Reduce, reuse and recycle

Recycling and reducing the amount we throw away helps the environment and saves us money.

Many of the small lifestyle changes we make in our homes and gardens can have a big impact.

Reducing waste

Top tips on reducing the amount of waste and recycling we put in our bins:

  • Buy items with less packaging, for example buy fruit and vegetables loose or choose refillable options for soaps or detergents.
  • Choose items that can be reused, such as canvas shopping bags or rechargeable batteries.
  • Stop unwanted junk mail via the Mail Preference Service.

You can donate larger items such as furniture or small electrical items to local reuse organisations such as:

You can also give items away using websites such as Bedford Freegle or Freecycle.

Old clothing can be donated to charity for resale, many charities will also accept old worn out clothes for recycling. Please do not place textiles into your orange lidded recycling bin.

Home composting

Home composting is an easy way to reduce the amount of waste thrown into your black lidded bin. By turning your food waste into compost for your garden it provides an environmentally friendly way to improve soil structure and help plants to grow in the garden.

All you need to get started is a somewhere to collect your garden and food waste. A compost bin is ideal but you could also make your own from wire mesh, wood or old pallets. The location is important and the ideal site is in a shady spot on bare soil.

Once you have a structure you can start filling it with organic matter, from veg peelings and coffee grounds to weeds and clippings from the garden. Other items such as egg boxes and clean shredded paper are also important to incorporate air and help the breakdown of the organic matter.

Composting takes around 9 to 12 months and once it has turned into a dark crumbly brown, soil-like material, it is ready to use around the garden.

Visit Recycle Now for more information on home composting and how to get started.

We offer a 330 litre home compost bin at a subsidised price for householders in Bedford Borough.

We also offer a 200litre water butt kit at a subsidised price. Wormeries and a range of composters and composting accessories are also available to purchase but these other items are not subsidised.

Order a composter 

Real nappies

Over 3 billion disposable nappies are thrown away every year in the UK costing councils over £40 million. They take hundreds of years to degrade in landfill.

Real nappies are an environmentally conscious alternative; made of natural cotton, they enable you to wash and reuse nappies again and again.

They will save you money compared to using disposable nappies, up to £500 from birth to potty training.

We offer a £25 cash back scheme for purchases of reusable washable nappies, covers or training pants, or laundry services of over £50.

Simply complete our Real nappies cash back form (PDF) and send to the address provided along with the requested documentation.

If you are considering making the switch to cloth but aren’t sure where to start, then you can now hire some from the Bedfordshire Real Nappy Library and give real nappies a try. Email Bedfordshire Real Nappy Library.

Love Food Hate Waste

We support Love Food Hate Waste, a national campaign which helps save you money and protects the environment by reducing the amount of food which is thrown away.

Visit the Love Food Hate Waste website for advice on reducing food waste, recipe ideas and news.


For information on what can be recycled in your orange lidded bin visit the What goes in each bin page. 

Go to the local recycling sites page to find out about the range of materials accepted for recycling at Bedford Borough’s Household Waste Recycling Centre and at our smaller recycling sites.

Recyclenow explains what happens to your recycling and has tips and advice on reducing waste in the home.