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Collecting bulky waste for free would 'reduce fly-tipping'

Improving access to free bulky waste collections would reduce waste crime, a report has urged.

Consultancy Eunomia found that a key way of tackling soaring refuse abuse in Sacramento, California, would be to create quicker, cheaper ways for residents to dispose of tricky items.

Illegal dumping has increased by a third across the US county in just three years, leading key waste authorities to commission the study.

Eunomia’s research showed that the average cost of a scheduled bulky collection was $66.91 (£51) compared with $112.51 to clear up an incident of fly-tipping and enforce the law.

The report recommended that the waste authorities “increase access to and utilisation of free collection services in single family properties”.

It urged an increase in the number of free bulky waste collections available and the setting of a 14-day maximum wait for this service.

Eunomia added that Sacramento waste chiefs should “run a targeted, multilingual education campaign to increase awareness of and participation in free services”.

Multi-family properties should receive the same bulky waste collection services as single-family homes, the consultancy added.

Other recommendations included providing free neighbourhood refuse sites at universities and at areas of frequent fly-tipping. There was also a call for a ‘pride of place’ community engagement campaign to tackle waste crime.

“Communities can help to combat impact illegal dumping by reporting incidents, utilising free services, helping with clean-up and creating a culture where illegal dumping is unacceptable,” said the report.

“Community action and ownership should be cultivated and supported by the city and county.”

Report author Sarah Edwards said: “There are long-term savings that can be made if this package of measures is implemented. But their success depends on increased co-ordination, a commitment from all stakeholders to support prevention methods as well as some market research and some monitoring and evaluation.”

In November, the Environmental Services Association said Government proposals to tackle UK waste crime and strengthen regulations failed to go far enough.

The Furniture Recycling Group managing director Nick Oettinger recently called for councils to drop collection charges for bulky waste following concerns that fly-tipping is reaching “epidemic proportions” in England.


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