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Luton Borough Council

Reduce, reuse and recycle


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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

  • if you have steps leading to your property from the public footpath, the items must be placed at the bottom of the steps, at pavement level
  • you must not place items for collection on the public highway, or no more than 5 metres from where the collection vehicle can stop and safely access the item(s)
  • any item(s) which could cause damage to the vehicle compaction equipment will be refused
  • the council assumes no responsibility for damage to the customer’s property when making a collection

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

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
  • builders’ waste
  • car parts
  • carpets, underlay, lino and rugs
  • DIY waste
  • domestic waste including bags or boxes of waste
  • garden rubbish
  • household items (large/heavy items)
  • household fixtures and fittings

Call 01582 510333 to arrange for a quote.

To book a bulky item collection, please complete our online form below.

Bulky item collection form

Please note: at present we are only accepting up to 50 collections per day which may mean you have to wait longer to get a collection date confirmed.

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Period poverty project

Periods are never going to be something discussed over the dinner table, but for 50% of the world’s population they’re a regular occurrence and can be a financial burden.

Find out how to get free, environmentally friendly and reusable sanitary products as a Luton resident.

See the period poverty project page.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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

Swishing, or clothes-swapping is a great way to save money and reduce your impact on the environment. It’s the future for the fashion forward socially responsible consumer who wants to shop ethically and improve their wardrobe at the same time.

Get rid of clothing items that:

  • you no longer wear
  • no longer fit
  • were unwanted gifts
  • were impulse sale item
  • turned out to be unmitigated fashion disasters

The best thing about swishing is that you can improve your wardrobe by exchanging your items for some new outfits.

We will be running a number of swishing events, check our social media and visit to find out when the next one is.

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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

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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.

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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.

Fill in the real nappies claim form below, and send it in to us along with:

  • copies of itemised receipts to a minimum of £50
  • your bank details
  • proof of account

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.

  1. Applications will be accepted from residents of the borough of Luton only. Evidence of this may be requested if it is not shown in the supporting documents provided.
  2. A maximum of one application per child will be accepted from a parent or legal guardian.
  3. The reusable nappies must be purchased by a parent or legal guardian named on the birth certificate or MAT B1 form unless otherwise agreed.
  4. Applications will be accepted for children up to the age of 18 months only.
  5. Proof of purchase must clearly show reusable nappies have been purchased. This can also include reusable nappy accessories but cannot be the sole purchase.
  6. Proof of purchase must be no more than six months old and from an accredited source such as an online or high street retailer.
  7. Second hand nappies are eligible for the scheme if their purchase can be demonstrated by valid documentation such as Paypal or eBay receipt.
  8. Hand written or typed receipts/invoices will not be accepted as valid documentation.
  9. Birth certificates or MAT B1 documents must be legible with no alterations.
  10. Luton Council reserves the right to withhold payment if it is felt that any of the above conditions above have not been satisfied.
  11. Luton Council will not accept responsibility for the loss of any application howsoever caused.

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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.

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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

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© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