Can We Crack Down On Waste Crime?

As the days get lighter and the weather improves, there is more ample opportunity for people to commit waste crimes.

Always take your litter home to recycling responsibly

What is waste crime?

Waste crime is the illegal disposal or management of waste, this includes littering, fly-tipping, and abandonment of waste. Purposefully discarding waste in public areas, or not correctly disposing of them in waste receptacles is a crime and could lead to fines and in extreme cases legal charges.

Whilst our first thoughts when hearing ‘waste crime’ is often flytipping and littering, it also incorporates waste in abandoned storage containers, derelict homes, and burnt remnants.

Why does waste crime occur?

Waste crime is almost always a purposeful act, where the individual has chosen to not dispose of their waste correctly, instead, leaving it deserted. Usually, this type of behaviour is simply an act of laziness and vandalism, however, it could also be a lack of appropriate disposal facilities or immediate changes in circumstances. The mishandling of any waste is never excusable and often very avoidable.

Why is it such an issue?

You only need to look at environmental media outlets to receive your answer. Littered waste is harming our planet, it is entering our waterways and oceans, harming countryside and agriculture, and endangering wildlife. Yet, despite what many articles and publications may suggest, the materials, brand, or waste itself is not responsible for this issue – it is the individual that discarded it in the first instance, the ones that committed the waste crime who are to blame. Any waste which has not been correctly handled has an increased chance of harming the planet, where this is via harm to animals or the environment or even the lack of appropriate end-of-life treatment.

How to tackle waste crime?

In a recent seminar delivered by the Environment Agency and the Environmental Services Association, it was made clear that more support by the government is essential. This includes implementing harsher penalties and fines for those found committing such crimes, and ensuring that the responsible persons are charged accordingly. It was suggested that the law should be tightened on offences like littering and fly-tipping, with recordable and known consequences for the offenders. Education is also key to helping tackle the issue, making people more aware of the problems, and educating the younger generation may help to reduce the likelihood of these issues occurring.

Whilst waste cannot be avoided, the mishandling of it, and waste crime can be.

Contact our team for more advice.