Herefordshire Council is encouraging residents to be aware of the waste disposal options available this festive period, and warning that fly tippers will be prosecuted.

Herefordshire Council Trading Standards Service manager, David Hough, said: “In the UK, we bin around 300,000 tonnes of Christmas packaging alone each year. Not to mention food waste, replaced household items, Christmas trees and decorations, and so on. It is therefore the most important time of the year to plan in advance how you are going to dispose of your waste safely and avoid the pitfalls that can lead to prosecution for improper waste disposal.”

“Not only is fly tipping damaging to the environment and an unsightly blight on our beautiful county, but you will be prosecuted. The council has worked to ensure everybody has a number of easy and effective ways to dispose of Christmas waste, so please make use of these.”

There are changes to bin collections over Christmas.

If your normal collection day would be Friday 25 December, the revised collection day will be Sunday 27 December. If your normal collection day would be Friday 1 January it will now be collected on Saturday 2 January 2021. Please ensure bins are put out by 6.30am as collections may be earlier over the festive period.

Use the bin collection day search to find out when your bin will be collected.

All household waste and recycling centres are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, but they will be open as usual for pre-booked slots throughout the rest of the festive period.

Please remember to book a slot to visit your local household waste and recycling centre to dispose of items. If you turn up without booking you will not be allowed to enter the site.

Herefordshire Council has also published guidance on how to dispose of various items, including Christmas trees, polystyrene, wrapping paper and cardboard boxes, cards and food, along with a list of handy tips for how you can reduce your waste this Christmas.

“With the wealth of services and resources available, there really is no excuse for not properly disposing of your waste this Christmas,” David Hough added. “Unlawful waste disposal and fly tipping costs council tax payers tens of thousands of pounds each year. Anyone found fly tipping waste will be prosecuted, we are committed to bringing fly tippers to justice.”

Recent prosecutions include:

10 November 2020

Mr Richard Cornelius Smith (27), Bosbury pleaded guilty to fly tipping waste and received a Community order of 60 hours unpaid work, a compensation order of £1000, costs of £500 and victim surcharge of £85.

Evidence led officers to Herefordshire residents who had paid Smith to take their waste away.  Further investigation revealed that Smith had regularly been posting waste collection adverts on Facebook, transporting and dumping collected waste.

3 November 2020

Ben Wesley Jones (22), Newtown Crossroads, pleaded guilty and received a 12 month community order of 120 hours unpaid work, costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £85 for multiple charges of failing to transfer waste to an authorised person and secure the transfer with a written description of the waste.

An investigation revealed that Jones had been posting waste collection adverts on Facebook under an alias name since 2018. Officers found evidence that van loads of waste that Jones had collected from customers was found dumped at multiple locations around Herefordshire.

23 October 2020

Mark Stewart (44), Leominster and Charles Stewart (72), Ledbury both pleaded guilty after taking away a van full of refurbishment waste from a nightclub in Malvern which was later found dumped just outside of Bromyard.

Mark Stewart received a fine of £1200, costs of £1350 and a victim surcharge of £120 while Charles Stewart received a fine of £600, costs of £1350 and a victim surcharge of £60.

13 October 2020

Shane Allard (33), Hereford pleaded guilty to fly tipping and setting fire to commercial waste.

Allard received a fine of £1100, victim surcharge of £110 and costs of £773.35.

David Hough concluded:  “In most of these cases, it is those who took the waste away that were prosecuted, but those who give them their waste could also face prosecution. Many advertised tip runs on social media, particularly Facebook. Social media is a major avenue for criminal waste handlers, so we advise members of the public to thoroughly research anybody who may be handling waste for you. You should only use an authorised person to dispose of your waste.

“We would also remind businesses that they must ensure appropriate measures are in place so the waste they produce is disposed of correctly. Businesses must have documentation to show who they have transferred the waste to and keep those records for at least two years.”

“The maximum penalty for fly tipping is a £50,000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment, so it really isn’t worth the risk.”

The Community Protection Team will investigate unlawful waste disposal and fly tipping cases that are reported via the Herefordshire Council website or by calling 01432 261761.