Over 12,000 tonnes of waste collected each month | News

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Over 12,000 tonnes of waste collected each month

Sofas, fridges, microwaves – what do these items have in common? They’re all bulky, making their disposal a challenge. But when left in our communities, residents end up footing the bill through their service charges.

The cost to clear dumped items from our neighbourhoods cost 35% more in 2023 than in 2022. In total, we cleared around 12,000 tonnes of waste every month, trying to keep our communities places people feel proud of.

With the new government rules introduced in 2023, the cost for companies to dispose of certain items surged.

Legislation changes

The new government rules introduced in 2023 saw an increase in the cost for companies to dispose of certain items. The new law made changes to the disposal of upholstered domestic furniture (such as sofas, chairs, cushions), as the Environment Agency highlighted that this type of waste often contains persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which can harm the environment if not handled properly. Hence, the legislation was amended to ensure their safe disposal.

To prevent POPs from upholstered furniture polluting the environment, all waste upholstered furniture now requires incineration instead of landfill disposal. This additional service incurs increased costs (and unfortunately, more instances of fly tipping), significantly impacting what residents have to pay for dumped waste in our communities.

Tower Hamlets tops England's fly-tipping surge

The problems we’re facing with fly tipping extend beyond just THCH, with recent data revealing our borough, Tower Hamlets, is one of the worst areas in the country for fly tipping.

Government data shows there was a 93% year-on-year increase in fly-tipping incidents in Tower Hamlets. Recorded fly-tipping incidents in Tower Hamlets increased from 8,199 in 2021-22 to 15,861 in 2022-23.

Dispose of bulk waste properly

We can work together to make Tower Hamlets a place we’re proud to call home while keeping costs down. There’s plenty of ways to dispose of bulky waste properly, and they’re all free:

  • Bulk items can be collected by Tower Hamlets Council. Each household can arrange two free collections per year, and up to five items can be taken away per collection. Book your waste collection here.
  • A wide range of items can be disposed of at the Tower Hamlets Reuse and Recycling Centre. The Centre is on Yabsley Street, where staff can help you with carrying any larger items.
  • Other ways to dispose of your items include Take Back Schemes, Idea Stores, and Clothes Banks – visit our website for more information on this.

Report fly-tippers

Whether it’s a THCH resident or not, it’s really helpful to report a fly tipper if you spot them. If we can identify the offender, all the bulk waste charges will go to them, instead of our resident’s service charge.

Last year, we successfully caught five different fly-tippers and personally charged their account, with a total saving of £3,335.

If you spot someone fly tipping, you should report it to the council in the first instance. Don’t attempt to remove the rubbish yourself in case there are hidden sharp or dangerous items.

It's helpful to try to work out what the waste consists of and how much there is, and to take note of the day, date, time, and exact location.

If you see someone fly-tipping, take note of how many people are involved and what they look like, what has been tipped - how much and what it looks like, details of any vehicles involved including make, colour and registration number if possible.

Be very careful. Remember that fly tippers are doing something illegal and do not want to be caught – they are unlikely to welcome people observing them. Do not approach them or put your own safety at risk.

Report fly tipping

More advice

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