/ Home & Energy

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.

Member

We rarely have more than 2 small bags of general waste that the rubbish collectors just lift out instead of tipping the bin into the lorry. The other week they left a note telling us not to put food waste in the bin, which we never do, and lo and behold they left us with a bag of dog poo in the bottom of the bin.

Member

Darren – Did Alfa say her bin was on a public footpath? It could have been left, as ours are, on the driveway. I regard the waste bins as ours because so long as we are responsible for them we take care of them. I clean them, wash them out, and generally look after them and I wouldn’t want some one else’s dogs droppings deposited in any of our bins, especially not the recycling or garden waste bins, just because I hadn’t pulled the bin in soon enough after emptying – the erratic timetable of the refuse operation makes it impossible to coordinate this sometimes.

Member

Retailers already contribute to the cost of recycling electrical goods or to have their own take back scheme and no doubt the cost is passed on to customers: https://www.gov.uk/electricalwaste-producer-supplier-responsibilities/your-responsibilities Garages charge their customers for disposal of used oil, tyres, etc. Fast food companies have contributed to the cost of cleaning up the rubbish that accumulates near their outlets, though this is generally voluntary. We are partly there and I believe that councils should be working hard to provide cost effective solutions to ensure that domestic waste is not allowed to get out of hand.

Fly tipping of contractors’ waste to avoid disposal charges could be dealt with by introducing charges on building materials and facilitating disposal at no charge to businesses. In the meantime, anyone who is having a new kitchen or windows fitted should be encouraged to check that their contractor is licensed to dispose of waste. I used to receive a magazine published by the Environment Agency and that included considerable information about the problem and of prosecutions for fly-tipping.

On a positive note, the problem of old cars abandoned in lay-bys seems to have disappeared, at least in the region where I live.

Member

We must put our bins outside our property for them to be emptied. They litters the roads, but then it speeds up collection. If any of you have followed a bin lorry down a suburban street you’ll appreciate any means to speed the process up.

When was young the bin men used to collect the bins from behind our house, and return them. Those were the days when someone filled up your car with petrol and wiped your windscreen before taking your cash while you sat in the warm glow of your vehicle.

Member

When I was young the dustcart was pulled by a horse. At the end of the round the horse and leading truck were detached and they trotted off to the stables. A bit later mechanical horse [a three-wheeled Scammell Scarab tractor] coupled up to the cart and took it to the waste destructor. By 1963 the horses had been replaced by Fordson Major agricultural tractors but some of the staff were still being paid a weekly bonus for looking after the horses. The neighbouring borough had Shelvoke & Drewry side-loading tipper wagons which looked very modern. In those days most waste was ash so refuse vehicles did not have to be enormous and block the whole street.

Member

I cannot remember early dustcarts but when I was young we had a galvanised steel dustbin and very occasionally used a smaller bin marked ‘Egg preserving pail’, of unknown pedigree.

For the past fifteen years we had scrap collector with a horse and cart and it was interesting to see what was on board. In addition to the obligatory rusty old bikes there was alway one or two washing machines or driers, often looking as if they had come straight from the showroom.

Member

Councils that organise regular fly-tipping clear-ups don’t seem to have cleaner districts than others. Once people know that certain places will be cleared weekly the fly-tip becomes an established feature. This problem is not confined to inner London boroughs. Where we live in Norfolk the nearest town suffers from lots of local dumping. The district council and the housing association that manages many of the properties both carry out frequent scavenging but within a day of clearing a dumping spot stuff builds up again – old furniture, appliances, DIY waste, and all the usual rubbish. This is probably because the charge for a special collection is now unaffordable for a lot of residents and the limitations on how many items you can get rid of on one collection are too restrictive. Areas with a higher than average turnover of residents and tenancies seem to suffer more than other areas.

It seems to me that a lot of the rubbish that the council has to pick up from dump sites is potentially recyclable – not in the sense of being reusable in its original form, but it can be taken apart and the different elements put in the relevant recycling streams for re-processing. Even old furniture and upholstery can be turned into something useful. The problem is that doing so is labour and energy intensive. I used to think it could be taken to prison workshops where labour is plentiful and human energy is abundant but I expect there are objections to such an idea.

