Skip to main content
Luton Borough Council

Reduce, reuse and recycle

On this page...

There are simple things we can all do to cut down on our waste, like buying only the food we need, reducing our plastic usage, saying no to junk mail, and reusing household items and furniture.

Bulky item collections

We offer a standard collection service for bulky items such as:

  • fridge / freezer – please note we are only able to accept domestic appliances
  • home furnishings, some garden furniture and small outdoor toys

Please use our bulky item standard collection form.

Other types of bulky items may be subject to a quotable charge. This will be provided by a supervisor. Such items include (but are not limited to):

  • asbestos
  • bikes, pushchairs and prams
  • builders’ waste
  • car parts
  • carpets, underlay, lino and rugs
  • children's toys and equipment (for example, play house, cot, highchair)
  • DIY waste
  • domestic waste including bags or boxes of waste
  • exercise equipment (excluding running machines and free weights)
  • garden rubbish
  • household items (large/heavy items)
  • household fixtures and fittings

Call 01582 546863 to arrange for a quote.

Back to top 


Following a huge response from our residents, all 1000 compost bins have now been allocated and the offer is now closed but you can still take advantage of our great deal on compost bins.

We have teamed up with Get Composting again to bring you a great deal on compost bins. This year a 220 litre bin will cost you just £6 and a 330 litre bin will cost £8 (plus delivery), which is a massive saving.

Home composting is not only for garden waste but also for many other waste items that can enrich your home made compost including:

  • egg shells
  • coffee grounds
  • vegetable peelings
  • shredded paper

Why make your own compost?

  • on average over a third of all black bin content can be composted
  • composting will reduce the volume of your black bin content – less waste sent to landfill
  • compost improves soil
  • composting saves money – no need to buy peat –based compost
  • and lastly, it is fun, easy and very satisfying!

How to compost

You can place your compost bin anywhere that is convenient to you. It can be placed in the sun but it will also work well in the shade. Composting bins are best when sited on soil but will be fine on the concrete, providing there is some drainage.

The most important thing to do is to mix wet materials (greens) with dry materials (browns):

  • greens – the wet, soft like:
    • fresh uncooked fruit and vegetable peelings
    • garden waste (grass, green leaves, soft pruning)
    • egg shells
    • tea bags
    • coffee grounds
  • browns – dry, harder, absorbent materials such as:
    • bits of cardboard
    • scrunched up or shredded paper
    • loo roll and kitchen towel centres
    • dry leaves
    • small woody prunings
    • wood chipping or sawdust
    • dry plants
    • twigs

Composting is easy and if you get the mixture correct from the start, your composting will just happen and your heap pile will get eaten by the many organisms living in it.

Things to avoid

Make sure you do not put any cooked food in the composting bin like meat, fish, cheese, fats or grease as these can attract unwanted visitors. You cannot compost cat or dog faeces, any diseased plants or perennial weeds. For more information on how to compost at home, check the how to compost guide or visit Royal Horticultural Society.

Back to top 

Donating furniture, clothes and textiles

Pass it on! Give your unwanted items a new home. 

There is always somebody out there who could benefit from your unwanted clothes and other textiles. Instead of just throwing them away, you could donate your items to local charities or groups. Some will even collect for free.
Below is a list of local charity shops operating in Luton, together with locations and contact telephone numbers. If you are a charity and wish to be added to this list, please contact us on 01582 510333.
For more information about donating to charity visit Recycle Now.

Keech Hospice Care Shops

Keech is a local charity with many shops in and around Luton. Find your nearest Keech charity shop.

Noah Enterprises 

Noah offers hope and support to those suffering from homelessness and exclusion. Find out more about Noah Enterprises.

Ummah Welfare Trust

The trust is inspired by the Islamic teachings of empathy, generosity and selflessness. Find out more about the Ummah Welfare Trust.

Salvation Army

Unit 1
26 Cheapside Mall
Arndale Centre
George St
T: 01582 400518

The Salvation Army (Furniture Store)

29 Wellington Street
T: 01582 457638

Age UK

9 Market Square
T: 01582 452999

257 Birdsfoot Lane
T: 01582 572030

The Children's Society (Retail)

186 Marsh Rd
T: 01582 493603


23 Manchester St
T: 01582 415798

British Heart Foundation

70 George St
Luton LU1 2BD T: 01582 482812

British Red Cross

12 – 14 Park Street
T: 01582 455411

Back to top 

Junk mail

Junk mail is considered to be anything that comes through your letter box that you didn't ask for such as:

