stores include Sainsbury’s, Treyew Road, and M & S on Lemon Quay, Truro who will also take household linen products for recycling

Note: Cornwall Council (Biffa) will also collect worn shoes as part of their kerbside recycling service (place in tied bag)

Various Plastic and other Packaging

Visit UpCycle Kernow, Portreath Retail Park, Portreath TR16 4QL

Many types of hard-to-recycle packaging – mostly plastic – are accepted under the Terracycle Free Recycling Programme

Upcycle Kernow is a Community Interest Company (CIC), and, although based outside the Truro area, it is included on account of the wide range of items accepted – including disposable gloves, Pringles cans, crisp packets, confectionery wrappers, home care products, cosmetics packaging and much more.

Check their website for full details www.upcyclekernow.org/recycle and for their opening hours

Call in when open, or use the large container provided outside building. Please ensure all recyclable packaging is separated and bagged according to each type of material collected.

Writing Instruments -Plastic/Marker Pens (Update)

It had been hoped a drop-off point could be found within the City of Truro for used plastic pens but approaches to Terracycle for the Community Library to become a Community Champion have not been successful (to date).

In the meantime, here are the nearest locations to Truro offering a drop-off facility for these items.

Mount Hawke Academy: Rodda’s Road, Mount Hawke – call 01209 890230 for opening times
Portreath Community Primary School: Penberthy Road, Portreath – 01209 842542
Also Penryn College have a drop-off point available to the public in the entrance

Please note: The above list is a selection of some of the most popular hard-to-recycle items. Anyone wanting to check out all the Recycling Programmes offered by TerraCycle, nationally and locally, can visit their website www.terracycle.com/en-GB/brigades

Note: some providers collect in support of a charity of their choice

All entries were correct at the time of publishing – but things can change as providers change. Always check with individual locations before setting out for the first visit

Suggestions for additional entries or to report any changes contact us

Revised October 2022

Reduce : Reuse :  Recycle !