Families clearing out their homes to make room for Christmas and New Year purchases put extra pressure on Britain’s already beleaguered waste disposal services during December according to Harsha Rathnayake of waste consultancy JunkHunters.co.uk
The purchase of new white goods such as fridges, washing machines and tumble dryers as well as new sofas and TV sets in time for the festive season has a knock-on effect on the number of items dumped illegally across the UK at this time of year.
Mr Rathnayake says the problem is set to peak in January when domestic bins are filled with huge amounts of Christmas packaging causing some householders to carry waste away and dump it anywhere they can.
Mr Rathnayake, the boss at JunkHunters.co.uk, says many householders and business owners are tempted to dump unwanted junk themselves rather than rely upon their local authorities.
He also says many members of the public now have the impression that council services are patchy and sometimes expensive when it comes to disposing of large items such as unwanted sofas and fridges.
And he warns councils which struggled to collect lightened loads over the summer when many families were aboard, will feel even more stretched when their communities return to work and school routines.
Some local authorities have begun reducing their waste collection services to every three weeks or even once a month, in part to encourage the public to recycle more regularly.
This comes at a time where latest figures show that fly tipping is already on the rise, with 2015 – 16, the most recent period available for government published statistics, recording a four per cent increase on the previous year. Two thirds of all illegally dumped rubbish was household waste.
Mr Rathnayake believes reports of events such as this summer’s Birmingham bin strike may add to the problem and encourage some members of the public to take the issue into their own hands.
And he also claims many people now believe their council are more focused on recycling initiatives rather than waste clearance.
Mr Rathnayake and his team at JunkHunters.co.uk investigated which local authorities across the UK experienced the highest number of fly tipping incidents, discovering that London provided half of the 20 worst boroughs in the entire country.
Mr Rathnayake said, “There is a real concern within the industry that more needs to be done to tackle fly tipping.
“Summer is traditionally a quiet time but we have seen a steady flow of news reports about fly tipping even during these months when the roads are less busy and many families are away on holiday.
“Usually council bin services are able to cope very well over the summer but this year events such as the Birmingham bin strike may have led to the impression amongst some members of the public that it’s easier to dump rubbish themselves than rely on their council.
“This is particularly true for large items such as unwanted furniture and things such as discarded fridges and washing machines.
“We have found many people believe it’s too troublesome to rely upon the council to dispose of these items and the danger is a growing number will choose to just dump them somewhere illegally.
“Across the autumn and in the months leading up to Christmas and the New Year I would like to see more assurance being given to households that their local authorities are able to meet their waste disposal needs.”