Facebook users in the county which use unregistered waste carriers could find themselves ‘accidental criminals’, warns the Environment Agency.
Registered waste carriers in Bedfordshire 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.
Waste carriers, like other licensed trades, are required to register and operate in line with a set of rules which 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.
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But 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.
Instead, it could end up dumped on the side of the road or burned in a field. And more importantly - because the person who created the rubbish is legally responsible for it, it would be YOU who could face criminal charges - fined up to £400.
Peter Lennard, 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, by undercutting their prices and then blighting the environment."
The agency is asking people to take FIVE steps to check the authenticity of the waste carrier:
*Check whether the collector has a waste carriers’ licence from the Environment Agency
*Ask where the rubbish will end up
*Don't pay cash
*Insist on a receipt
*Record the details of the vehicle used to take the rubbish away
If you suspect criminal activity, call the Environment Agency incident hotline 0800 807060, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Before hiring someone to remove waste, you can check their credentials here