What are we NOT doing well?

Fly-tipping_lowest

Fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviour

WASTE IS A REAL PROBLEM, part 2

  • It is the first year with less fly-tipping incidents since 2014
  • There was on average 144 incidents per day in Greter Manchester
  • It was nearly £5 million in clearance costs
  • Manchester City Council got £35,000 in fines after spent £3 millions



For years, the West has relied on third countries with softer laws for dumping its waste. But in 2017, China closed its border down. After, it was Malaysia. Other Asiatic countries have already announced plans in the same direction. Nonetheless, the World Bank forecast the global waste would increase by 70% by 2050.
In this series, we will explain how the rubbish and recycling system works in the UK, what the barriers are, and how can we pass over it. Because this is a International issue every post will have an English and Spanish version, too. If you are interested on environmental issues follow me on Twitter @Juanelev

As we saw in the previous post of the series, waste is something which comes alongside the daily life. All the products have a stage of disposal, which should be considered. Waste Management companies are investing in incinerators to recover energy from waste (EfW), and not everybody thinks it is the best solution. 

 Sources from the sector think there are too much waste, too much packaging and wrongly separated by the consumers. People believe they have not enough information and the authorities do not recycle enough, in Greater Manchester at least. The government and the councils try to encourage people to reduce their waste and educate them, but they blame a weak market for recycling some sorts of plastic. 

 Marc Edwards, a former employer for Trafford City Council, thinks the recycling rate has been stuck for years because Disposal Authorities send too much to EfW. “Create energy (in that way) is more expensive than from fossil fuels. So, is doesn´t make too much sense if you say ‘we are not recycling more because we are creating energy from it (the waste)’”, he said.

 However, according to the Finnish PhD Mikko Paunio, a good point for those incinerators is that they do not need waste to be sorted since everything ends up on the fire. This is the case for general bins, whether they are from home or from the street are too mixed for recycling. The waste collected from litter bin, littering or fly-tipping can not be sorted.

The tips refuse many people because their rubbish is considered industrial and they need to pay. The tips’ prices have raised over 100£ per tonne in the last 10 years. Edwards: “What happens when they leave? Probably it is going to be flying down the road”.

Old coach litter
Furniture and abestos shall go to the tips

Tips have improved communications and technologies to avoid being cheated. “Now we share plates with other tips to avoid when anyone has been refused in one tip can not go to the next”.

Fly-Tipping

Last year, there were over a million fly-tipping incidents in England. It was a minor decrease of 1% over the previous year. However, it was the first fall after a continuous increase since 2014.

Nevertheless, the cost of clearance was £12.2 million compared with £9.9 million the previous year. This was for an increase in the number of major incidents.

A recent survey by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show half of the population are not aware of the Duty of Care related to waste. This might be why the main reason for choosing a disposal service is economical. According to the survey, just 28% knew how to check if the waste company is lawfully licensed to manage and dispose of the waste.

According to Tom Passmore, CEO at Dsposal, one of the problems are that people are disconnected. They do not link their waste with something more significant, they just want to make it disappear.

Fly tipping

 

Fly tipping

“In the UK, we have an epidemic of serious and organise crime network working within the waste industry. Main reasons are a low level of regulation, low level of enforcement on that regulation, and it is a cash-rich industry”.

In Greater Manchester, there were 53,000 incidents in 2016/17 which mean 144 per day. It was 20,000 tonnes of waste crime, and it cost almost £5 million in the clearance task.

Most of the incidents are thought to be done small vans in back alleys. It happens when people hire third companies to dispose of their waste. “Let’s say you do reforms at home and men knock your door and say that for 20 quid he will remove the asbestos and he has not the license. Probably he will leave anywhere”.

Although the waste crime is punished with an economic fine, it didn’t set off the clearance cost. The most extreme case in the region was in Manchester, in 2017. The council spent almost £3 million pounds in and only £35,000 was paid in fees.

In contrast, some boroughs are doing it better. Salford has been the only council with a constant decrease in the number of incidents with a consequent reduction in the costs of clearance, since 2013. Cllr Lancaster: “I am delighted that flytipping incidents have fallen in Salford. With tight budgets, we have been creative about how we use our resources, training our street cleaning”.

The graphic below shows how much each borough has spent in cleaning tasks. Manchester had an increase of over a £1 million pounds between 2013 and 2017, it reached £2,812,890. It is excluded on the graphic to help the reading. Bear in mind the population difference. According to GMCA, the borough with more residents was Manchester city wiht 541,300 people, followed by Wigan with 323,100 in 2017. The borough with less residents was Bury wiht 188,700 people.

