Waste carriers, like other licensed trades, are required to register and operate in line with a set of rules that protect the environment and their customers.
These rules require them to dispose of waste in the right place, store it safely and keep accurate records of its transfer and disposal.
Registered waste carriers have become concerned about the number of ‘man and van’ adverts and self-promotion on Facebook and other social media platforms offering to take away people’s rubbish.
If these traders don’t have a waste carriers’ licence, there is no guarantee rubbish will be disposed of safely and responsibly at an authorised site.
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And because the person who created the rubbish is legally responsible for it, it is they who could face criminal charges.
Graham Betteridge, of the Environment Agency, said: “Rogue traders using social media to con people into parting with their waste cheaply are the new door steppers.
"People are then discovering their waste has been fly-tipped in a country lane or beside the road. These illegal waste carriers undermine legitimate businesses, undercut their prices and blight the environment.
“We want people to take three steps to check whether the collector has a waste carriers’ license from the Environment Agency. Ask where the rubbish will end up, don't pay cash and insist on a receipt, then record the details of the vehicle used to take the rubbish away.
“If people suspect criminal activity, they should report it on our national incident hotline 0800 807060 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and give as much detail as possible. Let’s work together to stamp out waste crime and protect our beautiful countryside.”
People could be held responsible if their waste is fly-tipped or otherwise illegally disposed of. If this happens and they have not met their duty of care, they could be fined up to £400.
Before hiring someone to remove waste, check their credentials online at environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers.