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No excuses for fly-tipping

We’ve all seen the mindless dumping of random rubbish at the side of the road, usually in some slightly out of the way location where those doing the dumping won’t be spotted. There are no reasons for this – just the excuses that the tip won’t accept it and to do anything else costs money.

“For the 2020/21 year, local authorities in England dealt with 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 16% from the 980,000 reported in 2019/20.”


Waste is not cheap. It costs us to dispose of it properly - and the alternative costs the environment – never more so than when it is just offloaded without a care or thought for the consequences.

On our travels we see lots of items dumped on the sides of roads and in fields. Some of these contain hazardous waste such as asbestos and fridges.

Talking of fridges: these contain harmful gases and need to be disposed of in a controlled environment. They also contain copper which has a value. The only way to get to the copper, worth a few pounds, is to release the gases and do untold damage to the environment. It is senseless and unethical of course. Driving across the fens in the autumn you’ll see the ditches rising with water - and there, floating on the top, you will see the abandoned (copper-stripped) fridges.

“Fly-tipping is a crime which blights communities and poses a risk to human health and the environment. It also undermines legitimate waste businesses where unscrupulous operators undercut those acting within the law.”

[Source: Jo Churchill, Resources and Waste Minister]

The rules of waste management: Duty of Care Environmental Protection Act 1990/91 – it varies depending on who the producer of the waste is. There is a big difference in the compliance between domestic/household and commercial waste.

For commercial waste, the collector (carrier) of the waste has to issue a waste transfer note that clearly states:

· the producer of the waste

· the transferor (the carrier) of the waste and

· the transfer (disposal site.)

Once the waste is tipped, the carrier is given a weighbridge ticket to prove disposal. Under Duty of Care the carrier of the waste has to keep this paperwork for two years.

For a domestic customer, someone can collect your rubbish and just give you a receipt, and as long as they have a waste carrier’s licence (a CBDU reference) this is deemed acceptable.

What is a CBDU number?

The CBDU certifies that the person or company collecting your waste is a licensed by the Environment Agency as a waste carrier. There are two CBD references a CBDU (upper tier) and a CBDL (lower tier.) An upper tier carrier can collect waste under ‘hire and reward’ where a CBDL (lower tier) can only move their own waste.

We recommend that you check any contacts HERE. You can search on an individual or company name to check they have the correct license. However this still doesn’t mean the waste won’t be fly tipped!

How do you know your waste will be disposed of correctly?

Don’t be frightened to ask the questions:

· Where will you take my waste?

· Can I have a waste transfer note?

· What happens to my waste?

Any reputable and licensed carrier will be able to answer these if they are both experienced and compliant.

Some of our customers still believe that we collect their waste and take it to the council dump. Unfortunately not. If we did our staff would be driving around in rather nice Rolls Royces as we charge you and then tip it for free! Under the regulations, all waste for hire and reward by a licensed commercial waste carrier (upper tier) has to be transferred to a licensed commercial facility. We pay a fee to dispose of your waste. We follow the same procedures as commercial skip companies – you don’t see them at the tip!

So where does fly-tipping come from?

It is usually the crime of a variety of spurious waste management businesses, or man and van set ups, who simply don’t want to pay the fees associated with disposing of waste correctly and compliantly. Some can be traced back using the actual dumped waste as evidence. Contact details and other leads are usually available somewhere within each load. Just under half a million enforcement notices were issued in 2020/21 in response to fly-tipping incidents.

Choose wisely, choose carefully, don’t be frightened to ask lots of questions and stand by the old saying of ‘you get what you pay for.’ At Optimum Recycling we have all of the appropriate licensing and provide a complete paper trail. We have also recently introduced improved technology to further demonstrate our compliance levels, supporting every transaction with the paperwork required.


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