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Your waste - your responsibility!

'Fly tipping' is a criminal activity that can cause serious pollution of the environment, may be a risk to human health and can harm wildlife and farm animals. It spoils our local neighborhood and quality of life, costing landowners and the taxpayer. If waste removed from your home is found to have been “fly-tipped”, you could be liable to prosecution. (Photo courtesy of Dominic Owner, Forest Heath District Council)

'Fly tipping' is a criminal activity that can cause serious pollution of the environment, may be a risk to human health and can harm wildlife and farm animals. It spoils our local neighborhood and quality of life, costing landowners and the taxpayer. If waste removed from your home is found to have been “fly-tipped”, you could be liable to prosecution. (Photo courtesy of Dominic Owner, Forest Heath District Council)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Whether you are getting ready to leave your home for your next assignment or just giving your house a thorough clean, there is no doubt you will find yourself with plenty of waste to dispose of. When we were children and our parents told us to tidy our rooms, it was tempting to just sweep it all under the bed or pile it into the closet but, in adulthood, we are all supposed to have moved on from that phase. We need to act responsibly when we dispose of our waste. 

Sometimes the easiest thing to do seems to hire someone to take it all off your hands. However, you need to check carefully that the company you employ is registered. Locally, people have been prosecuted for the illegal dumpling of waste - or "fly tipping", as it's called in the UK - even when they have already paid someone a substantial amount of money to dispose of the waste for them.

Fly tipping is a criminal activity that can cause serious pollution of the environment, may be a risk to human health and can harm wildlife and farm animals. It spoils our local neighborhood and quality of life, costing landowners and the taxpayer an estimated $200 million every year to clean up. Illegal dumping of waste costs local authorities $88million each year to clear up and undermines legitimate waste management companies who are undercut by illegal operators. Important information about fly-tipping and what to do if you wish to report an incident of fly tipping can be accessed here

As a householder, you have a responsibility to ensure that any waste removed from your home or garden is disposed of properly and legally. You are required to take reasonable steps to ensure that any person employed to remove waste from your property is authorized by the Environment Agency to carry waste.

If you call someone from a local telephone directory or an advert in a magazine, or if someone calls at your house offering disposal services, you should ask to see their certificate of registration which includes their waste carrier number. Alternatively contact the environment agency on 08708 506506 and ask for a Waste Carrier Validation check or visit their website www.environment-agency.gov.uk/publicregister . Local authorities are exempt from registration.

If waste removed from your home is found to have been "fly-tipped", you could be liable to prosecution. There will often be tell-tale clues in illegally dumped waste which allow it to be traced back to its original owner.

Remember, as a householder you can dispose of your household waste free of charge at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre. Alternatively your local district council is able to offer a collection service of a variety of bulky household items. There is normally a charge for this service.

Details can be found on council websites:

www.breckland.gov.uk/content/flytipping
www.forest-heath.gov.uk/Environmental+Services
www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/environment/recycling/

Hopefully when the time comes for us all to move on, we'll only leave behind good memories and not piles of unsightly junk.