Waste: reduce, reuse, recycle

Ways to reduce, reuse or recycle your household waste in North Lincolnshire. What you can put in your bins and boxes, and what happens to your recycling.


Our 20 top tips on how to reduce your waste:

  1. Get a home composter to divert your garden waste, fruit and vegetable peelings from landfill – visit our composting page to find out more.
  2. Shop smart! Consider the packaging that foods are contained in, For example, buy loose fruit and vegetables rather than pre-packaged ones. Compost any uncooked peeling at home. Shop in bulk to reduce packaging and is often cheaper than buying smaller amounts.
  3. Take your own shopping bags – you can re-use old plastic bags or take to some supermarkets for recycling, take ‘bags for life’ or use cloth bags.
  4. Consider buying long lasting items like washing powder, pasta, cereal and biscuits in bulk – to minimise packaging waste. Buying in bulk is also likely to save you money!
  5. Buy milk in returnable glass bottles from a milkman, rather than plastic bottles or cartons.
  6. Don’t buy disposable items such as razors and pens.
  7. Make fresh, homemade drinks in reusable, re-sealable containers, rather than buying separate cartons, cans and bottles – it will be cheaper too.
  8. For packed lunches and picnics use a reusable airtight container, rather than aluminium foil or cling film wrapping.
  9. Use rechargeable batteries. Batteries contain toxic or hazardous chemicals – the more you buy, the greater the impact on the environment.
  10. If drinking hot drink on the go buy and use a reusable cup.  An added incentive is most coffee shops offer a discounts if using these cups.
  11. To stop junk mail addressed to you, register your details free on the Mailing Preference Service website.
  12. Don’t be fooled by ‘buy one get one free’ offers on fresh fruit, meat or dairy products. You may not get round to eating them before they pass their use by date and they will end up in the bin. Visit our love food hate waste page for tips on how to get the most from the food we buy.
  13. Buy long-lasting, low energy light bulbs.
  14. Use handkerchiefs rather than throwaway tissues.
  15. Use washable cutlery, cups and plates at parties and barbeques, rather than paper plates, plastic cutlery and cups which are only used once before they are thrown away. Say no to disposable straws.
  16. Avoid using wipes and carry reusable, washable cloths.
  17. Visit your local library for newspapers and books, rather than buying them.
  18. Say no to paper bags or plastic bags in shops if you don’t need them.
  19. Rent or borrow equipment which you use infrequently. It may be possible to share items such as lawnmowers, shredders, hedge-trimmers or other equipment with your friends or neighbours.
  20. When buying electrical goods see if there are any devices on the market which use alternative power sources. For example, clockwork radios, solar calculators, manual watches all use less energy.

Visit our dedicated home composting page to learn how to compost at home and to see our latest offers on compost bins. Learn about the benefits to you, your garden and the environment.

The Love Food Hate Waste campaign is a national initiative aimed at getting us all to avoid wasting food. The website provides advice on using leftover food, date labels and the best ways to store food, plus much more.


Before you throw items away, think about how they can be reused.  Below are our top tips on how to re-use those everyday bits and pieces.

  1. Carrier bags – they can be re-used when you go shopping or as bin bags around the house. Buy a bag for life and keep handy for every time you pop to the shops.
  2. Old clothes – can be donated to charity shops, given to friends or family. You may also be able to mend a favourite item or turn it into something else – such as a cushion cover or a rag rug.
  3. Books, CDs and DVDs – donate them to charity shops or take them to the recycling banks at the Household Recycling Centres.
  4. Paper bags – make useful wrapping paper.
  5. Newspaper, cardboard and bubble wrap – can make useful packing material when moving house or to store items.
  6. Magazines – pass on to friends and family or you may be able to donate them to dentists, doctors surgeries or hospitals.
  7. Envelopes – by sticking labels over the address you can reuse envelopes or use them as scrap paper to make notes on.
  8. Jars and pots – use them as small containers to store odds and ends or reuse them to store your homemade jams or pickles.
  9. Plastic bottles – cut off the top half of the bottle to cover germinating seeds like a mini-greenhouse cover.  Try using a reusable bottle for water and fill up whilst on the go.
  10. Scrap paper – can be used to make notes and shopping lists. Don’t forget to use both sides and then recycle it in the blue box when you no longer need it.
  11. Rechargeable batteries – these can be reused many times before they need recycling.
  12. Greetings cards – reuse as gift tags before recycling in the burgundy bin.
  13. Packaging – such as foil and egg cartons – ask your local schools and nurseries if they would like them for art and craft projects.
  14. Car boot sales and online auction sites – other people may find use for your old items, plus you could earn some extra cash.
  15. Used wood – could be used in woodcrafts for making objects such as a spice rack or a bird box.
  16. Old furniture – could be given a new lease of life by upcycling. Some items can be donated to charity see our furniture reuse page.
  17. Consider taking your broken electronic items to a repair shop to extend the life of often perfectly serviceable products.
  18. Baby and children’s clothes, toys and furniture reuse. If you have any good condition and reusable:
    • Baby clothing
    • Children’s clothing (under 12 years)
    • Children’s toys
    • Baby and children’s furniture (we are unable to take mattresses)


  19. Clothing and small toys can be taken to any Children’s Centres in North Lincolnshire. If you have any large toys and furniture, please call the centre prior to taking the items.  They are unable to take any electrical items which have not been PAT tested. These items are reused to support families in North Lincolnshire through our Children’s Centres.
  20. You could look at running a swishing event or sell your clothes online, or even make other items from the clothing such as wheat bags or sock puppets.

