Most waste is relatively easy to get rid of in the UK, with councils offering comprehensive collection services for both rubbish and some recycling.
Although the exact services vary from council to council, everyone benefits from free collection as a result of paying their council tax.
But what happens when the amount of rubbish you have far exceeds your allowance? Or if you have bulky items which can’t be disposed of the normal way.
Fly tipping a sure fire way of destroying the appeal of a neighbourhood
Most individuals understand that it’s their responsibility to dispose of the rubbish in a moral and ethical manner, either by hiring a skip, or taking it to a recycling or refuse centre. For lots of larger items, you could even pay for a waste management company to get rid of it cleanly, efficiently and quickly.
Unfortunately there are a few individuals who are loathed to do the right thing, instead opting for the illegal option of fly tipping.
We take a closer look at fly tipping and illegal waste dumping and examine just why it’s so much of a problem, and how diligent members of the community end up paying the price.
What is fly tipping?
If you have heard the phrase but aren’t sure what it means, ‘fly tipping’ refers to the practice of dumping waste illegally.
Rather than using tips, skips or waste disposal companies, fly tippers simply dump their rubbish in a place where they hope they won’t be spotted. This might be in a neighbour’s yard, on the street or frequently out in the countryside.
The potential effects of this are nothing short of horrific.
Depending on the type of rubbish and waste which is being dumped, there could be all kinds of harmful substances and materials which shouldn’t be out in the public.
Household goods may contain substances which could kill a wild animal if ingested, and no explanation is needed about the potential suffocation and strangulation dangers of plastic.
For larger items, there is a risk to children if they are inadvertently allowed to play near them. A big campaign was launched many years ago about removing the doors from fridges because of the huge risks to children becoming trapped.
And of course it’s not just the wildlife, the planet itself suffers too. Dumping a load of waste affects the ground and the local ecosystem on many different levels. As well as presenting a danger to animals, the earth could absorb toxins preventing future growth of greenery or even worse, permitting poisons to enter the plants, thus reaching even more insects and creatures.
Any community which suffers from fly tipping can quickly gather a bad reputation as being run-down, dirty and shabby. This reputation can be enhanced by what a pile of rubbish can attract. Rotting food and other materials can attract droves of flies as well as enticing rodents to collect in the area.
Rats are actually a fairly common occurrence but tend to keep away unless there’s a ready supply of food they can access. As disease-carrying animals they are one of the least-welcome pests and can be difficult to eliminate.
Fly tipping isn’t just an eyesore; it can actually present a very real danger to human health too.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates that it costs in the region of £4million every month for councils to deal with the nuisance of fly tipping. An extraordinary amount of money being wasted for no good reason.
Like the rest of the council’s budget, where does this money come from? That’s right, the local tax payer.
This means that members of the community who abide by the rules and pay their taxes end up footing the bill for those who are seeking to find a free way to dump their waste illegally.
The amount of money wasted clearing up fly tipping is excruciating, and could be put to far better use in communities, reducing the pressure on the budget.
For this reason, the Environment Agency provides a 24 hour hotline for individuals to report fly tipping, or you can tell the police. Fly tipping is a crime that affects everyone, taking money out of your pocket and increasing the risk of disease.
Don’t be tempted to ignore the crime of fly tipping: it’s costing you money and could be pushing down the value of your home. Fly tipping and illegal waste dumping harms the environment, hurts our wildlife and brings vermin and potential disease to the area too.
There are so many easy waste disposal options to get rid of rubbish, there’s never any excuse for fly tipping.