Do you know who has your rubbish?

date20 November 2013

How can you tell whether the company you're contacting to remove your rubbish is allowed to do it?

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It might seem like a silly question, after all once you've paid someone it becomes their responsibility – doesn't it? The simple answer is no.

Everyone, including householders, is responsible for ensuring that their waste is disposed of appropriately. Unfortunately the rise of online and social media advertising is resulting in householders in the Perth area potentially using companies and individuals that are not registered waste carriers.

SEPA has contacted several people who were offering to do house clearances or runs to the skip site but were not registered to carry waste, and has made them aware of their obligations.  If anyone had used an unregistered carrier of waste, they would have been committing an offence  It may seem like a small detail, but if someone hasn't applied for the correct permissions to carry it, there is no guarantee that they will dispose of it properly either.

When local authorities and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) investigate reports of fly-tipping they look for evidence to help them trace where the waste originated. Often the first time householders realise that there has been a problem is when they receive a visit or a phonecall about their rubbish, and then how do you prove who you gave it to?

To make sure your rubbish is being disposed of correctly, follow these simple steps.

  • Check on our website to make sure the company or individual you are thinking of using is authorised to take the waste.
  • If you have a company or individual in doing work on your house (including decorating, plumbing and joinery) and they are removing the waste, they should also have a waste carriers' licence.
  • Gardeners and landscape gardeners are required to be authorised if they take away any waste from your premises.
  • Make sure you get information from them about where they are taking the waste. If you have details it will be easier to prove who took it away.
  • Never use a company that is not a registered waste carrier.

Brian Roxburgh, SEPA's Unit Manager in Perth, said:

Everyone must take responsibility for their rubbish and that includes ensuring that any individual or company that you use is suitably licensed to deal with it. Anyone who carries waste as part of their business should be registered with SEPA as a waste carrier, and it is easy to check.

"If someone hasn't registered with SEPA, you have to ask what else they don't do properly. We have seen previous incidents of people paying someone to take their waste away, only to find out later that it has been fly-tipped somewhere. The first these people know about it is when there's a knock on the door because something that ties the waste back to them has been found.

"If you make sure that you use someone who is registered and get documentation from them to show where the waste has been taken, then you not only protect yourself but also help track down the real culprits. If you do come across an advert for a company or individual and they are not registered, please do let SEPA know on 0800 80 70 60 so we can tackle the problem."

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