New research has revealed the scale of fly-tipping in England, with almost 650,000 incidents of fly-tipping recorded in just five cities since 2013.
The research, conducted by mattress recycling firm The Furniture Recycling Group, found that Liverpool was the worst offender for fly-tipping incidents per person, with 74,909 total incidents reported.
That figure equates to 15% of the city’s population having illegally dumped general waste at some point over the last five years.
Leicester and Sheffield fell in second and third place for the number of fly-tipping incidents per person, while London topped the list for number of overall incidents with 366,087 incidents reported over the five year period.
Outside of London, the four worst cities for fly-tipping incidents were Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Leeds.
Nick Oettinger, managing director of TFR Group, said: ‘In 2016-17, [fly-tipping] cost councils in England £57.7m, at a time when budgets are being squeezed.
‘It’s a problem that affects everyone, ruins our cities and countryside and simply passes the waste problem on to someone else.’
Of the 646,039 fly-tipping incidents reported since 2013, mattresses made up 13% of the waste illegally dumped.
Mattresses are often seen as difficult and expensive to dispose of, leading over 60,000 mattresses to be dumped across England over the past five years.
The report found that Birmingham was the worst offender on this particular front, with over one in four fly-tipping incidents in the city since 2013 involving a mattress, amounting to 13,000 tonnes of bulky waste being dumped.
The report has led to calls for the government to tackle the waste problem by placing greater focus on the circular economy locally and nationally.
The government is currently proposing the introduction of new financial penalties for householders who do not properly dispose of general waste.
While Oettinger noted that these new penalties will deter some fly-tippers, he said that the real problem lies in waste charges with many councils charging a fee to collect bulky waste such as sofas and mattresses.
‘We need to make it easier for people to discard of these items and ensure that they are disposed of in the best possible way,’ Oettinger said.
TFR Group has called for councils’ bulky waste collection charges to be scrapped and for designers, manufacturers and retailers to consider how their products can be reused.
A Liverpool City Council spokesperson told Environment Journal the way the city collates data on fly-tipping differs from rest of UK.
‘For instance, we include plastic bags where most don’t,’ they said.
‘As an authority, we were also the first to secure a prison conviction for a serial fly-tipper – and pursue prosecutions vigorously.’
The news follows TFR Group’s previous warnings that England’s landfill sites could overflow by 2022 unless the recycling streams for bulky waste are substantially improved.