Have you ever thought about where your rubbish really ends up?
Waste crime is the illegal disposal or management of waste, such as fly-tipping and unauthorised waste management services.
This can range from a single bag of rubbish to tipper lorry loads of construction waste – and could all be disposed of via a responsible waste or recycling solution instead.
Fly-tipping is one of the most common environmental crimes
There were over 1 million cases of fly-tipping in the UK in 2019 alone and these numbers continue to soar. Fly-tipping and waste burning has a hugely negative impact on the environment, wildlife and people because the majority of waste crime materials are hazardous or are not biodegradable. In 2019/20, just under two thirds of fly-tipping incidents involved household waste, and the most common volume was equivalent to a small van load. Disposing of household waste illegally is completely unnecessary as there are a range of responsible waste disposal solutions.
Licensed waste carrier operators may still dispose of your waste illegally
In the last year, there has been a surge in underhand waste management operators undercutting lawful waste collection businesses at the expense of landowners, who are left to dispose of the waste responsibly. Earlier this year, a Panorama investigation demonstrated how the government’s licensing system fails to prevent waste removal firms from fly-tipping. Although all waste carrier businesses in England must be licensed with the Environment Agency, the investigation exposed how anyone can obtain a licence by filling in an online form and paying a small fee. It is vital that waste management is compliant with environmental legislation. You can count on our team to provide an in-depth knowledge of current legislation and best practice for our high-quality waste management and recycling services, so you can be assured that you’re disposing of your waste responsibly.
As a result of the UK lockdown, waste facilities were forced to close in March 2020 and even when they re-opened, people were struggling to book slots. This immediately led to a surge in fly-tipping and other waste crime. Over one year later, local authorities say efforts are still being affected as waste crews have reduced staffing due to the pandemic. Despite this, the number of court fines issued for fly-tipping have increased by a third in the last year.
Lockdowns have made us more grateful than ever for our natural surroundings and green spaces – which is why it’s worrying to see so much of it being damaged by waste crime.
Our sites have remained open and fully operational throughout lockdown, meaning our customers have been able to rely on us to help them dispose of their waste and recycling responsibly.
How the Environment Agency and Councils are working to reduce waste crime
The waste carrier licensing system is now being reformed, giving councils and the Environment Agency more power. The Environment Agency will carry out stricter background checks and enforce mandatory electronic waste tracking to increase compliance and make it harder for criminals to operate. Councils are installing CCTV cameras at fly-tipping hotspots and increasing their waste crime prevention measures. They are also giving offenders on-the-spot fines of £400 or up to five years in prison if convicted.
98% of prosecutions in 2019/20 resulted in a conviction so it is hoped that these changes will make it much harder for criminals to operate and bring the number of waste crime cases down.
You can count on us to offer a complete solution covering all your waste and recycling needs.
If you are unsure about how to dispose of your waste or would like more information, please call us on 01483 504595