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How easy is it to dispose of your rubbish?

Fly-tipping

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.

Rubbish problems

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.

Waste solutions

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?

Comments
Member

I suspect fly tipping has increased because of the lacklustre response by councils to spring cleaning. We can cope with ease, normally, but when we have a clear out – say, the garage, the loft or one of the sheds – it produces a lot of rubbish, There seems no easy way to get rid of it. Luckily, we have a couple of cars, so can take a lot to the recycling bins at the local supermarket, but if councils were prepared to arrange say – two ‘big’ collections per year then I suspect the problem could be eradicated, or at least diminished.

Member
Rubbishanyone says:
25 February 2017

I agree with you Ian, when I visited Budapest, I saw all sorts of items sitting outside properties and was told that once a year they collect any furniture or items free of charge.
Here in Salisbury, Wiltshire, they have the worst recycling centre I have ever known.
Not more than one vehicle can drive up the single lane ramp at a time.
From the bottom of the ramp you can’t see if there are any of the approximately 8 spaces free, all of which must be reversed into as there’s not enough space to turn around in the narrow access to the bins.
Then the cars and vans queue up creating problems for the businesses along the road that are then hemmed in and I can only presume, lose business because of this dire situation.
No matter how many objections they’ve had over many years they still won’t re-locate the site. Wiltshire Council is not fit for purpose in my opinion and I could go on and on about their inability to take care of this town and surrounds.
Businesses including Charities have to buy a yearly license which only enables them to bring one load a month to the dump.

Member

In my view, the answer to fly-tipping is to place a charge on new materials and products to pay for waste disposal when they are no longer wanted. This already happens with some products such as tyres – sometimes shown on bills as an environmental charge.

Unscrupulous business dispose of large amounts of waste illegally and that could be avoided if there was no disposal charge. That would be fairer to the many companies that do act responsibly.

Member

I would agree with putting a charge on new materials to pay for their eventual disposal. This would sit nicely alongside my proposal to double the VAT on dog food.

Member

Who would get the money if a charge was put on new materials? And would it go to where it was needed or end up in the government pot for future distribution and then not enough money to go around where it is needed?

I thought the levy on tyres, was when you had new ones fitted, you paid I think £10 per tyre for the garage to dispose of your old ones.

Member

You could add a fine for every dog walker not carrying a poop bag as well John.

We seem to have a new dog walker who thinks they can dump their bags in our empty bins if we don’t get them in quick enough after they have been emptied.

Member
Darren Johnstone says:
24 February 2017

Absolutely, a council bin on a public footpath, not sure why you called it your bin.

Member

I think the practicalities of a charge on new purchases to cover disposal costs rule it out. Many people already pay [either directly as an extra charge or indirectly through the purchase price] for the disposal of old appliances, furniture, carpeting, building waste, and so on, so sorting out who should pay and where the money should go would add an administrative cost to the process that would exceed the nett revenue. All these products already carry 20% VAT and we must expect the central government to make fair settlements with local authorities to reallocate a portion of that to waste management and environmental pollution control. Furthermore a lot of household purchases are not replacements but new provision which might not get wasted for many years. Local authorities moan a lot about the cost of scavenging dumped rubbish but it’s probably not a big deal in the overall scheme of things and a regular patrol could, if properly directed, lead to a general improvement in local environments. It’s just one of those annoying things that councils are set up to do, like sweeping the streets, and they should just get on with it. More and better household waste sites and recycling centres would reduce the problem I am sure.

Some councils are more effective than others in dealing with people who do not clean up after their dog has left its business card; councils already have powers to issue fixed penalty notices and to prosecute in cases of persistent violations of the law. I would imagine that a caution and the name in the book would bring about reform in many cases. Mechanical street-sweeping is no doubt more efficient than traditional road-sweepers with a brush, a shovel and a cart but the old system did at least enable the more turdiferous places to be identified and monitored with a view to taking enforcement action.

I agree, Alfa, that some dog owners are not very nice, and even if they do do the responsible thing and bag up their doggy’s doo-doos, some of them just leave it somewhere spoiling the local amenity or, as you say, putting it offensively in someone’s waste bin. These people probably live within a quarter mile but they seem to act furtively so never get noticed. Medieval behaviour survives in some areas unfortunately. As I was walking home yesterday I noticed a plastic bag flapping in the breeze/hurricane in a neighbour’s laurel hedge. It would probably stay there for weeks and be a nuisance for the nesting blackbirds so I pulled it out in order to take it home and pop it in the rubbish bin – only to find [to my horror, as people say on TV] that it was some hound’s ordure that the irresponsible owner had just stuck in the hedge rather than take across the road to the dog waste bin or take home with them. Luckily in my pocket I had a plastic carrier bag [5p in Sainsbury’s; other shops also supply] so I was able to dispose of it properly.