Fly tipping has become one of the UK’s top national crises. Not only does fly tipping cause blight, a decline in social morale, the wrong message to our children, and environmental hazards, the cost of this immoral rubbish removal crime to local councils and private land owners is enormous!

According to a recent article in the Dorset Echo, authorities for the local council in the city of Dorset had to pay £230,000 for rubbish removal in fly tipped areas. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, otherwise known as Defra, keeps track of the stats associated with fly tipping across the UK. They reported the sad reality of more than five thousand fly tipped sites in this one region alone.

Defra also reported four hundred eighty-six occurrences of fly tipping in the boroughs of Portland and Weymouth, costing the authorities in these areas £24,539! The North Dorset District Council had to pay £21,293 for three hundred and fifty-five occurrences of fly tipping and the West Dorset District Council had to pay £27,314 for four hundred ninety-six occurrences of this same type of illegal rubbish removal.

Farmers and other private land owners get hit exceptionally hard in three different ways by fly tippers! First, there’s the cost of cleaning up the illegally dumped rubbish removal, which is estimated to cost an average of £1000 per incident! Of course, it’s actually much more in some cases. Second, there’s the time and grief spent on making this happen which takes time and focus away from other important work. Third, and this one hardly seems fair to many people, if the fly tipped rubbish removal causes any type of environmental damage, the private land owner can be held financially, and even criminally, responsible according to the Environmental Protection Act passed in 1990.

Sometimes the best ideas for solutions on reducing fly tipping come directly from the comments people leave on the newspaper articles written on these topics! Local councils and Defra would do well to take notice of these comments and implement changes based on them.

One commenter suggested that it shouldn’t be the people (presumably not knowing) hiring the people who fly tip but the fly tippers themselves. He also goes on to suggest that anyone found guilty of fly tipping should be sentenced to a certain amount of time helping to clean up other illegal rubbish removal sites, in addition to the fine they’d be charged for their own fly tipping. If the fly tipper is required to wear a bright neon orange vest that says “Convicted Fly Tipper” while he or she does so, it may actually be a very effective deterrent!

Another commenter suggested that expanding the hours of recycling centres to include more hours outside typical normal work hours might help reduce fly tipping. This seems like a worthy suggestion that could implemented on a trial basis in certain areas and then tracked for effectiveness. It if worked, hours could be expanded at recycling centres across the entire nation.

Another commenter pointed out that fly tipping seemed to get worse when fees increased at the tip. Then it was revealed by other people commenting that some citizens were actually being charged inappropriately at the tip for household items that are not supposed to be charged at all. Examples included broken garden pots and old bicycle tyres. Even though written comments are faceless, it was easy to sense the anger behind these types of unfair practices and a sense of helplessness to do anything about it when they occurred.

It seems like these kinds of issues infuriate UK citizens who are actually trying to do the right thing and encourage them to join the ranks of fly tippers. Defra estimates that two thirds of all illegal rubbish removal fly tipped on the UK landscape is household rubbish that citizens should not even be charged for when they go to the tip. Training employees at the tip better to not charge for household items, as is supposed to be the rule, might help encourage more citizens to use the tip.

Defra has been pushing the idea of fining people who are caught hiring an unlicensed “waste carrier” even if they don’t know they are illegal and fly tip. Many people don’t know this but it’s actually the law already to require that people check the waste transfer note of any rubbish removal service they hire. Getting the word out more widely that people should do this might also go a long way toward curtailing fly tipping.

One way to be absolutely sure your rubbish is dealt with in a legal manner, i.e. not fly tipped, is to hire Clearabee. Not only is Clearabee the largest private rubbish removal service in the UK, they are well known to handle everything in a 100 percent ethical manner, always providing their customers with a waste transfer note even when they don’t ask for one. Furthermore, Clearabee takes every measure they can to recycle or reuse the rubbish they clear rather than taking it directly to the landfill. They’ve actually been emphasizing this goal since the inception of their business, eight years ago!