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Kerbside collection of domestic waste

On November 17, 2014, in EPA S33, Local Authorities, by PeterSilverman

Kingsend bags

It is illegal to place bags of rubbish outside your property boundary

It is also illegal for councils to permit residents to do so

All waste containing food should be kept in a vermin proof receptacle until it it removed by the dustman

When the segregation  of recyclable waste was introduced  councils set up  local collection points in car parks etc. Arrangements were also made for collections from domestic properties.  As the collection vehicle would park by the kerb this was often referred to as  kerbside collection to distinguish it from the other facility.

The use of this term was incorrectly seen by some as the green light to deposit bags of waste directly on the kerbside itself. Gradually, as councils realised that collection from the kerb was less time consuming, and therefore less costly, some of them tacitly encouraged this approach to be taken to all waste including bags containing food. As a result the scene shown in the above photograph has become a not uncommon site on our streets.

Council  web sites are typically vague telling residents when to put all of their  refuse “out” on collection days or on the previous day were early morning collections are made

Brighton & Hove City Council however are very specific saying “please place your black refuse bags on or by the pavement, at the front of your property,the night before or before 6.00 am on the day of collection”. More information on this here.

People who are going away  place their bags out  days in advance. In the mind of some residents the kerbside has simply become the place to dump waste.

However it is illegal both to deposit waste in this way and for councils to permit people to do so.

Bags on Street xxUnder Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 it is an offence to deposit any waste on land without an environmental or permit  or allow it to be so deposited (S33 1 (a)).  However S33 2 says that this does not apply to household waste from a domestic property which is kept within the curtilage of the property.

S46 (1) allows councils to require the occupier to place the waste for collection in one or more receptacles. Under S46 4 (c) they can require occupiers to place those receptacles on the highway (i.e. pavement or verge) but only after arrangements have been made as to the liability for any damage arising out of their being so placed (S33 5 (b)).

Even if there is not legal requirement to do so councils should, in my view, insist that all bags containing food waste are kept in a vermin proof  dustbin prior to its removal by the dustman  – and of course that they are always kept within the curtilage of the property.

Once a council lets the genie is out of the bottle they find it difficult to put it back.

Birmingham City Council provided plastic bags for green waste and asked residents to place them out in the street  for collection. When they introduced a different arrangement with charges residents continued to “fly -tip” their waste in the manner to which they had become accustomed.

Portsmouth City Council in their submission to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry into Litter said: “… if residents place their refuse out early, in some cases days before collections are due, bags are often split open by cats, foxes, seagulls etc. which in turn can spread waste along a street, potentially attracting vermin and leading to a drop in the visual amenity of any given area.”

All of the photos on this page were taken in my street  in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Spillage from waste put out for collection is a major contributory source of street litter across the Borough.

I have written to Clive Betts MP the Chairman of the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee drawing his committee’s attention to this issue.

Relevant links:

Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
Household Waste Recycling Act 2003

Peter Silverman
29th April 2015

Kingsend litter

Opposite my house after the early morning refuse collection on 25th Nov 2014


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