I have never liked the idea of fortnightly collections for putrescible waste, especially in the warmer months. Missing a collection due to a holiday can mean stuff sitting in the wheelie bin for an extended period giving rise to unpleasant smells and creatures. I thought local authorities were going to be told to revert to weekly collections for putrescible waste or introduce a weekly food collection via a kitchen caddy scheme, but this hasn’t happened in most areas.

I hired a 3 cu mtr skip last summer to get rid of some furniture, carpet left-overs, household effects, garden waste [old pots, tubs, etc] and lots of stuff that had been hanging around in case it might be useful one day – timber, bricks, half-used bags of sand, and shed junk. I forget how much it cost exactly – it was a three-figure sum but a very satisfying and effective way to have a clear-out. We filled the skip in two days and it was taken away promptly.

Melanie – Haringey is always depicted as such a desirable suburb with lots of media types, well-known names from TV, film and the stage, many creative professionals, and such highly sought-after locations as Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Highgate, there has to be a downside: it’s just a little bit untidy perhaps in places. You can’t have everything!

Member

Yes, there are quite a few famous faces in the borough, @johnward. And it’s definitely become a lot more untidy in recent years.

Odd that you should mention Muswell Hill. I once walked past a house there where the occupants were clearly moving out. They’d put out a load of kids’ toys on the pavement, one being a good-as-new plastic easel. I asked whether they were throwing it away and if I could have it for my friend’s three-year-old. They were only too happy for me to take it, so I dragged it back on the bus and, after spraying it with disinfectant, gave it to my friend’s little girl. She was well chuffed with it.

Her mum, on the other hand, asked me to keep it in my shed. 😂

Member

Councils have a contract with the householder to collect the refuse, if they do not remove the refuse the house holder
can take the council to the Magistrates Court by virtue of the 1936 Public Health Act and the successor legislation that incorporates the 1936 Public Health Act, and get a court order against the council.

[Sorry, this comment has been edited to align with our Community Guidelines. https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, mods.]

Member

[Sorry, John. Your comment has been removed due to the above being edited. Thanks, mods.]

Member
Andrew Simpson says:
23 February 2017

I live in Caerphilly Borough and have no complaints with the weekly/fortnightly collections. However I feel that their charges for collecting larger objects might be counter productive but would need to see their collection costs v fly tipping costs.

The waste centres are privately owned and are clean and accessible with helpful staff.

Member

John makes a good point about food waste only being collected at two week intervals. Compostable food bags help to keep bins clean. Where I live they are available free of charge, but have to be collected from a library or recycling centre. Where I used to live, they were provided by the refuse collectors. They are available in shops for anyone who runs out of bags or if they are not provided by the council.

The local recycling centre will accept most waste, though they told me to take a piece of asbestos to larger centre. The site is well organised and the staff helpful.

I agree with Ian that it would be helpful if councils would make arrangements to collect large items a couple of times a year.

Member

Our food waste is collected weekly. Other waste on a 2 weekly cycle. It works well. We have to buy compostable food waste bags – why not? Just what do we expect scarce council money to be spent on. Just as moving large items – I do not wee why we expect this to be a “free” service – absorbing council funds that are better spent on social care, for example, or pot hole repairs. Maybe we need a council scheme to help those who cannot afford to dispose of goods, but the rest of us who have the means should pay to get rid of our own discarded items. As for surcharging goods when we buy them to pay for recycling, I would have thought business rates would be used to deal with that.

Member

Malcolm – I did not suggest that large items should be collected free of charge, but it would be more efficient for councils to arrange periodic collection of large items in an area rather than for them to respond to individual requests for a collection.

Contractors and other companies have to pay for disposal of waste and a minority save money by fly-tipping. A surcharge on new products and materials could fund free disposal, but no doubt other strategies could be used to tackle the problem.

Member

I once lived in an area where the council put 2 giant skips in the road twice a year so residents could dispose of all their large waste. You had to be quick though as they were soon full but it seemed a good idea at the time.

Member

One council I knew of in London did a similar thing with a fleet of dustcarts covering a grid of streets. They would announce a Saturday for their Operation Muckrake, or whatever they called it, so that residents could put out their junk, scrap, unwanted relatives, etc, and the vehicles and a team of operatives would process along the street, gather up the spoil, take it back to the depot, and return for more. It seemed to generate a community festival spirit so the bunting would go up, children would throw their old scooters in the back of the wagons, husbands, wives and civil partners would all embrace and dance a merry jig, and happy grand-dads would cartwheel down the pavements as they saw their ancient items thrown away, all followed by an ox-roast in the street and a burst on a rescued banjo to celebrate the day.

