Council recycling centres
Commonly referred to as the tip, local recycling centres are designed to be more than just a place for you to 'get rid' of your rubbish. Many offer spots within the centre to look at recycling your item rather than just throwing it away.
In terms of the items that you can take to dispose of, the majority of local recycling centres are reasonably inclusive. As well as general household waste, you'll be able to take larger furniture pieces like sofas or dining sets as well as mattresses, carpets and cardboard.
Many tips are also happy to take larger electrical items like fridges, freezers and televisions too - just ensure that you place these in the correct 'bin' when you unload them, as it will be a different area to household furniture. Some types of waste will be limited as to how much you can dump in one go, though this can vary from centre to centre.
It's important that you go to a centre in your area, and you may be asked to provide a proof of residency before you're given access to the bins. You might find that some recycling centres have restrictions as to whether you can bring trailers in, and have a size limit on some larger vehicles too - this is often due to the size of the centre. Commercial vehicles often require a pass or permit to get into the tip, though again, this does vary from local authority to local authority.
Council waste collection
If you're unable to make it to a recycling point, many local councils offer a waste collection service. This needs to be booked quite far in advance (eight weeks is the given number in many instances), but saves you the trouble of getting a large, bulky waste item to the tip if you're without the appropriate transport. Some councils will charge you a fee for this service, typically in the region of £20 - £25.
Though a great service, there are some specifications to be aware of when booking a waste collection through your local authority. Usually, these include removing any glass tops or panels from any furniture items or securing them with strong tape (like electrical or duct tape), and removing mirrors from wardrobes, as mirrors generally won't be collected. Your council will typically ask you to dismantle any pieces of furniture with loose parts like drawers, and to ensure no nails are sticking out.
Though your council will accept collection of furniture, doors, carpets and electrical equipment, other things like greenhouses, sheds, bathroom suites, boilers, kitchen units and general household waste that could go in your black bin won't be collected.
Independent recycling projects
Though many recycling projects often work in conjunction with the local authorities, they are - by and large - independent projects that work for the greater good of the community or a particular charity.
Nationally, the British Heart Foundation can collect your useable furniture and electrical items to be sold on, with profits going straight back into the charity. Many local projects exist too, and your local council recycling website should be able to give you details of these.