Furniture Choice

Furniture Choice survey reveals that the UK and Ireland are more confused than ever about legal waste disposal.

Bringing new furniture into the home is always a welcome treat, but what do you do with your old items? With government statistics released last year announcing that illegal waste dumping levels (known as fly tipping) were increasing, the team at Furniture Choice wanted to find out what was going on with our nation’s furniture disposal – and what we discovered really surprised us.

According to our research on the nation’s attitude to and understanding of fly tipping, we found some shocking statistics. A whopping 28.1% of British and Irish adults didn’t know that fly tipping was actually illegal, and despite its illegality, 13% of adults in the British Isles openly admit that they have fly tipped.

Why does fly tipping happen?

As fly tipping continued to rise in our nation, we were determined to find out the reason why – and our results show that laziness of British and Irish residents is not the main issue. In fact, of those that have fly tipped, over a third said that there was simply nowhere else for them to take their rubbish, indicating that more needs to be done to increase awareness of proper disposal methods.

Main reasons for fly-tipping

A vast 90.6% of UK and Irish adults feel that councils should provide easier alternatives to fly tipping, a sentiment that’s most agreed with in Wales, where 97.5% of residents call for councils to readdress present waste disposal options.

Where does fly tipping happen the most?

Though we’ve mentioned that the Welsh are the most keen to get their councils to provide easier alternatives, they aren’t the worst offenders of fly tipping.

In fact, those living in the Republic of Ireland (37%) are most likely to have admitted to the illegal activity, with only 10% of the Welsh population having agreed to fly tipping – the lowest amount across the entire UK and Ireland.

the most fly-tipped regions of the UK and Ireland

But what about our cities – which one of these is the worst offender when it comes to fly tipping? Breaking away from the regional trends, those in Northern Ireland’s capital Belfast are the worst for fly tipping with 35% of residents admitting they have, closely followed by Birmingham (29.6%) and Dublin (28.6%).

The top 10 cities that admit to fly-tipping

At the other end of the spectrum, Liverpool is home to citizens least likely to dump rubbish illegally, with just 13.1% admitting to the act; it was followed closely by Norwich (13.5%) and Southampton (14%).

What is the government doing about fly tipping?

So, we’ve managed to assess that there is an issue with fly tipping in both the UK and Ireland – but we’ve also seen that the reasons behind fly tipping are something that comes from a lack of understanding and awareness. We’ve also found that a huge proportion within both nations feel that local councils should provide easier alternatives to fly tipping.

During our research, we also discovered that the government has recently introduced changes to fly tipping fines. On asking the British and Irish public about this, it soon became clear that these changes weren’t well-known, with just 9.4% of the entire population claiming they were aware of any local changes.

Awareness of government changes to fly-tipping fines

According to an official report from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, local authorities had to deal with a 20% rise in fly tipping incidents (a total of 852) in the UK in 2013/14 compared to 2012/13. The cost of clearing up these fly tipping incidents in 2013/14 was £45.2 million – a 24% increase on the previous year.

With that, local authorities have increased the fines associated with fly tipping – something which could now cost guilty businesses millions, and individuals thousands, with on-the-spot fines being introduced in some areas too.

What are we doing to help?

It’s clear that with recycling and waste, be it furniture or other types of waste, there is a great deal of confusion as to what you can do with it.

We’re really keen to help our customers know that we’re here to help when it comes to getting rid of the old furniture pieces they’re replacing, and that’s why we’ve developed our Recycle or Donate tool, which you can use to find out about your local recycling options.

If you’re in any doubt as to what to do with an item, it would always be best to get in touch with your local council before resorting to fly tipping – after all, it is an illegal and potentially costly venture!