Is fly-tipping the council’s fault?

Dear Editor,

There has been so much talk and criticism about fly-tippers in all areas of the country, not least Basingstoke. The council spends a fortune employing people to clean up and I believe private land has to be cleaned up by private land owners.

Is it me or is the council making everything as hard as possible for people to do the right thing?

There are various parts to this. The first concerns local tips. Instead of taking your rubbish down to a council tip, you have to register your vehicle, make an appointment to go there and wait quite a while for the privilege of getting rid of a carload of rubbish.

And only one visit per week is allowed. This is done by most honest law-abiding citizens but how many people find this too much? How many people do this ‘tip’ over the edge and think to themselves, out of sight is out of mind, or I haven’t got a car to do this, or I can’t be bothered to go through this whole process just to get rid of my rubbish, or I’ve got too much rubbish to only go once a week?

The second concern is waste collection from private houses. What a wonderful system we have. Most councils have their own rules as to what can and can’t be recycled. Two bins and something for the collection of glass. A bin for ordinary waste which you can put anything in bar garden waste.

You usually have to pay separately for this privilege. A bin to put green waste in and something for glass as long as it’s not broken or the level of bottles doesn’t go over the top of the container. If the rules are broken, the whole thing is left where it is.

What will happen until the next collection date? The glass container is left in the pathway where kids can play with them, break them, cut themselves or maybe they will get dumped to make space for the next collection.

The Green Bin: You can probably look up on line to find out exactly what you can or can’t recycle. Else you can hope you are putting in the correct items. Different items can be recycled by different councils – so nothing is the same and will depend on where you live. If the wrong item is found in the green bin, the whole container is left full.

What happens then? Should that person register their car, make an appointment to dump their stuff, therefore have to put it into a bag themselves, stuff it into their car and probably have to clean the car afterwards? Or maybe the green waste can be put into a normal bin for onward transmission to a landfill or will it end up by the side of the road somewhere?

The Main Bin: Don’t put your garden waste in here – otherwise the whole bin will get left behind leaving it full. You have to pay extra for garden waste retrieval. If the lid can’t get closed, guess what – the bin gets left behind full of course.

What do you think goes on in the brain of the person who has their rubbish left behind? Do you think they will feel happy enough to take it down the local dump, going through the whole council process beforehand? Will they do this with bags of whatever has been put in there during last week? Do they want to stink out their car and be wary of the odd spider left behind to startle you while driving?

Easy enough to moan, I know, but not totally without answers to many of these problems. From a monetary point of view, the council spends their money on running a tip. They also spend money on clearing up mess left by fly-tippers. They also spend money on investigators to take people to court should incriminating waste be found. I wonder how much money is spent prosecuting these people?

From a recent TV programme, probably none of them even receive a fine but just a ticking off. But investigators still have to be paid and the company contracted by the council to collect waste from wherever it lies, be it scattered on a pathway or in the correct place still have to be paid.

How are we progressing as one of the wealthiest countries in the world? The tips produce more waste, the fly-tipping gets worse and there doesn’t seem to be much of an answer. Wouldn’t it be sensible to have a countrywide recognition of what waste can be recycled? Clearly state what can and can’t be recycled so it is the same in all parts of the UK.

I know, for instance, I can recycle glass, but can I recycle the jar or bottle tops? Some plastics, I know, I can recycle but I bet I get it wrong sometimes as they are so diverse. I know I shouldn’t put batteries into any bins but how bothered are most people? The questions are endless and I bet even council workers don’t always know the answers.

My gripe started because my green bin was left full. I was later told that it was because I had put a plank of wood in it. I had cut it up to fit snugly in the bin. When I phoned my council, I was told that wood was not recyclable. They don’t have the facilities for it. Wood – not recyclable?

So, the answer is to make recyclable products the same throughout the country. Do councils talk to each other to make processes easier? Think of the jobs it would create and maybe funding from the central government. Think of the never-ending possibilities of inventive uses of recycled products.

Let’s go back to making life easy at the council dumps. No appointments or car registration. Make it easy for people to get to the dumps and even pick up large items for free from houses. How will the councils pay? They won’t have to collect so much fly-tipping rubbish if it’s free to be collected.

So, the council saves mountains of money which can be ploughed into better dumps. The council won’t have to pay investigators because there won’t be anything like as much fly-tipping if things are free to collect. Better recycling – cleaner country – happier people – cost effective after a time – a system to make us proud and the envy of other countries – forward looking. We’re coming home.

Philip Pern, Basingstoke