As individuals we have potentially the greatest opportunity for reducing litter and fly tipping through some simple steps.
When out and about
Plan ahead, if you are taking a packed lunch when out and about what will you do with the litter? If you always carry an empty plastic bag you will be ready to contain all your (or others) litter until you find a bin or get home. If there is no bin, or the bin is full you need to take the waste with you.
Just because you are out and about doesn’t mean you can’t recycle, before you bin, could it be recycled nearby and if not take it home and add to your usual recycling collection.
If we all picked up just one piece of litter when out and about our County would increasingly become litter free.
See our litter and fly tipping FAQs for more information.
When at home
Firstly have you thought that someone else might like to Reuse the items you want to dispose of? There are many opportunities available so take a look at Recycle Devon for ideas.
You can take most household waste items to your local Recycling Centre for no charge, but check before you visit because some restrictions and charges do apply. Before you visit, check the relevant website first as a resident of either Devon, Plymouth or Torbay.
If you are unable to transport bulky items you could arrange a bulky household waste collection from your local council.
See this practical Trading Standards advice to avoid Scams, rogue traders and doorstep crime
See this handy Gov.uk guide for householders.
If you choose to use a private contractor, always Check who you pay to take your rubbish away and see the guidance below;
You are legally responsible for the waste you are getting rid of. By giving your waste to someone else, who then goes on to dump it as a fly-tip, you could be held responsible and face prosecution and a fine of up to £5000 for fly-tipping if you haven’t taken reasonable measures to check that the company or person has a licence to carry waste.
- Before hiring someone to remove waste, householders should check their credentials online via the Environment Agency public register or ring/email the Environment Agency 03708 506506 or email@example.com
- When they arrive, ask to see their licence to ensure that your waste is being taken by a licensed waste carrier.
- Take a note or photograph of the registration number of the vehicle that is being used to take your rubbish away.
- Ask where your rubbish is being taken, record any checks you make and ask for a receipt.
- Use any contractor who cold calls on you without checking them out before committing yourself. If the contractor is genuine, they will return.
- Use contractors who leave cards or leaflets without checking them out.
- Use any contractor whose terms seem too good to be true; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Environmental Enforcement Officers who see people dumping waste or leaving items they no longer want outside their homes or in other public places for others to pick up can issue fixed penalty notices of up to £400.
Environmental regulations state that every business or establishment that produces or manages waste has the responsibility for managing it properly. If you do not do so for any reason your establishment or business is at risk of prosecution with the possibility of a fine if found guilty in court. If you want to check whether you are doing the right thing or you don’t know what to do to fully comply with your Duty of Care obligations, go to www.rightwasterightplace.com. Once your business is registered, your details will be available for customers to check via the Environment Agency register. Advice is always to check and avoid businesses who are not registered.
As a business you might also like to join the join the Trading Standards approved “Buy with confidence” scheme. To find a Buy With Confidence business near to you, search https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/
Buy With Confidence is the business approval scheme operated by Trading Standards. It enables its members to promote the fact that they believe in and deliver excellent customer service. Membership involves Trading Standards vetting and monitoring, to assure the public that they are trustworthy, honest and reliable traders that can help to steer people away from those that give legitimate businesses a bad name. By joining Buy With Confidence, waste hauliers can show the public that as well as being registered to carry waste, they are legitimate traders that comply with the other legislation relevant to their business and provide excellent customer service. Using a Buy With Confidence member to take your waste away to an official waste processing facility can help to remove the scourge of fly tipping from our communities.
If you manage waste on your land it is likely you will need an environmental permit. Visit Check if you need an environmental permit (www.gov.uk) to find out more. Equally, if you pay someone to manage your waste, they will also need a permit which you can check via the Public Registers.
Whilst landowners are vulnerable to waste crime, the following advice will help reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring, and if they do, will enable you to report the activity to the right authority. This will help agencies work together to support enforcement and intelligence gathering.
Devon & Cornwall Police provide some useful guidance for landowners to reduce the likelihood of being a victim of rural waste crime, and where to report problems if they do occur.
This Environment Agency blog shows how the agency is also working with landowners to prevent waste crime.
The National Fly Tipping Prevention Group have some practical fly tipping prevention advice for landowners.
If you let land or premises to tenants, see the handy Environment Agency Property and Landowners – how to avoid waste criminals checklist and NFU ‘waste scam‘ press release.
You can also check to see if a site is permitted for that activity using the Public Registers.
The following Environment Agency checklist is a useful guide for highlighting the sort of suspicious behaviour which should be reported.
- Significant Illegal waste deposits over 20 tonnes (i.e. a lorry load) being buried or burned
- Drastic increases in waste stored on sites over a short period of time, particularly tyres, wood and baled waste
- Suspected illegal waste sites and those operating without the correct permits
- Persistent offenders, organised crime groups and hostile sites
- Signs of modern slavery on waste sites, such as staff unable to speak English, fear of authority and evidence of staff living on site
- Waste carriers, brokers and dealers that don’t have a registration
- Scrap metal dealers making cash payments indicating money laundering and involvement in stolen metal
- People offering cash to temporarily store waste materials
- Operators of concern involved in exporting waste in containers
- Indications of mixed waste being sold off as inert material in order to avoid landfill tax of approximately £100 per tonne
It is important to report waste crime so that enforcement agencies can jointly target this activity.
If you suspect waste crime, including large scale fly tipping, you can contact the Environment Agency on their Incident Hotline (0800 80 70 60), or provide information anonymously through Crime Stoppers (0800 555 111).
For smaller scale fly tipping incidents, please report to your local authority.
Fly tipped waste on private land is the landowner’s responsibility, however if the offender is caught costs may be recoverable and the landowner reimbursed. Whilst the local authority will not collect the waste without charge, reporting will assist with intelligence gathering (including National reporting) and potential enforcement and prosecution.
If you discover fly tipping on your land, it is important to deal with it quickly to avoid more waste being added.
If you need to transport fly tipped waste yourself you will need to comply with the Duty of Care obligations (see Businesses). If you use a contractor to will need to Check who you pay to take your rubbish away.
It is illegal to bury or burn waste on your land.
Further advice for landowners is available from: