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What Causes Waste Crime?

You might have heard of waste crime, but what you may not know is that it comes in many different forms and the consequences are also very real for those who commit waste crime offences. In this article, we’ll be exploring waste crime in more detail, including what it is, why it happens and what you can do to stop it in your area. Here’s everything you need to know about waste crime:

What is waste crime?

Waste crime refers to the illegal and irresponsible disposal of waste, regardless of the type of waste that needs to be disposed of. It can span from the handling and management of the waste right through to the ultimate disposal of the waste that’s been collected. Waste crime has a wealth of consequences, including:

  • Fines and penalties for perpetrators caught
  • Prison sentences for those who are caught committing waste crimes
  • Negative impacts on the environment
  • Being harmful to the wildlife
  • Destroying greenbelt land
  • The destruction of habitats for animals and insects

What causes waste crime?

You might think that waste crime and fly-tipping comes as a result of laziness or lack of knowledge when it comes to disposing of specific types of waste, but where this might be true for some cases, there’s actually a lot more at play. From placing your trust in unlicensed waste carriers to the removal of convenient recycling facilities for the general public to use, here are a few factors that have a role to play in the causes of waste crime:

Unlicensed waste handlers

Waste carriers need to be licensed and they should also provide waste transfer notes to customers. This gives peace of mind to both the carrier and the customer, ensuring that both parties are fully-aware that waste will be disposed of in a safe, responsible and eco-friendly manner, regardless of the type of waste you’re getting rid of. 

If a waste carrier is unlicensed, it’s far more likely that the waste collected will be fly-tipped or disposed of in a way that doesn’t conform with regulations. Not only does this have the potential to damage greenbelt land and wildlife, but it’s also damaging to the environment. If you want complete peace of mind when it comes to the correct disposal of waste, then choose a licensed waste carrier, like us here at Willshee’s. 

Insufficient measures being in place currently

There simply isn’t enough being done to prevent fly-tipping. With budget cuts and limited staff numbers, councils are finding it increasingly difficult to dedicate both time and money to waste crime and any preventative measures that go along with it. However, the government stated, in 2022, that new measures are being put in place to crackdown on instances of fly-tipping and waste crime as a whole. Some of those new measures include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Households no longer having to pay to dispose of DIY waste, such as plasterboard, bricks and bath suites
  • Backdoor charges on local residents looking to dispose of household waste are banned
  • Evidence to be given on the use of booking systems at recycling centres to deter fly-tipping risks
  • Councils being awarded grants to tackle fly-tipping

The removal of recycling bins at supermarkets

At one point, supermarkets alike had a series of recycling bins located in their car parks. It enabled shoppers to conveniently recycle a variety of different waste types, from glass and cardboard to shoes and clothes. However, in 2023, we saw a huge downturn in the presence of these recycling bins on supermarket property. Tesco one of the first supermarket giants to remove these council-run recycling bins, with Sainsbury’s soon following on, according to the BBC

This then left the public with no other option but to utilise curbside waste collection services and to visit their local recycling centre, which could be miles away from where they live. Despite fly-tipping being illegal and wrong from an ethical standpoint, some people might feel like it’s the only convenient way of getting rid of their waste, whether it be recyclable or otherwise. 

What you should do is make sure you’re reporting instances of fly-tipping, including reporting any waste objects that have been left behind after the perpetrators have disappeared. Supermarkets might have been removing useful recycling bins from their property, but it’s not an excuse to fly-tip or irresponsibly dispose of waste materials.

What can you do to tackle waste crime?

When it comes to reducing cases of waste crime, you might not think that there’s much you can do at home, or even at work. However, there’s plenty that you can be doing to prevent offences that revolve around the incorrect and illegal disposal of waste. From fly-tipping to burning materials that release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, here are a few measures you can put in place and some steps you can take to tackle waste crime from the comfort of your own home:

Be aware of people knocking on your door

Those who knock on your door, unexpectedly, who offer to take your waste away, whether it be for free or at a cost, are likely unlicensed. This means that your waste will not be disposed of responsibly.

Check that the waste carrier is licensed 

If you have some waste that needs to be collected and disposed of, then do your research. The waste carrier needs to have a licence and is required to give you a waste transfer note that documents the waste type, including hazardous waste.

Do not allow hazardous materials to affect the environment or wildlife 

If you’re waiting to have hazardous waste collected, make sure that it’s contained, secure and is somewhere that cannot be accessed easily. Ideally, it needs to be sealed and kept off the floor. This stops animals from penetrating it, but it also stops materials from seeping out into the environment.

Ask the Environmental Agency for some advice 

If you’re not sure about how to dispose of the waste you have, or if you start doubting how a waste carrier is disposing of the waste they’re handling, then ask the EA for some help. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction and give you some solid advice, including what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to waste disposal.

Report any acts of waste crime you see 

If you see someone fly-tipping waste, then report them. You should also report any rubbish you see that has been fly-tipped. This is because the Local Authority can gather a surprising amount of information about the perpetrators from the rubbish they’ve left behind. The more they find, the more likely it is that those fly-tippers will be prosecuted.

Willshee’s is pleased to offer waste management services to both domestic and commercial customers. From skip hire and grab hire to hazardous waste disposal and commercial waste management, we can always be counted upon to provide specialist waste management solutions to customers throughout Burton-upon-Trent and the surrounding areas. If you would like further information, get in touch with a member of our professional, friendly team today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.


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