Essex cracks down on business waste at recycling centres

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

Waste from Essex businesses which has been illegally deposited at recycling centres has left taxpayers with a disposal bill running to hundreds of thousands of pounds, according to Essex Council.

‘Man with a van’ operators offering cheap rubbish clearance, property developers and independent building and home improvement trades are reported to have swamped many sites. Local facilities are said to have seen the amount of DIY and construction waste alone leap by over 50% in the last two years.

To tackle the problem, Essex County Council said it is set to announce changes to the way sites will operate in the future to prevent taxpayers footing the bill for business waste, reduce queues for genuine customers, and prevent daytime closures.

The rule of thumb, said the Council, is that household waste covers items which a householder would normally take when they move house. If the waste is something residents would leave behind, like doors, a fitted kitchen or bathroom, or soil and hardcore from a garden, it is construction waste. And business waste of any kind is strictly excluded.

The current plan to improve recycling centres means that from 31 October, about half of the county’s sites will also no longer allow vans or multi-axle trailers in and will no longer offer any disposal facilities for DIY and construction waste.

The remaining sites will still offer access to residents who only have access to a commercial vehicle, but will place strict limits on how much DIY waste can be disposed of. Essex Council warns that vans and pick-ups will be under greater scrutiny and those identified as bringing in waste from any kind of business activity will be refused entry and owners may be liable to prosecution.

Simon Walsh, cabinet member for waste and environment, said: “The taxpayer cannot continue to pick up the bill for businesses which don’t dispose of their waste properly. These operational changes will stop people unlawfully disposing of business and trade waste at recycling centres at the expense of the taxpayer, while still providing the facility for residents to dispose of their legitimate DIY waste when carrying out ad-hoc work at home themselves.”

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