Fly-tipping has reached epidemic proportions in England, with 646,039 incidents recorded in just five cities, including Sheffield, since 2013, according to shocking new research.
Alarmingly Sheffield is named as one of the worst flytippers in the past five years with one in 13 people (nine percent) in the city having fly-tipped during that period.
Mattresses, which are often seen as difficult and expensive to dispose of, make up much of the problem – 13 per cent of all waste illegally dumped in that time period.
More than 60,000 mattresses have been illegally dumped over the last five years across ten of England’s major cities, the report by recycling firm, The Furniture Recycling Group, has found.
This has led to calls for the Government to do more to tackle the waste mountains piling up in our streets, especially in light of recent figures demonstrating that England’s landfill sites will burst their banks in as little as four years if nothing is done to stem the flow of waste being sent there. In England overall, enough waste to fill the Empire State building ten times over was packed into the ground in 2017 alone.
Liverpool takes the crown as fly-tipping capital of the country, with a whopping 74,909 total incidents reported – including 18,589 mattresses – over the last five years. This means that 15 per cent of the north west city’s population has illegally dumped general waste at some point over the last five years, and four per cent of residents have dumped a mattress.
But shockingly, Leicester and Sheffield are in second and third place respectively.
In Birmingham, residents are no strangers to the problem and has earned the title ‘mattress mountain’ with one in four fly-tipping incidents over the last five years involving a mattress, and almost 15,000 tonnes of bulky waste discarded onto its streets and other areas. In fact, Birmingham was the worst offender for dumping mattresses on the city’s streets, parks and beauty spots.
Although not listed as one of the worst offending cities in terms of fly-tipping incidents per person, Manchester still saw a staggering 91,115 fly-tipping incidents reported over the last five years, making it one of the worst cities for the sheer number of incidents. In fact, 30,000 tonnes of household waste, including nearly 10,000 mattresses, has been fly-tipped in the Greater Manchester region since 2014, the equivalent weight of 2,500 double-decker buses.
Managing Director of leading mattress recycling group, TFR Group, Nick Oettinger, said: “In 2016-17, it cost Councils in England £57.7 million, at a time when budgets are being squeezed. It’s a problem that affects everyone, ruins our cities and countryside and simply passes the waste problem on to someone else.”
The Government has started to recognise the increasing problem of fly-tipping with a proposed introduction of new financial penalties for householders who fail to properly dispose of waste.
“While these new financial penalties will deter some fly-tippers, the current waste charges set by local Councils is partly responsible for the increase in fly-tipping. Many UK Councils now charge a fee to collect bulky items such as sofas and mattresses from residents.
“We need to make it easier for people to discard of these items and ensure that they are disposed of in the best possible way. That’s why I’m calling for these collection charges to be scrapped and for greater focus on the circular economy at a local and national level.”
Nick added: “We’re also calling on the Government to do more to ensure that designers, manufacturers and retailers take into account the end of life of their products, such as mattresses. This will go some way to reducing the amount of fly-tipping we see across all parts of the country and ensure the end of a product’s life is simply the start of a new one.
“Additionally, we have conducted recent research indicating that England will reach crisis point soon if there isn’t an immediate focus on the recycling of bulkier waste streams which are difficult to compress and take up a huge amount of landfill space. So this is a multi-faceted problem that requires a big solution.”
TFR Group is currently one of a handful of firms in the UK tackling the bulky waste problem head on with the goal of achieving a circular economy, recycling an incredible 338,000 mattresses each year.
For more information visit the www.tfrgroup.co.uk website.