How to prevent and report illegally dumped rubbish.

What is fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of items. You can prevent this by following the S.C.R.A.P code.

Leaving items in the following places are all fly-tipping:

  • beside street bins and recycling banks
  • on the floor of communal bin areas
  • outside closed recycling centres and charity shops
  • outside your home on public footpaths

Common types of fly-tipping include:

  • tyres
  • waste from buildings and demolition work
  • fridges
  • freezers
  • garden waste
  • black bagged waste

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence that carries a fine of up to £50,000 (unlimited if the case goes to the Crown Court) or even prison. If your waste is fly-tipped, even by someone else on your behalf, you could still face a fixed penalty notice.

The S.C.R.A.P code

S.C.R.A.P stands for:

S - Suspect

C - Check

R - Refuse

A - Ask

P - Paperwork

Don’t let them take your rubbish until they give you proof that they are legitimate; also note their vehicle's registration plate. You can check whether they are registered as a waste carrier on the Environment Agency's website.

If you suspect that someone who you have spoken to will be disposing of waste illegally, refuse to use their services, and instead report them to the Environment Agency.

Always ask for evidence on how your rubbish will be disposed of and get the relevant paperwork e.g. a proper invoice, waste transfer note or receipt, including a description of the waste being removed and the waste carrier’s contact details.

Rubbish lorry and rubbish bag. Text saying It can be as small as a single bag entire truck load of rubbish

Preventing fly-tipping

The S.C.R.A.P code applies to all of us. Everyone has a legal duty of care to ensure their household or business waste is disposed of correctly and we each have a role to play in preventing fly-tipping.

The rubbish you’ve passed onto someone else is still your legal responsibility until it’s correctly disposed of. This means you can be prosecuted even if your waste is fly-tipped by someone else who’s dealing with it on your behalf.

For example, if you hire an unlicensed individual or company and they were to fly-tip that waste, you could end up paying a fine or being taken to court.

Remember whoever takes your waste away should happily answer any reasonable questions.

If a builder, tradesman or gardener transports waste on your behalf after they have done a job for you – they need to be a registered waste carrier and dispose of these materials responsibly.  You need to ask to see their waste carrier licence. If they don’t have one, don’t use them.

Always use a registered waste carrier to collect your rubbish. These can be found through adverts, online searches etc. The SCRAP code will help avoid your waste being dumped illegally.

Watch our short video. Let’s help prevent fly tipping by asking to see the person or company’s relevant paperwork, and always make a note of their vehicle registration, before handing your waste over to them.

If it’s your waste, it’s your responsibility.

Getting rid of items you no longer need or want

There are a number of choices, including:

  • Passing them on to be reused, by selling or giving items away for free through charity shops or online exchange sites.
  • Using your local district council kerbside collection service.
  • Taking large household items to a household waste recycling centre (charges apply for certain DIY type items)

If you’re unable to transport them to a recycling centre for any reason, you can contact your local district council to arrange a bulky waste collection.

If make private arrangements with an individual or company to take away your waste, ensure you have followed the S.C.R.A.P code and that they can provide you with their waste carrier license and the relevant paperwork e.g. a proper invoice, waste transfer note or receipt, including a description of the waste being removed and the waste carrier’s contact details, so you are meeting your householder duty of care responsibilities.

Check our Waste Wizard search tool for all your waste and recycling queries such as which bin items should be placed in.

Any material which is an output of any commercial activity, including work carried out by a builder or tradesperson on your behalf, cannot be accepted at any household waste recycling centre.

Reporting fly-tipping

If you see a fly-tip, make a note of where it is, take a photo if you can and report it to your local district council:

Your local district council will investigate fly-tipping and other waste related offences. The exception is illegal waste disposal sites run by the landowner or the persons controlling the land.

Remember, if you see a fly-tip in action - please call the Police on 999.

Report illegal waste sites

Fly-tipping is just one aspect of illegal waste activities, and there are many other illegal waste activities that take place such as unpermitted waste sites and burning waste etc. The Environment Agency can build up a database of these incidents and investigate cases if there are grounds to do so, thereby putting a stop to rogue traders, and illegal activities.

These incidents can be reported to the Environment Agency on 0800 807060. Residents can also anonymously report suspected illegal waste services to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.