Hard-to-Recycle Materials: Falmouth/Penryn 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 reused, and with the minimum of packaging.

For an insight into Reuse and Repair opportunities in the Falmouth/Penryn area visit our guide Too Good to Waste – Working Towards a Local Circular Economy on this 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 Falmouth/Penryn 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

Contact Lens and Spectacles

Boots Opticians, Market Street, Falmouth
All types of used contact lens, blister packs and foil covers accepted. Collection box in store.

Boots Collection Box

Specsavers, Market Street, Falmouth
Will accept all brands of used contact lens and spectacles (without cases). Collection box in store


Specsavers Collection Box

Note: some Independent Opticians will also accept unwanted spectacles for reuse/recycling, to support the work of charitable organisations overseas.

These include:

  • Alexander Miller, 42 High Street Falmouth: open Tues, Wed and Friday 10-5pm and Saturday 10-2pm
  • Reynolds and Slater, 23-27 Berkeley Vale, Falmouth: open Mon-Friday 9-5pm and Saturday 9-1pm
  • Pantscancers, Units 1,2 & 4 Ponsharden Industrial Estate (nr. Sainsbury’s) will also take in unwanted spectacles to support charitable work in Syria

Computers and other “Old Tech”

The Falmouth/Penryn Household Waste Recycling Centre at Longdowns, nr Mabe Burnthouse TR10 9DH accepts computers and other small electrical items for recycling along with unwanted fridges/freezers and televisions (collected in a separate container nearby)

Check this link for opening times and details of all materials accepted suezcornwall.co.uk/what-we-do/recycling/falmouth-and-penryn/

Falmouth/Penryn HWRC

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


Health, Beauty, and Wellness Products

Boots in Market Street, Falmouth 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 more information and 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 Falmouth/Penryn 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. 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 Falmouth

Falmouth Library

Note: car batteries as well as spent household batteries can be taken to the Falmouth/Penryn Household Waste Recycling Centre at Longdowns, nr. Mabe Burnthouse TR10 9DH

Check this link for opening times and details of all materials accepted suezcornwall.co.uk/what-we-do/recycling/falmouth-and-penryn/

Inkjet and other Printer Cartridges

Currys PC World at Unit 1, Treliske Retail Park, Truro (near the hospital) also accepts all makes of Toner and Inkjet Cartridges and offers a post-back service.

Note: we are currently exploring other recycling options in the area for these items.

Light Bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes

The Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) at Longdowns, Mabe Burnthouse TR10 9DH accepts used energy-saving light bulbs along with fluorescent tubes for recycling.

For details of these and other materials accepted and their opening times visit suezcornwall.co.uk/what-we-do/recycling/falmouth-and-penryn/

Falmouth/Penryn HWRC


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

For full details of their comprehensive recycling service, including collection charges, visit 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 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 Falmouth/Penryn Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) for disposal free of charge as a bulky item. These are also shredded and incinerated.

Check this link for opening times and details of all materials accepted suezcornwall.co.uk/what-we-do/recycling/falmouth-and-penryn/

Other options include using Freegle if mattresses are in a clean and reusable condition www.ilovefreegle.org or alternatively try charitable organisations e.g. British Heart Foundation or Hidden Help

Medicine Blister Packs

Visit Superdrug in Market Street, Falmouth.

All types of used medicine blister packs are accepted for recycling in support of Marie Curie Nursing

Superdrug Collection Point

Oral Care Products (toothpaste tubes/brushes)

Note: there is no dedicated collection point in Falmouth/Penryn for oral care products but, if visiting Truro, you could support

Oak House Dental Practice, St.George’s Road, Truro.

There is a Terracycle 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 first check opening hours by visiting www.the-oak-house.com or call 01872 222922

Oak House Collection Box

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

Also note: the 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 uk.georganics.com/pages/zero-to-landfill

Postage Stamps

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/

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 Falmouth/Penryn. 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 suezcornwall.co.uk/what-we-do/recycling/falmouth-and-penryn/

Bulky Plastics Collection Point

“Soft” or “Flexible” Plastic Packaging 

The Co-op Store – Clipper Way, Mongleath Avenue, Boslowick Road, and the Co-op in Cliff Road, both in Falmouth

Accepts “soft” plastics including “crisp packets, sweet wrappers, plastic film, pet food pouches, and plastic bags www.coop.co.uk/environment/soft-plastics

Co-op Collection Point

Sainsbury’s, Falmouth TR11 2RZ

A collection point can be located in the former coffee shop area which accepts a wide range of “flexible” plastic packaging – for full details


Sainsbury’s will also, as of 2023, pick up soft plastic recycling when doing home delivery

Sainsbury’s Collection Point

Tesco, Killigrew Street, Falmouth

The collection point (cage) is located outside main entrance which accepts “soft” plastic packaging including “any plastic bag, crisp packets, food and pet pouches, plastic wrappers, and any plastic film

For more details visit  www.tescoplc.com/news/2021/tesco-to-launch-uk-s-biggest-network-of-recycling-points-for-soft-plastic/

Tesco collection point

Tesco at Garras Wharf, Truro 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 see Clothing/Textiles under our Too Good to Waste – Working Towards a Local Circular Economy guide

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 (taken from the Transition Truro list) :

Dunelm, Newquay Road Retail Park, Truro TR1 1RH

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

Visit www.dunelm.com/info/about/take-back-scheme or see image on Transition Truro list for details

Most items will be reused and donated to charities. Anything which can’t be reused will be recycled with nothing goes to waste

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 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 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, Falmouth who will also take household linen products for recycling (see their Textile Bank in car park)

Note: Cornwall Council (Biffa) will also collect worn shoes as part of their kerbside recycling service (place in tied bag) www.cornwall.gov.uk/rubbish-recycling-and-waste/recycling/recycling-items/shoes/

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 Programmes

Upcycle Kernow is a Community Interest Company (CIC), and, although based well outside the Falmouth/Penryn 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 the building. Please ensure all recyclable packaging is separated and bagged according to each type of material collected.

Please note: The above list is a selection of some of the most popular hard-to-recycle items.

Anyone wanting to check out the Recycling Programmes offered by TerraCycle, nationally and locally, can visit their website www.terracycle.com/en-GB/brigades

Writing Instruments

This Terracycle programme includes all brands of spent biros, marker pens, highlighters and fluid pots.

Visit Penryn College, Kernick Road, Penryn (next to the Rugby Ground)

Collection box in reception area. Funds raised go towards School Projects

Penryn College Collection Box

All entries were checked 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 always welcome, or to report any changes contact us

Revised October 2022

Reduce : Reuse :  Recycle !


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