Fly-tipping up 300% as researchers call for improved recycling system in UK

Fly-tipping has increased by 300% during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to new analysis.

Researchers from the universities of Southampton and Portsmouth said the increase in illegal waste dumping has followed the closure of almost all tips, while at the same time the number of DIY projects has increased by householders stuck at home.

The problem has also been worsened with nearly half of all local authority recycling services in the country having been stopped or reduced, and charity shops being closed and not able to take unwanted goods.

Coronavirus – Thu Apr 9, 2020
Fly-tipping has increased by 300% ((Winchester City Council/PA)

The researchers also highlight that increased food waste is expected from the £1.9 billion worth of groceries stockpiled by panic-buyers at the start of the crisis.

And the increase in home deliveries is leading to a shortage of cardboard as many households are unable to recycle.

The researchers also point out that the environmental impact of the closures may be worsened with valuable resources having to be extracted that would normally have come from recyclables that have now ended up in landfill.

Professor Ian Williams, of the School of Engineering at the University of Southampton, said: “This pandemic has been a wake-up call to governments and the waste sector to ensure that supply chains and markets for recyclates are diverse and resilient.

“Our current waste management system will need to evolve to be resilient to the impacts of these rare, extreme, global events to create a successful circular economy.”

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