Tackling Bulky Waste & Fly Tipping in Communal Environments

Table of Contents:

Bulky waste left on the street

Effective waste management in communal environments is a challenge to achieve successfully. Key factors are providing the right facilities, ensuring an appropriate and efficient collection frequency, mitigating fire risk, and enabling the effective separation of recyclables.

One waste stream that is particularly difficult to capture is bulky waste, a major contributing factor in fly tipping statistics. DEFRA reported that local authorities in the UK dealt with 1.09m fly-tipping incidents in 2021/22, with fly-tipped household waste, often constituting bulky items, amounted to 671,000 incidents; almost ⅔ of all those reported.

In communal environments, these incidents not only impact the environment but also negatively affect the well-being of residents, potentially acting as an instigator for further fly-tipping and ultimately derailing community pride in their surroundings and neighbourhood.

The Challenges of Bulky Waste Disposal

Bulky waste, often referred to as “large” or “oversized” items, can include furniture, appliances, electronics, and other items that cannot be stored in regular waste bins to await collection. But one waste-stream that is particularly difficult to capture from communal environments is bulky waste.

Bulky waste at HWRC

For households with access to a size-appropriate vehicle, a trip to the local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) presents the most effective solution for bulky-waste disposal. However, for those without access to a vehicle, this solution is far less feasible. In communal environments, such as apartment complexes and housing estates, residents are typically forced to rely on council collections, but the criteria for this service typically relies on users storing their bulky waste items on the street to await collection.

In order to restrict further fly-tipping and risk of arson, the designated storage space needs to be safe and secure. However, for buildings with a lack of external space this can be very restrictive, particularly for residents on high-rise buildings where transporting items to the street involves descending multiple flights of stairs. For those with mobility restrictions, this is largely impossible. 

For residents, there may also be a lack of awareness regarding proper disposal methods for bulky items, leading to dumping in communal areas. Accumulated bulky waste can quickly detract from the visual environment in communal spaces and discourage residential use, with landlords potentially incurring high removal & disposal costs so that the appearance of their properties is maintained.

Behavioural Drivers for Fly Tipping

Fly-tipping is a prominent societal issue that has an overtly negative visual impact in almost any environment, fly-tipping can have significant financial implications for local councils, with the removal of excess waste then contributes to carbon emissions.

Fly-tipping can also create fire-hazards and contribute towards larger problems for communal environments by creating hot spots for arson and anti-social behaviour. This is one of the leading reasons that bin stores have often been located out of sight.

Tackling Bulky Waste and Fly Tipping

Tackling bulky waste and fly tipping in communal environments is ultimately a collective responsibility that requires the active involvement of residents, landlords, and local authorities. This can be utilised to ensure clarity and provide crucial pathways to raise awareness, enhance waste collection services, and foster a sense of community ownership to create cleaner and more sustainable communal environments.

Community Awareness and Education

Improved Collection Services

Surveillance and Enforcement

Community Cleanup Initiatives

metroSTOR Bin Stores and Housings for Communal Environments

Integral to tackling fly-tipping is establishing the means to capture bulky waste at the source. metroSTOR provides a range of communal bin stores and housings that offer proven solutions for ensuring residents in communal environments have an effective means to better manage bulky waste. 

Bulky waste outdoor storage units

Through a consideration of available footprints, metroSTOR facilitates the designing-out of free space in communal bin stores that tends to attract fly-tipping, helping to reduce potential fire risk. The use of clear signage & apertures is also a proven and effective means of enabling residents to better separate waste streams, with opportunities to introduce WEEE collection reducing fire risk and also eliminating the dumping of unwanted electrical items in general household waste.

Options to specify metroSTOR PTM Outdoor Storage Units as bulky waste stores are also effective solutions to enable short-term storage of items as they await collection, helping to restrict fire risk and further instances of fly tipping. For landlords, this can be key to reducing bulky waste disposal costs and improving the quality and appearance of communal  environments.