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A to Z guide on waste - B

Some ideas to help you decide what to do with your unwanted items.

Baby clothes, toys and other items

Offer them to friends or family.

Donate good quality items to your local charity shops.

Advertise baby clothes, toys and other related items on your local Freecycle or Freegle network.

Sell second hand or unwanted items via free ads in your local newspaper, at car boot sales or on websites.

Take unwanted items to textile banks at your local recycling centres or household waste recycling centres.

Bags (plastic)

Use your own shopping bags which can carry more and are sturdier. Opt for a 'bag for life' that can be reused every time you go shopping.

Use them for bike seat covers or as bin liners in your house.

Check if your local charity shop or second hand bookstore can reuse them.

Use old shopping bags for your next shop.

Some large supermarkets offer a bag recycling service.


Is it necessary to replace the entire suite? It may just require updating with new taps and fittings.

If it's in good condition or of architectural value you may be able to sell it or donate it to charity.

Your local household waste recycling centre will accept minor pieces of a bathroom suite but won't accept an entire suite.

To dispose of an entire suite it is advisable to hire a skip from a reputable company. See our Trusted Trader directory or our business waste guide attached to this page.

Batteries (household and car)

Use electrical mains or rechargeable batteries where possible.

Buy appliances that do not need batteries such as solar powered calculators, wind-up radios or torches or appliances with rechargeable batteries, for example cameras.

Find recycling boxes for batteries in electrical stores, libraries, supermarkets and stores selling batteries.

Household and car batteries can be recycled at our household waste recycling centres. Some district or borough councils offer a kerbside collection for batteries.

Beds and bedding

Old blankets can be offered to animal welfare charities. Bedding can be used as dust sheets when painting.

Beds can be offered to furniture reuse projects. When donating to furniture projects all upholstered items must have a current fire retardant label.

Good quality bedding may be accepted by furniture projects who help vulnerable people set up home.


Sell your old bikes online, at a car boot sale or advertise them in the Free Ads in your local paper.

Donate to Bike Back Derby, a charity who refurbish unwanted bikes and sell back at a low cost. Or donate to your local charity shop (check with the shop first).

Offer unwanted items to your local Freecycle or Freegle network.

Repair shops may buy good condition bikes back.

Advertise them on your local community noticeboard.

Take them to household waste recycling centres.

Board games

Donate old board games to charity shops, residential homes or social clubs.

Sell them online on websites like eBay or give them away for free on Freecycle or Freegle.


You can download ebooks or audio books to ebook readers and smartphones. Our libraries offer a free ebook service.

Let family or friends borrow your books.

Donate your unwanted books to local charity shops.

Sell your old books at second hand book shops, car boots, jumble sales or on internet auction sites.

Take them to the media banks at our household waste recycling centres.

Rip pages out and add them to your compost bin. Some book covers can make decorative covers for notebooks.

Books cannot be recycled in paper factories because of the glue that binds them.


Please see shoes under A to Z guide on waste - S.

Bottles and jars (glass)

Buy bigger size products where possible - they last longer and there are often refill options available.

Consider buying concentrates - concentrated products such as juice drinks can reduce packaging by over 50%.

Use glass jars as storage containers for homemade jam or chutney.

Glass jars can make decorative tea light holders when painted.

Recycle clean bottles and jars in your kerbside recycling scheme. Contact district or borough councils for more information about what you can recycle at your kerbside. Take clean bottles and jars to recycling banks where available. They can also be recycled at our household waste recycling centres.

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be endlessly reprocessed with no loss of quality. Recycling 2 bottles saves enough energy to boil enough water for 5 cups of tea.


Bric-a-brac is the name given to a collection of small items that have been collected for their antiquity, sentimental or decorative qualities. You can donate or sell unwanted items, or take them to household waste recycling centres.


Bricks can be reused in the garden or to build an outdoor barbecue. Offer them on your local Freecycle or Freegle network, in the free ads section of your local newspaper, or on a local community noticeboard.

Donate bricks to a local charity building project.

Household waste recycling centres accept bricks.


Buy good quality paint brushes which will last longer if cared for properly.

Use old brushes as cleaning tools to clean hard to reach areas.

Brush handles can be reused with a new head.

Bubble wrap

Use old bubble wrap for transporting delicate items, donate it to your local craft shop or potters or use it as insulation.

Building waste

Good quality bricks and stone can be reused in the garden.

Scrap metal can be sold.

Household waste recycling centres accept small amounts of certain types of building waste. For large quantities see our Trusted Trader directory or our business waste guide attached to this page.

Bulky household refuse

You can take some bulky household refuse to our household waste recycling centres.

You can arrange collection with district or borough councils.

Business waste

The Environment Agency offers support and advice on the latest regulations and environmental news.

The Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) encourages and advises businesses on how to start recycling at work.

The Carbon Trust supports the development of low carbon technologies and helps businesses cut carbon emissions.