Items we can’t accept in our charity shops

Here at Sue Ryder, we will always try to sell items that have kindly been donated to us. However, there may be times when we have to evaluate the potential risk of these donations to staff and customers. This means there are occasions when we cannot accept some items.

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Please check the lists below to find out more about what we cannot accept, or feel free to give one of our shops a call to discuss your donation. 

Donated furniture and homeware

The most important consideration when selling furniture and homeware is if an item is flammable. When donated items do not have a safety label or instructions, we are unable to safely sell them.

The full list of furniture or homeware we can’t accept includes: 

  • upholstered donated furniture without a fire label (unless pre-1950s)
  • donated furniture with unsafe missing parts or damage
  • candles without instructions and safety notice
  • duvets and pillows (unless in original packaging)
  • individual mattresses without a bedframe
  • soiled or dirty mattresses
  • roller or venetian blinds (unless in original packaging with safety instructions included).

Safety equipment

These are items that are intended to keep people safe. As we are unable to guarantee that second-hand safety equipment is fully protective, or has not been previously damaged, we cannot accept:

  • safety helmets: crash, cycle, riding hats
  • climbing equipment 
  • buoyancy aids, life jackets, and inflatable dinghies 
  • any mobility items - eg wheelchairs, walkers, bath aids. 

Sports equipment

We are only able to sell non-electrical sports equipment which is new and has instructions. This is because if donated items are not in perfect working condition, or aren’t used correctly, they can cause damage. 

We are also unable to test large electrical items for safety. This means we can’t accept: 

  • exercise bikes
  • rowing machines
  • running machines 
  • cross trainers. 

Electrical items

We can test and sell a range of electrical items. However, for safety reasons, we are unable to sell:

  • laptops, personal computers, and tablets - we can’t ensure they are wiped of personal data
  • electric blankets 
  • sunbeds and tanning equipment  
  • donated white goods - eg fridges, freezers or washing machines 
  • microwaves 
  • personal hygiene items - eg shavers and foot spas 
  • any power tools - we can’t guarantee that all parts are working and safe for use
  • mobile phones
  • e-readers. 


The only media items we cannot accept are home-recorded DVDs or VHS tapes. 

We can sell 18-rated items, although for all goods given an age-restricted classification, it is illegal to sell them to anyone below the specified age. This includes computer games where the age rating relates to the content. We therefore may ask you for ID if you are purchasing age-restricted media.

Children’s items

We are unable to sell items that may be unsafe for children. The full list of what we can’t accept includes: 

  • cot bumpers and mattresses
  • pram mattresses 
  • children’s pillows 
  • cribs, cradles, and reclined cradles 
  • carrycots and stands 
  • table-mounted chairs 
  • playpens
  • baby baths
  • baby door bouncers or baby walkers 
  • all inflatable armbands and rings worn as floatation aids 
  • any toy without a CE mark  
  • skateboards and roller skates 
  • clothing with hood cords 
  • nightwear and fancy-dress items not labelled as fire resistant 
  • car seats and booster seats 
  • child seats for cycles.

Sharps or weapons

We cannot sell dangerous items for legal and safety reasons. This full list includes: 

  • sharp knives (excluding cutlery)
  • swords 
  • crossbows or catapults 
  • guns or realistic replica toy guns 
  • ammunition 
  • sharp gardening tools 
  • any other weapons. 

You can dispose of sharps or weapons via your local police station: 

Other items

Other items we cannot accept include: 

  • chemical items 
  • any medications 
  • smoking-related items, including ashtrays 
  • hot water bottles 
  • any gas or petrol appliances 
  • unsealed cosmetics and toiletries 
  • food or perishables 
  • counterfeit items 
  • military uniforms with names or company-branded uniforms 
  • motor vehicles or car parts 
  • grossly offensive and/or discriminatory material. 

Ivory and fur

We do not sell or take donations of ivory or real fur.

Any questions?

Contact our National Furniture Line on 0333 003 1883 (calls are charged at the local rate) or contact your local shop.

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