Fly-Tipping In England Has Reached “Epidemic Proportions”

Fly-tipping has reached epidemic proportions in England, with 646,039 incidents recorded in just five cities since 2013, according to new research.

Mattresses, which are often seen as difficult and expensive to dispose of, make up much of the problem – 13% of all waste illegally dumped in that time period.

More than 60,000 mattresses have been illegally dumped over the last five years across ten of England’s major cities, the report by recycling firm, The Furniture Recycling Group (FRG), has found.

Liverpool was found to have the most incidents reported (74,909 total) – including 18,589 mattresses – over the last five years.

FRG says this means that “15% of the north west city’s population has illegally dumped general waste at some point over the last five years”, and “4% of residents have dumped a mattress”.

Leicester and Sheffield were second and third highest respectively, with data showing “one in 13 people (9%) in each city have fly-tipped waste over the last five years”, according to the company.

In Birmingham, one in four fly-tipping incidents over the last five years has involved a mattress, and almost 15,000 tonnes of bulky waste discarded onto the city’s streets and other areas.

Nick Oettinger,  TFR Group – “We need to make it easier for people to discard of these items and ensure that they are disposed of in the best possible way. That’s why I’m calling for these collection charges to be scrapped and for greater focus on the circular economy at a local and national level.”

Birmingham was found to be the worst offender for dumping mattresses on the city’s streets, parks and beauty spots, FRG says.

Although not listed as one of the worst offending cities in terms of fly-tipping incidents per person, Manchester still saw 91,115 fly-tipping incidents reported over the last five years, making it one of the worst cities for the sheer number of incidents. 30,000 tonnes of household waste, including nearly 10,000 mattresses, has been fly-tipped in the Greater Manchester region since 2014, FRG says.

Nick Oettinger, Managing Director of mattress recycling group, TFR Group, said: “In 2016-17, it cost Councils in England £57.7 million, at a time when budgets are being squeezed. It’s a problem that affects everyone, ruins our cities and countryside and simply passes the waste problem on to someone else.

“The Government has started to recognise the increasing problem of fly-tipping with a proposed introduction of new financial penalties for householders who fail to properly dispose of waste.

“While these new financial penalties will deter some fly-tippers, the current waste charges set by local Councils is partly responsible for the increase in fly-tipping. Many UK Councils now charge a fee to collect bulky items such as sofas and mattresses from residents.

“We need to make it easier for people to discard of these items and ensure that they are disposed of in the best possible way. That’s why I’m calling for these collection charges to be scrapped and for greater focus on the circular economy at a local and national level.”

Nick added: “We’re also calling on the Government to do more to ensure that designers, manufacturers and retailers take into account the end of life of their products, such as mattresses. This will go some way to reducing the amount of fly-tipping we see across all parts of the country and ensure the end of a product’s life is simply the start of a new one.

“Additionally, we have conducted recent research indicating that England will reach crisis point soon if there isn’t an immediate focus on the recycling of bulkier waste streams which are difficult to compress and take up a huge amount of landfill space. So this is a multi-faceted problem that requires a big solution.”

TFR Group is currently one of a handful of firms in the UK tackling the bulky waste problem head on with the goal of achieving a circular economy, recycling an incredible 338,000 mattresses each year.

The top five cities for number of fly-tipping incidents

  1. London – 366,087 fly-tipping incidents over the last five years
  2. Manchester – 91,115 fly-tipping incidents over the last five years
  3. Liverpool – 74,909 fly-tipping incidents over the last five years
  4. Birmingham – 57,536 fly-tipping incidents over the last five years
  5. Leeds – 56,392 fly-tipping incidents over the last five years

The worst offenders for people fly-tipping over the last five years

  1. Liverpool – Nearly two in 10 people (15 per cent) in the city have fly-tipped over the last five years
  2. Leicester – One in 13 people (9 per cent) in the city have fly-tipped over the last five years
  3. Sheffield – One in 13 people (9 per cent) in the city have fly-tipped over the last five years
  4. Newcastle – One in 13 people (9 per cent) in the city have fly-tipped over the last five years
  5. Leeds – Two in 25 people (7 per cent) in the city have fly-tipped over the last five years

 Top five cities for dumping mattress over the last five years

  1. Birmingham – Mattresses make up 25% of all fly-tipping incidents
  2. Bristol – Mattresses make up 22% of all fly-tipping incidents
  3. Liverpool – Mattresses make up 20% of all fly-tipping incidents
  4. Nottingham – Mattresses make up 19% of all fly-tipping incidents
  5. Newcastle – Mattresses make up 19% of all fly-tipping incidents

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