  • envelopes
  • letters
  • catalogues

Although, junk mail can be recycled it does cause an impact both economically and environmentally. There are a number of ways for you to take action and stop getting junk mail. You can:

  • put yourself on a list to stop getting unwanted post through your letterbox by registering with Mailing Preference Service (MPS).
  • put a letterbox sticker or make a sign on your door saying 'no junk mail'
  • register with the 'your choice scheme' will help reduce the amount of marketing junk mail
  • contact the sender directly
  • when filling in any forms tick (or untick) boxes that you give permission for third parties to contact you

Back to top 

Love food, hate waste

Did you know in the UK £10.2 billion or seven million tonnes of food is thrown out by householders every year? £1 billion of this food is still ‘in date’ and perfectly edible.

Each household throws out an average of £480 worth of food a year. This rises to £680 for a family with children, equivalent to £50 each month or £15,000 to 24,000 over a lifetime. The figures soon add up, and that is a lot of money to be ‘throwing away’!

So, how much are we talking about?

  • over 5 million whole potatoes
  • over 4 million whole apples
  • over 1 million whole and untouched sausages
  • 1 million slices of ham
  • 1 million loaves of bread
  • over 1 million yoghurts and yoghurt drinks
  • 520,000 unused teabags
  • 440,000 home-made and ready-made meals

In Luton more than 30 per cent of the rubbish in our black bins is these types of food waste. Often, throwing away this waste can be avoided, for example egg shells, potato peelings and tea bags can be home composted rather than thrown away. 

Tasty ideas and recipes to help reduce your food bills

We are producing a number of great recipes for you to download using leftovers to make simple, tasty meals. Please come back and visit this page throughout the year as we will be adding more super meal ideas for you and your family to try.

Back to top 

Real nappies

Financial help to buy real nappies – not to be poo pooed at!

If you are an expectant or new parent you can apply for a ‘cash back’ sum of £40 against the purchase of real nappies, and covers from any company, or subscribe to a nappy laundering service subject to proof of purchase, ie till receipts.

The minimum spend on real nappies before qualification for the ‘cash back’ is £50.

For more information on the cash back scheme please contact our waste minimisation officer on 01582 546942 or fill in the real nappies claim form, available below, and send it in to us

Real nappy facts:

  • 8 million disposables are thrown away to landfill every day in the UK
  • parents can save £500 per baby against the cost of disposables
  • real nappies come in funky styles, colours and in lovely natural fabrics

What you may not be aware of is that the world has moved on from the old terries, pins and soaking days. Easy-care, shaped ‘real’ nappies in natural or fleece fabrics, breathable wraps, poppers and Velcro are now the norm.

Back to top  

Recycling resources for schools

Schools education pack

Request our education pack and find a range of fun activities to complete in the classroom. To receive an education pack please contact:

Waste and Resources Officer ( Education)
Steve Lawson
Email: [email protected]

Key stage 1 and 2 materials

For quick exercises, we have fact and activity sheets covering ten topics from the basics of waste to waste electricals and electronic equipment.
Our waste education pack provides a comprehensive collection of information, teaching notes and activity sheets to cover multiple areas of the key stage 1 and 2 of national curriculum.  

Online resources

  • Recycle Now has resources to teach reducing food waste, composting and recycling to pupils including lesson plans in design and technology, science and music, presentations for assemblies, along with games and videos.
  • The Eco-Schools scheme helps schools follow a seven-step process to address a variety of environmental themes to achieve awards can be used to motivate students about recycling.
  • Keep Britain Tidy has resources on recycling including activities, information and teacher resources including suggested links to subjects.
  • The Friends of the Earth website has tips for making your school greener.

Secondary education

  • Recycle Now has a dedicated area for secondary schools with lessons plans, assemblies and school projects all linked to the national curriculum.

Back to top 

Single use plastics

Single use plastics has a damaging effect on our environment, some plastics such as plastic bags can take a 1000 years to break down! It is important that unnecessary plastic production is reduced, increase reuse, and improve recycling.  


  • straws
  • soda and drink bottles
  • coffee stirrers
  • plastic bags
  • food packaging
  • cups
  • plastic cutlery


  • shop consciously
  • carry a reusable water bottle
  • bring your own cup
  • bring your own reusable shopping bag
  • use reusable container for lunch or leftovers
  • say no to disposable straws, plates, bowls, and cutlery
  • use metal cutlery
  • use paper straws
  • bamboo cutlery

Useful links:

  • YPTE - Young peoples trust for the environment

Back to top 

© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