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  • Writer's pictureThe Optimum team

Who is moving your junk?

You might think you’ve got yourself a great deal on rubbish collection but there are heavy penalties to pay if your fly-tipped rubbish is traced back to you, which it often is. When you get quotes for the removal of bulky items, bags of rubbish - whatever it is that you need to get rid of - it really does pay to be careful.

What are you looking out for?

  • A reputable company

  • A licensed waste carrier with a bona fide certificate (ours is on our website:

  • Tangible proof of collection and compliant disposal through the receipt of a waste transfer note – this will help your case if your rubbish is fly tipped (keep these for two years)

  • Are they fully insured for their employees, vehicles and public liability? What happens if they break something or have/cause an accident on your premises?

  • Sensible answers to questions about where your rubbish is being taken to – they need to reassure you that your property will go to a waste transfer station where it will be sorted and recycled according to its type

  • Make a note of the waste carrier’s vehicle registration number

  • Check the company is listed on the Environment Agency website

If the business you approach fails to satisfy you on some or all of these counts, you could end up with a costly fine if your rubbish ends up illegally dumped at the side of the road, in a farmer’s field or other random spot. The Environment Agency and local authorities employ people to trace fly-tipped rubbish back the original owner.

We hear all sorts of stories but we felt particularly connected with one recently where a customer of ours was quoted £50 + VAT for us to collect and compliantly dispose of her unwanted sofa. She got a ‘cheaper’ quote at £30 but the fly-tipped sofa was traced back to her (via a letter left down the back of it) and it ended up costing her £300 in fly tipping fines – the liability remains with her and not the man and van service because she couldn’t trace them or prove the collection was part of a professional transaction.

Fridges always cause a bit of a problem for any unlicensed carrier or scrap man. They contain hazardous chemicals so they’re more problematic for a scrap man to dispose of. It’s an area that needs the experience and capability of a licensed carrier who uses the correct methods of disposal. It’s why your local scrap merchant will take most things but not the fridge.

Local authorities classify all illegally dumped waste as a crime – ‘it doesn’t matter if it’s a bag of rubbish or a truckload of furniture’ according to Cambridge City Council. Interestingly they also confirm that ‘Flytipping includes leaving waste beside street bins or recycling banks, or on the floor of communal bin areas. It also includes leaving items outside closed recycling centres and charity shops’ - which we suspect will come as a surprise to most people.

It costs genuine waste carriers to dispose of unwanted items properly which is often why it might cost a little more to use the right company. There are many reasons to make sure you are dealing with a good company – to make sure your goods don’t create an environmental hazard, damage the environment or become a public eyesore – but also to avoid hefty fines and a potential criminal record for regular offenders. According to an article in the Cambridge Independent “the council is urging residents to report all incidences of fly-tipping, which it promises to investigate, and warns that culprits could receive up to a £50,000 fine or 12 months in prison”.

In case you think this isn’t a big environmental issue, there were 980 instances of reported fly-tipping in East Cambridgeshire during 2021, that’s roughly 3 per day – as reported by the Ely Standard.

At Optimum Recycling we work hard to cover all our bases and make sure we provide an excellent, professional service for everyone.



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