We want to encourage residents to take advantage of these schemes in order to maximise reuse and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Please see below for more information on the reuse schemes in our area.

Some things to think about when you contact any of the furniture reuse groups to request a collection are:

  • are the items in good or reasonable condition and fit for reuse?
  • if the items are soft furnishings, for example settees and mattresses, do they have a fire label attached to them? If not, they cannot be reused by the groups
  • if the item is electrical, is it in good working order? If not, it cannot be reused by the groups

British Heart Foundation

A free collection service for any good quality furniture and electrical items within North Lincolnshire.

Collection will normally be made within three working days and you will be advised of your collection day when you call.

If you are not at home on your collection day the items will need to be left outside (preferably covered up) with a note confirming that it is for donation to the British Heart Foundation scheme.

If you are at home on collection day, the items will be collected from inside your property.

The items collected are sold at the shop in Scunthorpe and all proceeds go towards preventing and fighting heart disease.

To request a collection from the British Heart Foundation call 01724 245410.

Alternatively you can request a BHF collection online.

British Heart Foundation can also arrange house clearance for a charge.

Sue Ryder

A free collection service for any good quality furniture within North Lincolnshire.

All items collected are sold in the Sue Ryder shop.

To request a collection from the Sue Ryder shop, call 01724 848643 and you will be advised of your collection day.

Alternatively you can request a Sue Ryder collection online.

Crosby Community Association

A free collection service for any good quality furniture within North Lincolnshire.
To request a collection from the Crosby Community Association call 01724 330022 and you will be advised of your collection day over the phone.

Crosby Community Association can also arrange house clearances.

Charity shops

There are a variety of charity shops throughout North Lincolnshire that are able to take reusable items such as clothes, shoes, bric-a-brac, music, books and homewares.


The reuse groups listed are not under the control of North Lincolnshire Council. We have no control over the nature, content or availability of their services.

The inclusion of any links or logo does not necessarily imply a recommendation of the service or endorse the views expressed in any literature or website published by the reuse groups.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage arising out of, or in connection with, the use of these services including, without limitation, any indirect or consequential loss or damage.

The Waste Hierarchy…because we don’t have a Planet B…

The waste hierarchy is a simple ranking system used for the different waste management options according to which is best for the environment. The preferred option is to prevent things becoming waste in the first place. The next best option is to, where possible, prioritise reusing products and materials before it becomes waste. Simply put, waste causes pollution, contributes to climate change and uses more money, energy and natural resources than most of us realise. Making small changes in our everyday lives can make a powerful difference to the planet we call home. See below for our A-Z of how to reduce waste and reuse materials…


When we take action to prevent waste arising in the first place, there is simply less waste. Less waste means less need to reuse products and more importantly, less waste for disposal. We can prevent waste by using fewer and avoiding unnecessary materials during the design, manufacturing and packaging of products.


By cleaning, repairing and refurbishing items, we can significantly increase the number of things we reuse. Reusing is better than recycling because it saves the energy that comes with having to dismantle and re-manufacture products. It also significantly reduces waste and pollution because it reduces the need for raw materials, saving both forests and water supplies. As more single-use products are being phased out for reusable alternatives, re-using things is more accessible now, than ever before.


  • A is for Avoid – avoid single-use food and drink containers and utensils.
  • B is for Best Before date – by eating food that is past its best before (but not its use by) date, we can reduce food waste and save money. Trust your senses when it comes to best before dates!
  • C is for Cling film – beeswax sandwich wraps are a reusable alternative to clingfilm. They are self-sealing, easy to clean, last for at least a year and can be rewaxed to make them last even longer.
  • D is for Donate – useful items can be donated to local charities.
  • E is for Energy – rechargeable batteries produce less waste because they can be recharged and reused hundreds of times. They also use less energy because recharging batteries is more energy efficient than the cost and energy of making new batteries.
  • F is for Freegle – a UK organisation that aims to increase reuse and reduce landfill by offering a free Internet-based service where people can give away and ask for things that would otherwise be thrown away. Visit the Freegle website
  • G is for Green waste – composting provides a soil fertiliser whilst reducing disposal costs and creating a valuable usable product. It is a natural method of processing material which would otherwise be landfilled.
  • H is for Hotel for bugs – use decaying wood to make a bug hotel simply collect small logs, large sticks and pieces of rotting wood. Pile them up in a damp, shady area of your garden, then stuff some dead leaves in the nooks and crannies to make it cosy. This will attract centipedes, woodlice and beetles who like to burrow into decaying wood. It may also attract birds, frogs and hedgehogs looking for a tasty snack! Visit the RSPB website.
  • I is for Inkjet cartridges – check if your toner cartridges can be returned to the manufacturer for refilling and reuse, or refill them yourself.
  • J is for Junk mail – stop unsolicited mail and help the environment by reducing paper waste. The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is a free service which enables customers to have their names and home addresses, in the UK, removed from mailing lists used by the industry. To register visit www.mpsonline.org.uk or telephone 0845 7034599
  • K is for Kitchen waste – uncooked fruit and vegetable waste can be home composted or you could consider buying a special composter which can compost all your garden and kitchen waste including cooked and uncooked food. www.getcomposting.com
  • L is for Library books – borrowing books creates a sharing economy that cuts down on consumption and the waste it causes.
  • M is for Milk – glass milk bottles are a greener alternative because glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly into new glass bottles or jars. The more recycled glass we use to make new glass, the less raw materials the industry needs to use to produce glass.
  • N is for Nappies – reusable nappies are a much more cost effective and environmentally friendly option than disposable nappies. They’re also more likely to be made of natural soft fibres, which may be better for your baby’s skin and, including the cost of water and electricity for washing them, they still work out cheaper than disposable nappies.
  • O is for Oil – not all methods of cooking use oil, try alternatives to frying – grill, bake, steam, poach or slow cook instead. Measure out how much cooking oil you use rather than pouring liberally into the pan, some foods release fat when they cook so start by adding a small amount and only add more if you need to. If you have leftover lard or suet you could make fat balls for birds, don’t use cooking oil though as it can coat bird’s feathers, preventing them from being able to fly.
  • P is for Paint – as a toxic substance, it is best to reduce, reuse and recycle paint wherever possible. Make sure you know how many metres you are going to be painting and check the information on the paint pot to see how much coverage it will give. Remember to close the lid properly to help keep your paint in good condition for longer and donate any unused paint to a Community Re>Paint scheme or local group if they need it.
  • Q is for Quilt – a local animal shelter or animal rescue charity may be grateful for donations of duvets or any unwanted bedding such as blankets.
  • R is for Repair – take care of your belongings with regular maintenance and repair products to extend their life.
  • S is for Soap – hand/body wash can be replaced with bar soap, eliminating the need for a disposable plastic bottle and the non-recyclable pump that comes with it.
  • T is for Toys – used toys can be donated to charity shops, sold, or given away. Alternatively, host a swapping event with friends, family and neighbours as often toys are in perfectly good condition, but children are bored with them.
  • U is for Understanding environmental impact – reducing and reusing reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. This helps sustain the environment for future generations, reduces the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators and allows products to be used to their fullest extent.
  • V is for Vegetable peelings – vegetable peelings can easily be used to make soups, they have plenty of flavour and if you purée the soup, no one will be any the wiser. Freeze them until you have enough for a soup. Peelings can also be made into vegetable crisps, in this case they are best used very fresh. Sprinkle the peelings with a little oil and a flavouring of your choice (try chilli flakes, parmesan or vinegar), spread them on a baking tray and bake at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 25-30 mins.
  • W is for Wrapping paper – buy presents that don’t need to be wrapped, such as vouchers and experience gifts. Preferably, don’t use paper at all, put it in a box which can be used again and again. If you must use paper, plan the amount of paper you need and make sure it can be recycled in your blue box. Avoid paper that is made from plastic or aluminium and paper with glitter which is almost impossible to remove in the recycling process. If in doubt do the ‘scrunch’ test – if it stays scrunched, it can be recycled.
  • X is for Xmas trees – real Christmas trees benefit the environment, are renewable and recyclable. While they’re growing, they support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases and emitting fresh oxygen. The farms that grow Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. To ensure a constant supply, Christmas tree growers’ plant new seedlings for every tree they harvest. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, so can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes.
  • Y is for Yoghurt pots – these can be reused as plant pots, children’s paint pots or in school projects
  • Z is for ZERO WASTE – 6 steps to going zero waste…
    • Remember why going zero waste is important
    • Refuse what you don’t need
    • Reduce what you do need
    • Reuse what you can
    • Recycle what you can
    • Rot organic material.

If you have any questions about the waste hierarchy, please visit our Waste Hierarchy and Waste Strategy page.


When we recycle, the materials are reprocessed into new products, and as a result the amount of rubbish sent to landfill or incineration reduces.  It also reduces the need to use natural resources such as wood, coal and oil.

Recycling materials uses much less energy than producing new products which requires extracting, refining, transporting and processing raw materials.

As recycling saves energy it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to tackle climate change. Current UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of COa year – the equivalent to taking five million cars off the road.

Visit our dedicated Recycling A to Z page to learn how to reuse and recycle a range of items.

Please visit our what happens next to waste and recycling for details of what happens to the contents of your bins and boxes.