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.


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.