Member

LOL !!!!
🤸🏻🎼🤹🏻🎼🎸👯

Member

Sounds like another rubbish street party John.

Some people will never pay for anything if they can avoid it. Dumped rubbish will remain a fact of life, just like litter. Fining those few who are caught seems the only solution. Even naming them seems pointless as few people read local newspapers.

Our council has a removal service for bulky items like beds and domestic appliances – up to 3 for £38, and a maximum of 9 for £108. Discount for those on benefits. These seem reasonable charges. Alternatively you can take them for free to their Household Waste and Recycling Centre (perhaps adding a coffee lounge and a recycled shop would add to their attraction).

I have a fairly £worthless but very useful old Espace, take the seats out, load it up with rubbish (family and friends – for, not with) and take it down to our local tip. One day I’ll have to leave it there.

Member

I presume that these skips were phased out because the councils realised that they were responsible for health & safety and sooner or later someone will be injured as a result of skip-diving.

Alfa’s off with the emojis again. Next it will be poetry, perhaps ‘Ode to a skip’.

Member

Where I used to live, the council would collect five large items free of charge, but only once a year and additional collections cost £21. Ten miles away, under a different council, the charge is £30 for five items. These charges seem very reasonable.

Member

LOL !!!
I will think about a poem, meanwhile you might like this one ….
https://www.poetrysoup.com/poem/ode_to_a_skip_500462

Member

That’s rubbish. 🙂 You can do better than that.

Member

ROFL !!!

I’ll see what bits and pieces I can scrap together but it might refuse to unclutter and just be a load of garbage.

Member

Here in the wilds of Snowdonia the local village councils operate somewhat subversively by furtively organising a giant walk-in skip for the surrounding farms / houses / caves etc. This is never advertised in advance, the logic being that if they did it might be used, but tiny communities being what they are word often leaks out and by the time the SS Garbage docks on the mountain there’s normally enough folk hidden in the woodwork who emerge, Magicicada-like, with prescient forethought and a boot-load of garbage.

It’s an interesting event, since I suspect as much gets taken out and used as gets dumped within. In many ways it’s the ultimate recycling event, but it sems the villages have to pay the county council for the service.

Member

As nobody has mentioned it I will do so , there are councils who don’t have local plants to deal with separated waste but it costs in transportation to send it 20/30 miles away , some in Scotland sent it to England .Because of this they just lump the whole lot together and use a single lorry or a small number of lorries therebye saving money and making conscientious householders look very silly . They don’t admit it but it goes on. For those fly-tipping I hope you have shredded all your identification of ANY of your waste , many caught out by local councils and fined.

Member

We are not allowed to put broken glass in our recycling bin, but glass bottles go in the mixed bin that then gets tipped into the recycling lorry. Go figure what happens to it !!!
We always tie them up in a carrier bag and put them on top but they are going to get smashed to bits anyway.

Roadside sorting has to better than chucking everything into one container.
Shredding goes into a paper sack that bird food came in.

Member
bishbut says:
24 February 2017

Many councils are now closing recycling sites to save money so now fly tipping will increase Also some people are just too lazy to do things the way they should and take the easiest option dump the stuff anywhere thats available doing it in out of sight places Some will not pay to dispose of anything but dump them in a quiet close by place Unless the penalties for fly tipping are made very high indeed people will continue to dump anything A mandatory prison sentence would be a good thing to begin with

Member

Penalties for fly-tipping should include permanent confiscation of the vehicle.

Member

If all rubbish that can’t go in normal kerbside collections could only be collected through your local council at reasonable costs, it would then become illegal to employ fly-tippers.

The council could then farm out collections to anyone with a suitable vehicle who registers with them. People have paid fly-tippers to remove rubbish, so pay the council who then pay the collectors.

Member
GlenandGlen says:
25 February 2017

In the East Midlands disposing of rubbish, other than in the wheelie bin, has become increasingly difficult thanks to the obstructive short-sighted actions of some councils. In Leicestershire a charge is levied per item such as tiles, bathroom items etc taken to the tip. In parts of Nottinghamshire, you can only use the tip if you are a local resident. (Licence plate recognition is used to check). So what will people do? Fly tip! The ability to look at the ‘big picture’ and recognise the impact of their action seems to be sadly lacking amongst our local elected members. They seem unable to see (obvious) links between charges to use tips and the cost of dealing with fly-tipping.

