One man's junk is another man's treasure

So you’re looking into getting some work done on your home. It’s only a small job; taking out that fitted wardrobe that you regretted putting in last summer; repointing that old wall out the front that’s seen better days. But when the job is done and everyone’s happy, have you thought about how to get rid of waste material afterwards?

With the rise in fly tipping in the past several years, we would chance a guess that the answer is ‘no’.

Many tradesmen whose work produces waste will carry a waste carrier’s licence, and with registration fees for second tier licenses costing as little as £154 for 3 years (and first tier licences being free), this is a small price to pay to avoid finding yourself in a tight spot. Not having the correct licence is a costly business, with fines reaching £50,000 or even imprisonment! But there are always those willing to chance it. According to the Environment Agency nearly 2,800 prosecutions were made in 2010/2011 for fly tipping.

Tradesmen know the risk they take if they are not properly licenced, but the size of their business may not justify paying out for a waste carrier’s licence. What many homeowners may be unaware of is the fact that it’s not the tradesman who is responsible for any waste made at a property where they have carried out work – it’s you! The sole responsibility for the removal of the waste falls to the owner of the property.

Now, don’t let this put you off having smaller jobs done by a tradesman who does not have a waste carrier’s license. There are plenty of ways  you or your tradesman can dispose of waste and avoid being at risk of breaking the law. For one, you can register your property with the local authority, which allows the tradesman to remove the waste from your site as long as the final location of the waste is also a registered dumping ground.

Then there’s the D.I.Y option! If you own a vehicle big enough to carry the waste then an easy, and inexpensive way of clearing the debris would be to dispose of it yourself. By doing this, the amount of materials you dispose of in one go does not have as many limitations as it would if you left it to your tradesman. Contact your local council, they will point you in the direction of the dump nearest to your home.

Finally, given the rise in demand for furniture with ‘character’ and DIY home decoration, re-using old materials has become popular and it’s amazing what goes. With recycling websites like Gumtree, Freecycle and even their more practical sister Recipro on the up, you’ll be amazed at some of the stuff that gets picked up – as they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure! So before you consider taking that lump of wood or those unwanted bricks to the dump, why not advertise them on one of these sites and get rid of your waste by giving it a new lease of life…

For more information on waste disposal, head to the Environment Agency website: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk