Local authorities are reportedly spending more that £67m every year to tackle fly-tipping. So how hard is it for you to dispose of your household waste?
Every morning on my way to work, I walk past a plane tree that’s sat in the middle of a walled raised bed. At one point, it probably looked smart.
Now though it’s used as a dumping ground for any old rubbish that people can throw on it – broken bits of fence, garden waste, random bits of plastic that could certainly be recycled, obsolete electricals, and bags of clothes and kids’ toys that have been rifled through and scattered.
No sooner is it cleared away, a fresh pile appears.
If I go a different route, a mattress, sofa or TV will have invariably been propped against a wall or dumped on the pavement.
Late last year, a ripped-out kitchen took up a section of the path for several weeks. As me and my dad, who was visiting, sidestepped it, I lamented that fly-tipping seemed to be on the increase in the area.
Turns out I was right – welcome to Haringey, reportedly the fly-tipping capital of Britain.
But this isn’t just a local problem. Fly-tipping across the whole of the UK is now said to be reaching crisis point, with local authorities apparently spending more than £67m every year dealing with the problem.
So why is it on the increase? Well, many are putting it down to the reduced frequency of household rubbish collections, which local councils introduced a few years back to encourage more recycling.
In Haringey, it’s every two weeks for the main bin (non-recyclable) and every week for the recycling and food bins. But in other parts of the country, it’s every three weeks.
Then there’s the fact that some councils have been increasing fees or introducing new ones for various types of waste disposal, both kerbside and at recycling centres.
In West Oxfordshire, my parents are about to start paying £30 a year for their green waste bin to be collected every fortnight. Small fry, but it’s a service that was once free.
In certain areas, tightened budgets have reduced opening times at local tips and some being closed altogether. And for some, this can mean a 40-mile trip to visit the nearest recycling centre.
On the other side of the fence is commercial waste disposal. In some areas, businesses and tradespeople are experiencing a 15% increase in waste-disposal charges and have effectively been banned from household recycling centres.
Adding to the problem are those who collect waste for profit, offering to remove your rubbish, but then some are found to illegally fly-tip it. That’s why you should always check their waste carriers licence before you part money for this service.
If waste disposal facilities and services continue to be reduced, then I can’t help thinking that the problem is going to get worse. I also wonder if councils are spending more on clearing up illegally dumped waste than they would on offering more regular bin collections and easier, cheaper ways to get rid of larger items?
Are you finding it more difficult to dispose of your rubbish or are you being charged more to do it? Have you noticed an increase in fly-tipping in your area?