Greater Manchester suffered at least 53,000 cases of fly-tipping in 2016-17, costing local authorities more than £5.5m.
The figures are from research by local firm Dsposal, supported by GC Business Growth Hub.
It found that clearing fly-tips cost the conurbation’s 10 councils nearly £4.9m, and a further £750,000 because the fly-tipped material cannot be recycled.
Researchers also looked at local advertisements for waste disposal services.
Dsposal co-founder Sophie Walker said: “Of 34 adverts identified, only four were verifiable as having waste carriers’ licences that matched the details of their advertisements.
“When asked for their licence details, the other 30 companies gave responses ranging from confusing to misleading.”
Many anti-fly-tipping campaigns urge residents to check that rubbish clearance services are properly licensed.
Dsposal’s survey of 501 adults in Greater Manchester found that 49% were unaware that rubbish clearance services were legally required to possess a waste carrier’s licence, 78% were unaware they should receive a waste transfer note and only 44% realised they could be fined if their waste was found fly-tipped.
Walker said: “This research highlights the public’s confusion around waste duty of care. While it is right that the responsibility rests with them to carry out the necessary checks, we believe it should be easy for an individual to determine if a service has the correct licence.”