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Defra provide guidance to residents to avoid an increase in flytipping during lockdown

Local Authorities are working hard to maintain the majority of waste services running as normal, however some services have been reduced due to the coronavirus outbreak

This includes closing most Household Waste & Recycling Centres (tips) and suspending Bulky Waste Collections.  The majority of charity shops and clothes recycling banks are also closed.

In recent days, some household waste and recycling centres have reopened, this has only been possible where there is adequate staffing and where measures have been able to be put in place to maintain the safety of staff.

As reported by the Rural Services Network, there were reports of a dramatic increase in flytipping in certain rural areas, (insert hyperlink https://rsnonline.org.uk/farmers-report-surge-in-fly-tipping-incidents-as-lockdown-sees-dumps-closed).  The Countryside Alliance (CLA) stated that the UK has seen a 300 per cent rise in fly-tipping in certain areas and the impact this is having on the communities and countryside has been called ‘unacceptable’.

Defra has produced guidance for dealing with waste during lockdown:

  • This time of year is often viewed as an opportunity to have a household clear out. But due to the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak, now is not the time for a spring clean.
  • In the short term, there are fewer ways to dispose of DIY waste or bulky items such as sofas, mattresses, white goods, furniture, and other items like electricals and batteries that you cannot place in your normal rubbish and recycling bins. So, for the moment, please avoid clearing out large items that cannot be placed in your bins.
  • But if you do have bulky or garden waste at home, there are a range of available options:

- If it is safe to do so, consider storing items at home until services resume.

- If clearing out goods is unavoidable, consider making use of retailer take-back services or making your old items available for immediate re-use via on-line platforms such as Freecycle or Gumtree. Make sure you take full account of social distancing and related guidance and that it is safe for you to move the items in question.

- Check the Reuse Network website to see if there are options available for small businesses or charities in your area to mend or repurpose your furniture and appliances. This may also be a good opportunity to repair, repurpose or re-use items such as old furniture or clothes yourself which you would usually throw away. If you do choose to repair a product yourself, you must make sure you have sufficient expertise to do this safely.

- Your local authority may be continuing to offer a bulky item collection service. Check https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council to see if this is available in your area.

- If you have garden waste to dispose of, the best option is to use your council collection service which may still be running. If services are suspended in your area, try to home compost or leave non-essential jobs until normal services have resumed. Please avoid burning it.

- Where none of these options are available, you can use a private registered waste collection company. Remember, you have a duty to make sure you know where your waste is going and you must ensure that the person collecting your waste is registered as an upper tier waste carrier. You can do this by checking the Environment Agency’s website https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers-regime?regime=upper-tier

- Whist most tips are currently closed, some are still operating, and others may re-open in the coming weeks. As per the government guidance, you should only leave home for essential reasons which is why you should only use an HWRC when you are unable to dispose of the waste in any other way and disposing of the waste is absolutely necessary in order to avoid injury. Please check https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council to see if tips are currently available in your area.

  • Disposing of waste in the wrong way damages the environment and can impact human health. In some cases, it is illegal.

- Please do not put things in your rubbish bin that you would normally recycle or take to the tip – most household collection services are continuing as normal, so there is no reason to put things in your rubbish bin that you would normally put in the recycle bin. If there is currently no service in your area to recycle items like electrical appliances, garden waste and batteries, please hold on to them until services resume. You can check your council website for updates.

- You must not dispose of household waste in a way that will cause pollution or harm people’s health.This includes burning it - burning household waste is an offence, liable to prosecution.

- Please avoid burning garden waste wherever possible. Burning garden waste produces smoke – especially if that waste is green or damp. This could add to localised air pollution, potentially causing both a nuisance and having health implications for those most vulnerable to air pollution. For example, smoke emissions can exacerbate respiratory problems. For more information on air quality, air pollution forecasts, or to find out what you could do to improve the air quality in your community, visit https://www.cleanairhub.org.uk/.

- Garden bonfires can quickly spread out of control, resulting in firefighting resources being called away from frontline efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

- Don’t fly-tip, it’s a crime. Leaving items on the street or in parks, woodlands and fields is fly-tipping. This is a crime and local authorities and the Environment Agency have a range of powers to tackle it. Even if you mean well and leave items outside charity shops, or next to full recycling bins, this is still fly-tipping. You can report fly-tipping to your local authority via and find out more information at http://www.tacklingflytipping.com/

  • Please make sure that you make full use of your local authority’s waste collection services and follow local advice.
  • Head to the Recycle Now website for more information on recycling during the coronavirus outbreak.

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