Where Do I Donate/Recycle?

Alphabetized by item

These resources may have Austin-based links however many businesses listed are national chains and may be available in your area.

Appliances: Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center or Goodwill.

Asbestos: most likely present in homes that were constructed before the 1990s. Improper handling of asbestos-containing materials puts workers and the general public at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer and asbestosis. To learn more go to https://mesothelioma.net/asbestos-awareness-and-education/.

Asbestos abatement projects should be carried out by a professional for safety and legal reasons, and professionals will also have access to proper recycling and disposal options individuals do not. The recycling process destroys asbestos fibers and converts them into a nonhazardous substance. It is an expensive but growing industry. More information is at https://www.asbestos.com/exposure/handling-disposing-asbestos/.

Baby or Child Things: Give away to friends and family; use a Facebook Buy Nothing group or Marketplace, craigslist or Freecycle; find a local charity like Any Baby Can or you may want to try your hand at resell at Once Upon a Child.

A charity may be at capacity, check first. Any Baby Can is currently at capacity and recommends donating to Heart of Texas Pregnancy Resource Center and
The Gabriel Project Life Center. When donating baby items, it’s good to check with the charity first (they respond to email super quickly) to make sure they can/will accept your items and have capacity. Many of these groups have limited space.

Bags (Plastic): Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center, Target , Walmart, grocery stores, Home Depot, Lowe’s

Batteries (single-use): Austin Public Libraries, Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center, Batteries Plus

Batteries (rechargeable): Austin Public Libraries, Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center, Batteries Plus , Home Depot, Lowe’s

Beds in good condition: Gateway Church Central Refugee Assistance

Brita Filters: https://www.brita.com/recycling-filters/

Brush: Your Green Compost Cart

Bubble Wrap: Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center, Target , Walmart

Bulk: large trash or unwanted items (e.g. mattresses) are picked up twice a year. You’ll get a card in the mail with your pickup date or you can check My Collection Date at http://www.austintexas.gov/page/my-collection-schedule. You can even sign up for text or email reminder!

Before then consider donating usable items. All bulk pickup is sent to the landfill, it’s not sorted for recycling. If items are too large to transport yourself, you can call Hope Family Thrift Store, Salvation Army, Goodwill, veterans group.

Clothes and shoes: church clothing closets or thrift stores such as
Hope Family Thrift Store or The Ronald McDonald House.  See https://alittlemore.green/2019/04/04/croaked-clothes-torn-textiles-hobbled-housewares/ for specific places on where to donate specific types of clothes and shoes, such as prom or business wear.

Damaged and unwearable clothes, fabrics and shoes may go to the Textiles/Clothing station at the Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center.

Dog Food Packaging: Several companies have partnered with TerraCycle for FREE recycling of their products. Some examples include A Pup Above and Royal Canin, both available locally in Austin.

Chemicals: Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center

Christmas Trees (real): The City of Austin will pick them up on your curbside pick-up day or you may drop them off, at select times. Check http://www.austintexas.gov/department/christmas-tree-recycling or https://www.facebook.com/austinrecycles/ starting mid-December.

Christmas Trees (fake): Check your local Buy Nothing, Marketplace, craigslist or Freecycle for items wanted, ask your local churches or community programs.

– Usable: Find a charity in need.
– Unusable: Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center Goodwill or Staples

Contact Lens: Recycle at home or a participating location with Bausch + Lomb and Terracycle’s ONE by ONE program. All brands accepted! Free shipping for you or the location!

Crafts: Austin Creative Reuse

Drugs/Medication/Prescriptions/Supplements: human and animal items can be dropped off at many Walgreens and select CVS locations. Check your local pharmacy for “medication disposal” to see if they participate. You may also dispose of drugs at permanent kiosk sites per the days, times, and locations listed at http://www.austintexas.gov/drugs. Twice a year local law enforcement and some city waste departments will host Prescription Drug Take-Back Days.

If you want to responsibly dispose of drugs sooner and at your convenience you may buy a pre-paid mailer envelope for about $3 in the pharmacy section of stores such as CVS, Walgreens or Costco. Please do not flush anything down the toilet as water treatment plants are not designed to remove all pharmaceutical chemicals from our water.

Check with veterinarian offices and charity groups for animal medications. These donations can assist owners who struggle financially or provide a sample/trial.

Electronics/Anything with a cord, battery or microchip: Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center, Staples , Best Buy or Goodwill.
– A great list that focuses in depth on the type of electronic and more diverse causes to support from allconnect is here.

Eyeglasses: Envision Eye Center, Lenscrafters, VisionWorks or Walmart, David Kind trade up program for a coupon off a new pair

Flags: Contact a local Boy Scout group, local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post, Elks Lodge, or American Legion post to properly dispose of old American Flags.

Foam/Styrofoam: includes clean meat trays, egg carton, and to-go containers Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center.
Peanuts may go to a local shipping store.

Foil: City of Austin is taking clean aluminum foil and cooking trays. Rinse off your taco or pie and drop it in! Aluminum foil sheets should be clean and rolled into a 2 inch ball.

