A Tees recycling boss has urged householders to take caution when getting rid of any bulky household waste – or face the risk of prosecution.
While regular waste is picked up by kerbside collection teams, larger unwanted items are often subject to fees for householders unable to take them to their nearest recycling plant.
Despite the fact there are many genuine collection services available to dump items such as mattresses or furniture, there are an increasing number of unlicensed collectors taking payment but showing disregard for where they are leaving the goods.
Even though many householders allow their items to be taken away in good faith, they could still be hauled before the courts and slapped with a fine if the unwanted materials are later found to be dumped illegally.
Mark Penny, commercial manager at Hartlepool-based specialists J&B Recycling, said: “Only holders of a Waste Carriers Licence can recover, transport and then dispose of waste.
“This is an increasing problem, but it is important that people know the rules to avoid getting into trouble with the authorities.
“There are lots of services advertised by people who say they will remove bulky items for a fee. But if those items are later found to have been fly-tipped, then the responsibility falls back to the owner of the property.
“The owner of the goods has a duty of care to ensure they are correctly disposed of.
“My advice to anyone who is planning on getting rid of items to use a reputable company. People need to take responsibility. If an unmarked white van pulled up in the street and offered to fix your boiler, you wouldn’t do it as you would have concerns about things like the worker being properly registered.
“It’s the same with waste collections. If you cannot remove the bulky items and take them to a household recycling centre yourself, then it is vital that you get someone who is properly registered to do the job.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs lists the most commonly fly-tipped waste as white goods such as fridges and freezers, construction rubbish and garden waste.
J&B Recycling, which was shortlisted in the green category at the North East Business Awards, employs almost 200 staff.
It recycles approximately 120,000 tonnes of waste each year from household, commercial, industrial and construction sources with customers including car parts manufacturer Nifco UK, Camerons Brewery and dozens of community buildings, pubs and restaurants.