At WT Skip Hire, we take waste management seriously, recycling around 90% of the contents we collect from our skips and disposing of the remainder safely and legally. However, some other companies aren’t so responsible. A number of waste management firms have been in the news recently after being charged for illegal waste activity. We take a look at what the recent convictions tell us about how to avoid the skip hire cowboys and make sure your waste is being disposed of legally.
Illegal Waste Burning
The Crime: In Blackpool, Owen Baguely of Baguely Skip Hire was found guilty last week of a number of offences, including disposing of waste wood by burning it. The Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service had to attend the scene, and over 1,000 litres of water were used to extinguish the fire.
Why it’s Illegal: Although burning a small amount of domestic waste on your own land is allowed, it’s illegal to burn trade or commercial waste. As well as being a waste of resources which could be re-used or recycled, fires can harm the environment and pose a health hazard to nearby people. If not contained properly, fires can spread and cause further damage.
The Law: If you burn trade or commercial waste, you could face a fine of up to £50,000 for illegal waste management. The Environment Agency warns that burning waste destroys a potential resource and you should always look for alternative waste management methods. They advise that you follow the waste hierarchy: prevention, preparing for re-use, recycling, recovery, and disposal only as a final resort.
What You Can Do: If you aren’t sure if a waste management company is legitimate, ask to see their waste management licence or waste carrier number. If they are evasive, it’s probably best to avoid them. You can also check a company’s credentials with the Environment Agency. If you see or suspect someone of illegally burning or disposing of waste, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously.
The Crime: In Llanelli, Wales, the owners of Sospan Skips were ordered to pay £180,000 last month when a judge found them guilty of illegally dumping thousands of tonnes of waste.
Why it’s Illegal: Illegal waste dumping, also known as fly tipping, poses a danger to the environment – especially when potentially dangerous waste, such as TV monitors and fridges, is dumped. There are huge costs involved in cleaning up illegally dumped waste, and public money could be better spent. Cowboy skip hire companies damage more than just the environment – they damage the waste management industry, undermining legitimate businesses.
The Law: Waste crime is punishable by fines of up to £500,000 and up to 6 months imprisonment for each offence. If a crime is taken to Crown Court, the fines are unlimited and prison sentences of up to 5 years per charge can be given. The Environment Agency is taking increasingly tougher action against waste criminals thanks to new sentencing guidelines for environmental crimes, and last month issued a record fine of £1.2 million to waste management company Powerday for the illegal deposit of over 17,000 tonnes of waste.
What You Can Do: Environment Agency officials estimate that hiring a skip from a cowboy skip hire company will on average cost half the price of a skip from legitimate company. While legitimate waste management businesses invest money in the proper licenses, taxes, equipment and facilities, cowboys cut corners by illegally dumping waste on public or rented land. If a skip hire company offers you a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t turn a blind eye – householders in England are responsible for making sure their waste is passed on to authorised businesses, to the tune of fines of up to £5,000. Always check a waste management company’s credentials before you hire them.
Thanks to the efforts of the British Government and the Environment Agency, waste crime is being cracked down on – but there are still cowboys out there. The next time you hire a skip, use a company you can trust. At WT Skip Hire, we hold a Waste Management Licence, a Waste Carriers License and liability insurance. You can check out our credentials online, but feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our responsibility to the environment. Call us on 01493 668118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.