So why are people still trying to do lockdown tip runs?
With the UK facing many more weeks in lockdown, people are using this rare time at home to sort out the garden or do DIY jobs around the house – and they’re still trying to take their rubbish to the local tip, even though it’s closed.
A national waste and recycling company says these facilities are closed for very good reasons, but people are still making the trip with some fly-tipping their waste instead.
UK-based commercial waste collection company BusinessWaste.co.uk are reaffirming the government’s message of only leaving the home for essential journeys, and that dumping your garden and DIY waste is not a valid reason.
“People need to be reminded that this is not a reason to go venturing out,” says company spokesperson Mark Hall.
“We need to be aware that the tips are closed for the safety of the men and women who work there. We don’t want anyone to be put in a dangerous situation.”
Why are the tips closed?
Current government guidelines only allow people to leave their homes for a limited number of reasons including shopping for food, one form of exercise a day, medical requirements and to travel to work if you cannot work at home.
“Your life does not depend on popping to the tip,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “these measures are in place to keep you from coming into contact and potentially spreading Covid-19”
By closing recycling centres, it helps to keep keyworkers such as refuse collectors and site staff from getting ill and risking their health, meaning they are able to continue regular kerbside and business collections which are essential to the running of the country.
“We have to keep the tips closed out of respect to our hard working bin folk,” says Hall, “Otherwise we’d be neck-deep in rubbish by now.”
Don’t dump your waste
One unfortunate side-effect of closing recycling centres is the surge in the amount of rubbish being fly-tipped around the country.
Fly-tipping is already a huge problem in the UK, destroying local beauty spots and creating large clean-up bills for local councils. The Countryside Alliance have reported a 300% rise in some areas during the Covid-19 lockdown.
BusinessWaste.co.uk have openly called people who fly tip ‘environmental terrorists’ in the past due to the damage done to local communities and the countryside, and are calling for stiff penalties as an example to others tempted to do the same.
“We understand the frustration people may be feeling with their excess waste piling up around them, but it’s not fair on refuse workers and council officials who have to deal with it” says spokesperson Mark Hall.
“Our refuse workers are already feeling the strain of keeping our kerbside collections going – please don’t fly tip and cause more unnecessary work for them.”
• People caught fly-tipping could end up with a fine up to £50,000 or even 12 months in prison.
“You have to think to yourself, is it even worth the risk?” says Hall, “and if you reckon you won’t be caught as everyone is at home, just remember – CCTV cameras don’t need to self-isolate.”
What to do with all that rubbish
So, what exactly can you do with the excess waste you’ve created by having a big throw-out, sorting out your garden and all the amateur DIY work you’ve done with the tips staying closed?
“The likelihood is that the majority of the junk you’re piling up to chuck away, like that old bed frame or broken chest of drawers, isn’t going to attract vermin,” says Hall, “just stack it up neatly out of the way until you can dispose of it properly.”
“Don’t forget that if things are in good nick they can eventually go to charity shops once they have reopened, so keep these items to one side for future donations.”
• Please don’t leave donations outside charity shops. They’re not a posh waste service
As for people who have been busy gardening, Business Waste recommend checking to see if your local council is still running a kerbside garden waste collection – or you could compost it if you have the opportunity. Otherwise bag it up, and leave it where vermin can’t reach it.
Ultimately, Hall says the best thing to do is to keep up to date with government guidelines and to follow social distancing measures.
“At the end of the day, opening the tips is a rubbish idea for the overall health of the country.”
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