Member
anne tyler says:
25 February 2017

Our council charges businesses to dump rubbish. Businesses already pay council tax which should be sufficient to cover dumping their rubbish.
Small businesses, with little more rubbish than you would get from a family home are expected to employ waste disposal companies at exorbitant cost.
The local recycling dump only allows 1 bag of DIY rubbish from householders.
My nearest recycling dump in Monmouthshire, does not allow householders from Gwent to dump their rubbish. My nearest Gwent recycling centre is 4 times further away. Needless to say, being eco friendly – I discretely dump my stuff at my nearest dump.
I have suggested to my local council that it would be more cost effective to allow their dumps to be used at zero cost to reduce fly tipping. They do not seem to understand that it is their policy that increases fly tipping.

Member

Some businesses produce a lot more waste than others, so rather than penalise the small wasters it doesn’t seem unreasonable if you pay for what you waste.

Member

Just to make clear, businesses don’t pay council tax set by their local authority. They pay non-domestic rates [business rates] that are set by the government at at a uniform level and levied according to their rateable value [the current controversy is because rateable values have fallen out of line with commercial rents]. Business rates are not related in any way to services supplied and the revenue goes to the government before being redistributed to local councils, some of which do not get back all they collect on behalf of the government. So waste disposal has to be paid for as a business expense like office cleaning or stationery or insurance. This is to encourage businesses to minimise their waste and try to reuse or recycle waste.

Member

I sometimes stay in a holiday let owned by a friend. The bins are marked ‘business waste’. I don’t know if that is normal practice.

Member

Where we stay in Devon in a holiday home the refuse is not collected by the council, but by a private contractor. The let is treated as a business, quite correctly in my view.

Member

I don’t disagree but perhaps it would be more efficient for the business to pay the council to include the property in its collection round.

Member

Businesses have a choice and perhaps the commercial waste contractor charges less than the council would; the council has to employ a contractor and then pay to administer that contract. Of course, it would be more efficient if the same contractor carried out both operations but I doubt if that ever happens because there are different rules applying to municipal waste and other waste. I don’t know the details but it might have something to do with landfill tax or environmental protection and pollution control.

After collection by the local council, municipal waste is handed over to the county council or multi-district waste authority for disposal whereas waste collected by contractors under commercial contracts can be dealt with by the contractor in whatever way it likes within the law. A commercial waste contractor might engage in more sorting and separation for salvage or recycling than is possible with municipal waste which [apart from householder-separated recycling waste] generally goes unsorted direct to landfill or incineration.

It is almost certain that small businesses operating from homes or small premises introduce their waste into the household refuse collection arrangements. Much of it might be recyclable waste which the local authority is quite happy to accept as it will boost its recycling performance and generate additional income.

Member

Community projects can benefit from landfill tax via Wren grants, providing that they are within ten miles of a landfill site: http://www.wren.org.uk

Member
Adrian Waller says:
25 February 2017

It doesn’t help when councils (like Nottinghamshire) no longer allow people from over the border to use their facilities. We are approximately equidistant from our Yorkshire/ Notts sites but the Notts site is at our nearest local town so recycling can be dropped off on the way shopping etc. Our Yorks site involves a special journey as it is on the way to nowhere, so wasting fuel and negating the good being done by recycling. I don’t fly tip but I’m afraid things I used to recycle now go in the bin for landfill – I contacted my MP to try to get some joined up thinking but all he got was a semi literate response from the Chief Executive of Bassetlaw Council addressed to the wrong person!

Member

Adrian, that is particularly silly. How do they know where you are from? Do you have to take identification?

Member

We had an annual permit where I used to live. Some councils issue residents with undated permits. Where I live now, the council does not issue permits. Maybe there is a logical reason.

Member

My local fox, clever animal that, has decided for me that my rubbish/recycle is now taken directly to the tip. It would seem, though, that if I can lift it, they’ll take it. Things like trees are removed by a local firm…with a licence.

