COVID-19 has seen the UK grind to a halt with the country locking down three times in only a year. Whilst the focus of most people has been on the effects of the pandemic on people and businesses, there has been another rising issue that many people may have only noticed casually.
That issue is fly-tipping, which has seen an astonishing increase in cities and towns throughout the UK. A sore subject for any residents or businesses who have to contend with people fly-tipping, why has this seen such an increase?
Let's take a look at some of the reasons that have contributed to the worrying rise of fly-tipping.
Closure of Recycling Centres
During the first lockdown many recycling centres, or tips, were closed due to the government regulations regarding what was classed as essential travel. Waste disposal centres were not deemed essential, and so were closed. As a result, people were unable to legally dispose of waste that was not allowed in a normal bin.
Councils reported that they saw an increase in fly-tipping during this period, there was no way to remove bulky items without paying out for a waste disposal company to remove items. Cities were found to have higher rates of fly-tipping, with Camden in London reporting 128 incidences for every 1,000 people during the year.
Sunny Days and Rubbish Landscapes
Alongside the rise of fly-tipping larger and bulkier objects, there has also been an unfortunate increase in the number of people who have been littering when outdoors. As the third lockdown has begun to ease and people have been allowed a little more freedom to enjoy being outside with friends, there have been numerous reports of popular areas such as parks and beaches being left with rubbish covering the areas.
This has understandably left the local populations annoyed as it means beautiful natural landscapes look more akin to a landfill site. Groups of people who volunteer to pick litter have reported that the amount of litter has been increasing during the COVID-19 related lockdown and there are worries that this may rise even further once restrictions are completely lifted.
Due to pressures on local councils, it has often been the everyday individual who has taken up the mantle to try and clean up our streets. Sheffield Litter Pickers, a group on Facebook that volunteers to remove litter from the city of Sheffield, report that fly-tipping is 'off the scale' recently. After a recent incident in which Hyde Park in Leeds was left covered in rubbish that people had left behind, Leeds Beckett University student Jack Colmer created a bin bag dispenser in the hopes that it would encourage people to clean up after themselves.
Fly-Tipping and Mattress Dumping
Mattresses are often heavy and bulky items that are hard to remove, with many not fitting into a normal car. 7 million mattresses were thrown away in the UK in 2017, with most of these going to landfill, and, unsurprisingly, they are one of the most commonly fly-tipped items due to being awkward to dispose of.
The pandemic has only exacerbated these issues with long wait times at tips or expensive waste disposal services can lead to people trying to dispose of their mattress illegally. This often ends up being costly for the council to remove, or if it's on private property then it ends up being the responsibility of whoever owns the land.
A catering company in Romsey had to pay out over £400 of their own money to dispose of four mattresses, three-bed bases and more. It's understandable then that both residents and companies are growing tired of the increase in fly-tipping that is not only a nuisance in terms of making areas look unsightly, but also due to the increased costs in disposing of these items properly!
How Can You Legally Recycle Your Mattress?
It's important to remember that fly-tipping is illegal and carries a fine of up to £50,000. With the rise in reports lately, a lot of councils are increasing their efforts to find the culprits through CCTV or any other means possible.
If you're buying a new bed, or simply have an old mattress that needs to be removed, then you don't have to worry about what to do with it. Here at Happy Beds, we have a useful tool that lets you see if you can recycle or dispose of it legally based on where you are in the UK. If you're looking for a new mattress, then we have a wide range of different sizes and styles and we can take the stress of disposing of your old one away with our mattress recycling service!