Clearance cost by each borough

 

Clearance cost by each borough

Michelle Whitfield, a spokeswoman from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) said that people do not understand waste responsibility. “Although it is not GMCA responsibility, we all want to work with the councils and spread the message out”.

However, councils are working on that. They are coordinating their actions and improving their devices. Also, they encourage neighbours to report this anti-social behaviour. On July the residents in Reddish were shocked when the Fallowfield Loop entry was blocked by a mountain of rubbish, and they shared it on the social media

Littering is a crime, too

Another kind of filthy crime much more common is littering. This is punished with an economic fine, too. Although usually, officers catch people for this anti-social behaviour in city centre, when you move a mile away, papers, food trays and packaging invade the streets again.

Good citizens organise groups for picking litter. Danielle Wright, 22, set Salford Litter Heroes last April. They gather around 10 random people to clean the streets. So far, they have picked 230 bags. Salford City Council provides material for their task.

They are people of all ages who just want to see their streets cleaner. Though they only cover Salford East, there are many other groups all around Greater Manchester. They keep in touch and organise through the Internet.

“I think technologies is a broad space where the people can see what we share on social media, I tag friends in things like ‘have you thought about this?”.

In fact, this reporter shared on Twitter a filthy corner in Salford. The council answer immediately, although, at the close of this edition, non-action has been taken yet.

Danielle says there are neighbours dirtier than others. It has to do with takeaway shops and with the people behaviour. Nevertheless, some businesses try to keep their area clean and tidy. Unfortunately, it is just when they have the resources to do it, and they want a “greenwash”.

She, like many others, thinks people need more education and information. “In Salford, for example, recycling bins are free to order. My own dad lives here for tears, and he did not know when somebody stole his bin he could get a new recycling bin for free”.

It’s not a crime but is still dirty

Streets along Manchester are dirty. In Northern Quarter (NQ), every day from 5 pm, when many businesses close, until the collectors arrive at night, there are bags and rubbish everywhere. The residents complain because, with not enough space for big containers, the businesses leave their waste just at the doorstep.

Residents have tried to contact de council through NQ forum to eventually leave the ball in the contractors court, Biffa in that case. Kay Geroge: “We had pubic recycling bins, but they were removed because of misuse. Most of my neighbours don’t appear to care”.

He also complains because the NQ is very alive in the night with many pubs and clubs. “It is very difficult (to keep it clean) as many people are transient and don’t seem to care”.

Door with bags

 

Bags are everywhere at evening in NQ

Lori Colburne says that her neighbours do not seem bond with recycling. So, when they mix different materials in the wrong bin, the collectors do not pick it up. “No one seems to understand the concept! I’ve previously left notes, and cello tapes them to the bins. Nobody seems to understand or care. I often find bags of dumped rubbish”.

In Salford, Pedro –Is not his real name- also complaint because in his complex the organic waste is not collected. On his flat complex, there are over 400 flats, so he assumes it should be a considerable amount of organic waste mixed with the general bin. “When I contacted Manchester Residential Management, the company which manage the place, the plainly said ‘we are unable to provide organic waste recycling on-site’”.

Salford City Council tries to deliver the message. However, it is difficult. Scott Handerson, Waste Awareness Officer: “There are many different people with different backgrounds and is not easy to contact them. We try different tactics for different people”. He says that many people are getting the idea, although probably not enough.

Streets along Manchester are dirty. In Northern Quarter (NQ), every day from 5, when many businesses close, until the collectors arrive at night, there are bags and rubbish everywhere. The residents complain because with not enough space for big containers the businesses leave their waste just at the doorstep.

Residents have tried to contact de council through NQ forum to eventually leave the ball in the contractors, Biffa in that case, court. Kay Geroge: “We had pubic recycling bins but they were removed because of misuse. Most of my neighbours don’t appear to care”.

 

Oldham st at 6 pm, any day

He also complains because the NQ is very alive in the night with many pubs and clubs. “It is very difficult (to keep clean) as many people are transient and don’t seem to care”.
Lori Colburne says that her neighbours do not seem bond with recycling. So, when they mix different materials in the wrong bin the collectors do not pick it up. “No one seems to understand the concept! I’ve previously left notes and cello tapes them to the bins. Nobody seems to understand or care. I often find bags of dumped rubbish”. 

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