Member

Maybe it’s time to repeat a plea that bin colours and what we can put in them are standardised in the UK. I am NOT suggesting that existing bins are scrapped but these could be labelled with a secure coloured plastic clip fitted to the handle to match whichever colour becomes the standard for a particular type of waste.

Many of us visit friends and family in other parts of the country and can easily put things in the wrong bin out of habit. When I visit some people I have to remember that glass – one of the easiest materials to recycle – is not collected. It has to be taken to a recycling point and I have little doubt that most of it lands up in the black, green or red bin, whichever is used locally for non-recyclable materials. 🙁

Member

The refusal to remove glass items Wavechange is due to Heath+Safety regulations pertaining to refuse collection this was pointed out to me by my local county council , he said the collectors could be injured by broken glass. Officially glass is re-cycled , unofficially — your right , depends on the council.

Member

I have seen that explanation on some councils’ websites but many councils do collect glass, either in the recycling bin or in a separate box. I’m not saying one system or another is right but some standardisation would not come amiss.

Member

Our council collects glassware in both the general waste bin and the recycling bin. Broken glass bottles and jars can be put in the recycling bin also. if we do dispose of broken glass we wrap it well in newspaper in the general waste.

Member

It’s a good idea, but that’ll be around 110 million stick on plastic labels. For the number of people who may get confused I’d suggest that would be a disproportionate response. We have an annual waste calendar from the council giving instructions as to what waste to put in each bin (we have 5) and changes to collection dates at holiday times. Have that on your kitchen noticeboard for unaccompanied visitors.

Member

Our council has managed to produce a three-year calendar so I can now see which bin to put out on which day in 2019. How’s that for saving money?! Presumably in the event of a royal funeral or coronation a special edict will be issued to amend the arrangements.

I have noticed in various neighbouring authorities that they are standardising on black or dark grey bins for all purposes but having different coloured lids. This does look better on the street before and after the emptying but I believe in one area they found that the lids they bought did not fit all the bins. And the confusion over which colour applies to which contents remains unresolved. Only local government could make such a simple operation as waste disposal so complicated.

Member

Just be grateful that they have stayed with the Gregorian calendar.

Having single-colour bins with different lids or markers makes sense. Maybe we need Chameleon Bins™ that will blend in with greenery, brick walls, etc.

Member

In my experience, glass is recycled where bins or boxes are used but not where recycling bags are used.

As Duncan said, I believe this has some basis from heath & safety, e.g. where the contents of a bin or recycling bag cannot be seen, there is a non-trivial risk of injuries such as glass cuts, if a bag is swung so that it accidentally sweeps across a bin person’s leg (or other body part).

Member

That makes sense but some councils don’t allow glass to be put in bins. Here is an example: http://www.highland.gov.uk/info/1063/rubbish_-_household_waste/137/what_you_can_put_in_your_bins

Member
Jenny says:
25 February 2017

Hasn’t anyone noticed the grossly increased amount of packaging that is wrapped around household itenms and foodstuffs bought from shops, supermarkets and online? Everything tightly sealed inside double or triple layers of plastic and cardboard! Surely the shops spermarkets and fast food outlets etc could be charged a disposal tax for unsolicited and unecessary packaging?

Member

I bought a holdall at Argos some years ago, it came off the conveyor wrapped in polythene but the girl at the counter still asked me if I wanted it put in a bag. I pointed out to her that it was a bag and that it was already in a bag but I don’t think she quite got it.

Member

I can never remember [or be bothered to look up] where to put paper shreddings. I seem to recall at our previous house it had to go in the general rubbish bin because it was no use for recycling but then there was a change of policy which depended on which waste processing plant the local authority delivered the waste to according to which part of the county the property was in. I haven’t changed my policy and still put it all in the general rubbish bin.

If modern vacuum cleaners can reduce the fluff and dust collected to a pellet or plug it occurred to me that we ought to be able to do something similar with household rubbish. Our general waste bin is rarely more than one-third full as we don’t generate much non-recyclable waste. A simple compaction machine, either manually or electrically operated, could compress all our weekly waste into a 25cm cube and spin a bio-degradable wrapping around it. This would be easier and neater to put out for collection and would speed up the process as there would be no need to return bins to each property. Perhaps it would not be suitable for landfill disposal.

Member

My council says to wrap shredded paper in newspaper or wrapping paper. I sometimes put it in a cardboard box.

