88% of UK citizens regularly recycle with over half of us recycling more in the past year than before. 

Making sure we recycle items from all around the home can make a big difference. Whilst you may have a recycling routine that works for you, there are some common items that are not being recycled when they could be. 

To get you thinking about these items, we have used the SHiFT.How platform to create a “Surprising Recycling” guide. From electronics to contact lenses, this guide provides a healthier approach to your household clutter.

Of course, recycling is just one corner of the waste-triangle. Reducing our consumption, and switching from single-use to re-use is just as important, if not more. For more information on repurposing plastic, have a look at our article about our friends at  TOMRA are doing with deposit schemes to close plastic loops, reduce waste, and work towards a cleaner ocean.

Recycling Electronics

The world produces as much as 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) a year, weighing more than all of the commercial airliners ever made. Only 20% of this is formally recycled.

So, what can you do with your used electronics once they are broken or depleted?


28% of consumers throw batteries in the trash instead of recycling them. To recycle batteries, you can drop them off at a local facility or participate in a take-back program. Visit call2recycle.org to find a drop off station near you. If you do not have a drop-off station near. Quill also offer a mail-in recycling service. 


The plastic and glass from recycled laptops and computers can be used to create new ones. In 2018, Apple says it refurbished more than 7.8 million devices, avoiding around 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste. 

Instead of taking your laptop back to your manufacturer, why not consider donating it to a school or a thrift store instead.


Find a local recycling event, mail-in recycling option, or in-store recycling location using Quill.com’s electronics recycling programme.

Alternatively, Quill also recommend donate your phone to the following programs:

Benefits of this SHiFT:

  • You are salvaging not just plastic, but also valuable mined minerals that would otherwise end up in landfill. Some companies will give you money back or credit off a new purchase if you do this.
  • Some electronic items will be easily refurbished and used by someone else, reducing the number of brand new products required by the market.

Challenges of this SHiFT:

  • Sometimes the component parts are not valuable enough for reuse or recycling and still end up in landfill.
  • If items are not built to be taken apart, it can be different to refurbish, repair or recycle.

To find more information about disposing of your electronics responsibly, click here

Recycling Crisp Packets

6 billion packets of crisps are sold each year in the UK – which equates to 16 million being thrown away every day.

To help reduce the amount of waste being generated from this popular everyday snack Walkers Crisps have launched a simple and free crisp packet recycling scheme, which accepts all brands. 

This is now the largest and fastest-growing scheme of its type in the UK, with more than 1,600 public drop-off locations nationwide.

With over 1,600 public drop-off locations nationwide, Walker’s recycling scheme has already helped recycle 33.9 million packets of crisps! 

Benefits of this SHiFT:

  • A targeted solution for a previously difficult to recycle material.
  • Community centres and charities receive credits if you recycle with them.

Challenges of this SHiFT:

  • Does not tackle single-use plastic use.
  • Need to find a drop-off location near you.

Find recycling locations near you.  

Recycling your Contact Lenses

Currently there are more than 45 million contact lens wearers in the United States. As of 2018, 35% to 46% of all patients wear daily disposable contact lenses.

Recycling your contact lenses has become accepted practice and companies are making it really easy – by encouraging you to leave at drop-off points or even post for free to them!

Benefits of this SHiFT:

  • Easy and convenient if you have a local drop off point.
  • Recycled contact lenses are turned into plastic pellets, which can be used to create things like furniture.
  • Organisations earn credits for being a collection point. 

Challenges of this SHiFT:

  • Not all collections include the additional packaging that comes with the lenses.
  • You need to find a recycling location near or suitable to you. 

There is an existing network of over 1000 collection points in Boots Opticians and Independent Optician practices throughout the UK where you can drop off your waste.

Find a drop off location near you.

Recycling Beauty Products 

The beauty and wellness industry generate over 120 billion packages each year, and only a fraction actually gets recycled. Most are landfilled, incinerated, or littered, eventually ending up in the ocean. Beauty and wellness products tend to be designed for short-term use, with very few made to last or be reused. As a result, most aren’t recycled, so they end up in landfill and our ocean.

Brands, such as our friends at Westman Atelier, are working to change these figures.

In collaboration with the Pact Collective – a collective of beauty industry stakeholders taking responsibility for the impacts of our packaging – Westman Atelier are finding ways to make recycling easier for their customers.

The Pact Collective has two main goals: to collect and recycle packaging and educate beauty industry stakeholders on how to build more sustainable packaging.

Benefits of this SHiFT:

  • If you can’t find a Pact drop-off point close to you, you can send your bottles back in the post.
  • Reduces single-use plastic bottles.

Challenges of this SHiFT:

  • Switching to a brand that offers re-fill and recycling is not always easy, and may cost money to replace existing make-up.

You can read more about Westman Atelier’s collaboration and the Pact Collective here.

What is the SHiFT Platform?

There’s no silver bullet to solve the ocean plastic problem but there are hundreds of ways to tackle it.

However, a big challenge for many people is knowing where to start. That’s why, in 2020, eXXpedition partnered with global technology firm SAP to launch the online SHiFT platform. 

The SHiFT Platform allows you to sift through hundreds of impactful solutions, and find the ones that best fit you

Each solution card includes facts to help users better understand the problem itself, as well as the benefits and challenges of implementing those solutions and the impact they can make in doing so. 

We do not need everyone to do everything, but we do need everyone to do something. Head over to SHiFT, to work out what your next change-moment will be.