Freezer packs/ice packs: From meal delivery; See https://alittlemore.green/2019/04/13/ice-ice-pack-baby/

Furniture (Usable) and Housewares:
Hope Family Thrift Store supporting Austin Disaster Relief Network
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
– Women’s shelters, veterans’ groups, Goodwill, Salvation Army
Saint Louise House helping women and children overcome homelessness
– *New 02.26.22: Save Yourself a Trip: 8 Charities That Offer Furniture Donation Pickup for Free

Home Improvement: Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Almost every city has a Habitat for Humanity ReStore you can shop at and donate to.

Housewares: Gateway Church Central Refugee Assistance

Household Hazardous Waste: Paint, all batteries, chemicals, cleaners, tube lights, etc.:   Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center

Ink Cartridges: Target recycling station, Staples or Best Buy service desk

Light bulbs (CFL): Home Depot, Lowe’s, Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center

Light bulbs (Tubes): Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center

Linens (Towels, Washcloths, Sheets, Pillowcases, etc).:
– Usable: homeless shelters, women’s shelters, Austin Wildlife Rescue
– Unusable: Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center Textile/Clothing station

Mascara Wands: old clean wands, don’t buy new per their request: Wands for Wildlife. You pay for the shipping.
*Update 05/28/19: Due to popularity, Wands for Wildlife is scaling back to only accept wands in October and February. Store them up!

Mail: Unsubscribe yourself at https://www.catalogchoice.org/
See https://alittlemore.green/2019/03/29/unwanted-mail-or-junk-mail/ for more ideas.

Mattresses: Mattresses usually need to be in almost “pristine condition with no stains, tears or signs of excessive wear” to donate according to local charity, Hope Family Thrift Store, supporting the Austin Disaster Relief Network. This is the criteria most entities use when discussing accepting donations of used mattresses. Amerisleep created a guide on mattress donating, recycling and disposal and has several Texas locations. The City of Austin’s What Do I Do With? recommends using the Austin Reuse Directory to find a local group but again, the mattress will need to be in very good condition. Mattresses deemed unrecyclable or donatable can be put out on your next bulk collection day or you can contact a local landfill.

Office Supplies: Austin Creative Reuse or a charity that requests these types of items such as Casa Marianella, an Austin charity helping displaced immigrants.

Paint (good and bad): Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center
Usable paint is turned into FREE low VOC Austin ReBlend. Pick some up!
See http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-reblend for colors.

Paper (shredded/sensitive): Shredded paper in a paper bag with the top rolled down may go in the Blue Recycling Cart.

Austin Shred Day and City of Austin co-host a spring and fall secure drop-off (typically April and November): http://www.austinarma.com/shred-day

UFCU hosts several drops offs during the year. For updates go to the homepage, scroll down to the middle under WE EMPOWER OUR MEMBERS, and select SEE ALL EVENTS.  Then you can go through each page until you find the next available Shred Day scheduled.

Pets: Your vet, adoption agency or shelter, may be able to accept medications, supplies, and certain foods. Ask them before assuming or dropping off. Crates, carriers, cones, life-vests and other supplies can be posted on Buy Nothing, Marketplace, or your local groups, or you can check with your local adoption agency. I always recommend calling ahead since there can be space limitations, “overstock,” or they may need new versions of those things instead of used. Austin Pets Alive is one of our local favorites, they also have three thrift store locations in Austin.

Pizza Box Lids: the lids and sides of pizza boxes may go in recycling as long as there is no pizza grease on the box. The grease contaminates the paper load. The greasy parts should go in the Green Compost Cart.

Plumbing: Electronics at Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center. ARR will strip the valuable metals out and put the rest of the metals, plastics, etc. in the appropriate sections of the ARRDC.

School Supplies: Austin Creative Reuse. Keep your eyes out for Back-to-School drives last summer. Most cities and ISDs will host these drives to collect these items, including much needed backpacks.

Shoes: Goodwill, Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe, or Asics who will give you a reward coupon or any brand.

Sporting Equipment:
– See if you can find a group that requests donations.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
– Post the item(s) in a neighborhood Marketplace, Freecycle or craigslist.
– If you want to try your hand at resell, Play It Again Sports

Styrofoam: includes clean meat trays, egg carton, and to-go containers Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center.
Peanuts may go to a local shipping store.

Tires (car or bike): Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center

Toys (all plastic, no batteries or electronics):
– Please donate if it’s still usable. Toybrary Austin or SAFE Austin are great Austin options.
– See for ideas:
– If broken: Hard Plastics at Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center

Toys (with batteries, computer chips or electronics):
– Please donate if it’s still usable. Toybrary Austin or SAFE Austin are great Austin options.
– If broken: Electronics at Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center .
ARR will take toys apart to recycle the battery/electronic materials and put the plastic with the Hard Plastics.

VHS: Electronics at Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center

Video Game Stuff:
– If broken: Electronics at Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center , Best Buy or Goodwill .
– You could try to sell it yourself or through GameStop

Wires and cords: Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center or Goodwill

Buy Nothing. Give Freely. Share Creatively.” Information on the Buy Nothing Project is at https://buynothingproject.org/ .

Got more items or questions?
City of Austin What Do I Do With? http://austintexas.gov/what-do-i-do

City of Austin and Austin EcoNetwork’s Austin Reuse Directory for where to donate/sell items:

Check out the directory at http://www.earth911.com/

Ask Taylor! taylor@alittlemore.green