Member

I believe all our wheelie bins were made in Germany. As refuse collectors don’t treat them too well they do need periodic replacement.

With around 24 million dwellings in the UK and having to stand on our own feet in the future, the government could do well to support/invest in a bin/plastic recycling and manufacturing plant in an area where jobs are badly needed.

Then wavechange might get his national colour scheme. 😡🤢💩

Member

That’s a good idea. Deducting flats and other places where communal bin schemes are in operation, there are about 20 million properties each with a minimum of two bins plus about a quarter with a garden waste bin. At a replacement rate of (say) every fifteen to twenty years on average, plus provision for new properties, there is probably a requirement for three million or so new bins a year plus spare parts [wheels, lids] which would make a worthwhile output for a factory. There is also a considerable demand for the small food waste bins and kitchen caddies. Perhaps we could also have a smaller UK size for general rubbish in order to encourage recycling.

Member
Alan Bromley says:
26 February 2017

People who are less well off, and who often don’t have access to a vehicle, can’t afford the cost of having large household items taken away by the council, which is why they end up in the garden (front or back) or dumped in the street. In Brighton, things are put by the large black communal bins, which seems logical to me since the council is obliged to remove them and it’s free as a result. Fly tipping from vehicles is inexcusable though.

Member

Our council gives discounts to those on income-related benefits. That no doubt helps many (if they know about it).

Member

The other side of that is people who will drive miles into the countryside to dump something they could just as easily take to the council dump/re-cycling centre.

I have been known to forage fly tipping for firewood although technically I believe it is theft.

Member

Councils need to take some responsibility for the increase in fly tipping. West Sussex and Surrey Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRSs) have recently introduced charges for householders to dispose of many DIY by-products. Not that I would mind paying a nominal amount for this service, but why should I pay £4 to dispose of each small rubble bag of plasterboard offcuts, having already taken the trouble to deliver it to the nearest HWRS that can accept plasterboard (over 10 miles way in my case)?

Plasterboard is inert and can be recycled or safely sent to dedicated landfill cells (effectively where it came from in the first place). However, gypsum mustn’t come into contact with organic materials, like food scraps or soil, so why encourage unscrupulous householders and tradesmen to dispose of it in a non-ecofriendly way, which also ends up costing councils more to clean up?

Bonkers policy!

Member

Often those who are charged with making decisions do not understand the consequences of their actions.

Member

To maximise the amount of stuff like plasterboard you are allowed to dispose of, you can always use a pop-up garden bag something like this:
http://www.screwfix.com/p/pop-up-garden-bag-690-x-560mm/10171 . We got ours from Lidl and it can be emptied and reused many times.
Purpose-bought rubble sacks don’t hold anywhere near as much and as long as the allowed width doesn’t exceed the diameter, there’s not a lot they can say.

Member
Amy Woods says:
25 September 2017

That’s a great idea – just found one that may work for me that can hold 170 litres. https://www.toolstation.com/shop/p19491

Member
john crane says:
26 February 2017

1/ My guess is it probably costs almost as much to clear up after fly tipping, plus any land owner, be it a small private dwelling or large landowners then they are responsible for the cost of clear up.

2/ I think that the problem will escalate as more rubbish is dumped and people begin to care less about our environment and communities especially as local budgets are squeezed.

Member
Gerard Phelan says:
26 February 2017

These differing ‘standards’ of waste disposal are not laid down by God in heaven or imposed as a punishment from his nemesis below. We could do things differently if we CHOOSE to do so, just as the recent referendum showed, it IS possible to change long standing ways of living.

When visiting friends in a suburb of Düsseldorf, Germany, I was shocked to see piles of furniture, kitchen units, plasterboard and similar rubbish on some corners of the tree and grass lined roads. My friends were bemused by my surprise. Every month their local council would collect ‘anything’ from designated places and I was visiting on one of the days that rubbish could be put out.

Member

“not laid down by God in heaven”. Well, I’m not so sure. One of the Household Waste and Recycling Centres not too far away from us is named High Heavens.

