Last year the UK agreed to meet EU Legislation and set a national target for 50% of waste to be recycled by 2020. Many councils have been pro-active in the campaign, but this has come with consequences as they’re finding they have a backlog of bulky items.

Although waste rubbish collections for landfill are largely unaffected nationwide, the collection of bulky waste such as mattresses and beds, white goods and furniture have fallen behind schedule.
Many councils have employed specialist bulky waste collection companies to take the reins which has managed to reduce the problem. However, a handful of councils are still opting to collect and dispose of their own large waste items. As such, with the additional costs involved of ensuring ethical recycling, these councils are struggling to find the resources to meet the 30,000 plus requests for bulky item collection each year. This means a long waiting list for people to have these items removed. As many households and businesses patiently wait for their items to be collected, others are taking matters into their own hands to get their items moved on, creating additional problems for the councils attempting to improve their green reputation and recycling statistics, fly tipping.

Fly tipping

Many UK councils have been reporting a significant rise in incidences of fly-tipping, with thousands of incidences being reported every month across the country. Whilst some of these incidences may be described as unintended, such as large items being taken outdoors to await the council collection which is behind schedule, many communities are seeing much more deliberate dumping of items. There are unscrupulous people who pose as legitimate and responsible refuse collection operatives who take your money and your waste items and then do not pay to dispose of the items legally but fly tip them and pocket the money. Always make sure if you are paying someone to take away your items that they are a reputable company who will not illegally dispose of your waste.
Unfortunately, fly-tipping requires a huge clean-up campaign which causes another drain council resources as well as causing problems for local communities which are struggling with the effects of fly-tipping such as:

  • Lack of respect for the community and environment
  • Creates dumping grounds in residential areas
  • Health and safety hazards
  • Eyesore
  • Non-environmentally-friendly disposal

Often fly tipped items which could have been recycled originally are in such a poor state of weathering or damage by the time they are removed that they need to be put into landfill instead. With their issue of fly-tipping going viral, the Scottish have created a new name-and-shame website, FlyMapper, being used by local authorities in their continued efforts towards zero waste and zero tolerance of fly-tipping. This idea is yet to be rolled out in England, but the initial success of Scotland’s efforts is helping to stamp out any fly-tipping, and continues to shame any businesses who continue to fly-tip to cut disposal costs.

Our county’s fly-tipping problem can be addressed by taking alternative means other than simply throwing away waste. Currently, local businesses, SME and communities as a whole are being encouraged to seek out substitute actions to get bulky waste, such as furniture, white goods, beds and mattresses recycled promptly and safely. For example, passing on to the less-fortunate via charity furniture shops and social enterprises is becoming more common for many local councils. This allows households to recycle their unwanted bulky items in environmentally friendly and more socially aware way.

Fly Tipping

There are a growing number of ethical recycling companies which are often viewed as being more environmentally friendly, with the added benefit of helping to make small businesses look good by pro-actively seeking out ethical ways to dispose of their waste. Alternatively, there is Freegle, also known as Freecycle in the UK. Freegle is a nationwide online group-based method for passing on household, garden and clothing items via local community groups.

If we all play our part we can help to reduce fly tipping and ensure items that can be recycled and reused don’t end up in end up in landfill.