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How many of you have been clearing out your house during lockdown? I can confidently estimate at least 90% of you.
Yes, it’s a great time to get all the odd jobs done around your house, but what happens when the skips aren’t open, recycling banks are overflowing and the bins are not big enough for all the rubbish we have realised we don’t need?
Sadly, in the UK it has caused a huge increase, 300% to be exact, in fly-tipping due to people having nowhere to dispose of furniture and large items.
Not only is fly-tipping illegal in the UK but has hugely detrimental impacts on the local environment. It is not a ‘victimless crime’ as so many people state, as it ruins the wildlife and rural landscapes that we all know and love.
Scotland’s leading rural and environmental organisations joined forces to urge "people not to be selfish".
"Now is not the time to try and get rid of items following a spring clean or DIY project, we are urging you to keep them at home until recycling centres re-open and charities begin to collect furniture and clothing again," a joint statement from NFU Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates, Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Zero Waste Scotland said.
However, due to social distancing rules, local authorities are finding it tough to keep on top of it as they struggle to maintain even their basic services during the COVID-19 crisis. Meaning that the fight against fly-tipping has been left mainly to campaigners and members of the public.
And how have they been fighting back? Through the power of social media of course! People around the country have been posting photos of piles of rubbish left on verges and in fields on social media as environmental campaign groups urge the public to dispose of their waste responsibly during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Really, keeping items at home for a few weeks is better than taking part in a criminal act that could carry a fine of up to £40,000!
ClearWaste, an app that allows the public to report fly-tipping, shows nearly 4,000 examples of fly-tipping in England alone. Items such as baths, sofas, bed frames, broken mirrors, toys and clothing - none of which are biodegradable and therefore will sit there until they are taken.
So let’s all be a little more conscious of our actions when clearing out and ensuring we dispose of unwanted goods by selling, properly disposing or even upcycling.
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