Member
ronnies says:
26 February 2017

No one seems to have mentioned 2 very basic ways of recycling: compost bins (ideal for shredded paper & most of the more smelly disposals) and freecycle for more or less anything from the odd chair to offcuts of carpet, sideboards to magazines, tractor tyres to mattresses and the donee normally collects. In Bath the Council presently collects weekly – cans and plastics in the box, newspapers separated in a bag, bottles separated, clean clothing, shoes, small electrical goods – cardboard and tetrapacks in a big blue bag and waste food not suitable for composting wrapped in newspaper or plastic bags in a black caddy. We have number plate recognition at the local tip, where I take larger garden donations & rubble collected from my very stony allotment.. For all that, the footpath opposite my house is regularly used for fly tipping, even objects that could easily be put out for collection. At the Keynsham tip they have regular sales of furniture etc salvaged from the tip.

Member

I wonder how legal number plate recognition is, given that councils can no longer use CCTV/ANPR in their car parks to handle charges and penalty notices?

Member

I think number plate recognition systems at waste disposal sites should possibly only be used for the detection of misuse by commercial users, not to stop citizens from depositing household waste – that was never the intention of the original legislation. Why should anyone have to take waste further than necessary? Surely, in most county and joint waste authority areas, a degree of reciprocation should apply so that the cross-boundary flows balance out.

Like Malcolm I question the legality of using ANPR systems in this context, and how does it deal with people who borrow a relative’s larger car, or hire a van if they want to get rid of a large item like a bed or a wardrobe, or if they are disposing of something from their second home? Organisations that have the power to make rules never cease inventing new ones, and then they employ jobsworths to enforce them.

Member

I see there is an article on the BBC News website this morning about the variation in recycling arrangements and recycling rates across the country, in response to a report by Keep Britain Tidy. Read more here ~
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-39079272

The article says “Household recycling levels are too low in England because council schemes are too confusing, campaigners claim. Keep Britain Tidy (KBT) says at least 300 systems are in use and government figures show one council’s recycling rate is just 15%, with an England average of 43.9%. KBT is urging the government to create a national ‘recycling blueprint’.“.

One of the problems with looking at recycling as a percentage of waste collected by local council is that it ignores the volumes of material that are taken to charity shops, recycling centres, and bottle banks etc that would otherwise have ended up in the bin. Some areas have a better record on this than others so some of the criticism of the low levels of recycling might not be fully justified [although I suspect the worst authorities cannot plead that excuse and their poor performance is because they don’t take recycling seriously enough and facilitate it].

Member

Tetra Paks must have the worst record for recycling and I can imagine a huge percentage go to landfill.

Do any councils accept them in household collections? Some areas don’t even have collection points for them. If people use a lot of them like we do with milk substitutes, chances are they might try and recycle them, but for the odd orange juice, they are likely to end up in general waste. And there will be a lot of ‘odd’ fruit juices consumed around the country.

This is one area where a national scheme is badly needed. There was only one collection point near us until recently and it was always overflowing. The container often didn’t get emptied for weeks at a time and you often saw people leaving taking their cartons with them that might have ended up in general household waste.

Fabric recycling is another area that needs looking at. Only good quality or pairs of shoes seem to be wanted. What about all the fabric and shoes that have no use left in them? Surely they can be turned into something else?

Member

TetraPaks are accepted in the recycling bin in Norfolk. I presume they sort them out and process them differently at the plant.

I can understand shoes being a difficult commodity to recycle or reuse, especially with the modern types that are made of bits and pieces of weird and wonderful materials.

Textiles are widely accepted by charity shops even if they are not complete garments as they can be sold to rag merchants for reprocessing. Textile recycling banks seem to have unjustified restrictions, possible because all they want is stuff they can push into a container and send to a developing country. I expect my Harris Tweed sports jackets are the hot property in the tropics.

Member

I read recently that Norwich City Council will collect small electrical appliances if left in a standard carrier bag alongside the recycling bin on collection day, and will also collect any sort of textiles which if they cannot be reused are sold for reprocessing, the fabric for upholstery padding, insulation and industrial blankets. They will also take shoes but don’t say what they can do with unusable ones.

Member

John, your Harris Tweed jacket could have been sold twice after you donated it for free.

I once watched a video of what happened to garments left in a textile recycling bank. They went to a sorting depot owned by someone with a very nice house and car, sorted into bundles and shipped and sold to a receiver dripping in gold somewhere in Africa. The receiver then sold them to market sellers who looked like they were the ones who needed new clothes. A very small donation went to charity.

I haven’t put anything in those banks since but we can also leave textiles and small electricals on our bins now and good clothes go to a charity shop.