I am a self employed, small scale gardener. I have recently received a letter from the Environment Agency asking me to pay £150 registration in order for me to carry waste in my van. If I do not pay this sum and I am caught carring any waste "no matter how small" then I may face a fine of up to £5,000.
I fully understand the objective of the the government department – they are looking to clamp down on the illegal dumping of waste which clearly costs the country millions of pounds. It does however simply no make sense.
The fact is that the disposal of waste for legitimate gardeners is so burocratic and expensive that we avoid touching it, leaving the market open for the fly-tippers and cowboys to make a stack at the expense of the public and country. Alternatively customers attempt to burn waste in back gardens or to force it into their black bins. Again this is not the most effective way of waste disposal for the tax payer.
The alternative to me appears simple. Allow small and medium sized commercial vans to take waste to the local dumps provided it is recyclable material which has been correctly broken down into the correct selections (ie. green chipped waste, hardwood, Chipboard etc). I fully accept that material waste that can not be recycled (ie. that will go to land fill) should be paid for.
If this policy were implimented I believe that the dumps would not be over-run by commercial vans. This is because itis not commercially viable to take large quantities of matial to the dump. When I do large scale clearences it makes business sense to hire a skip rather than making multiple visits to the dump. Customers are prepared to pay for skips when such work is done – they do however resent paying for a skip when they want a small quantity of material taken away (as an example I recently knocked down a small old shed). The customer intends burning the wood, whicjh is sad because I could have droped it into the dump to be recycled – but legislation restricts this).
As a gardener many of my customers are either elderly or single women. They often struggle to take items to the dump, and again either dispose of them in a less environmental way (ie failing to recycle it) or they take advantage of the subsidised local government scheme to have the waste collected. Even my own grandmother had the council remove waste for her at a very subsidised rate because the local dump would not accept the waste if I took it. I would like to help my customers and the environment by ensuring these things are recycled.
If you have reached the end of this – thanks for reading. I am a gardener, not a poet so I really hope I have got across what I am trying to say. I am convinced that this would benefit society, the environment and tradesmen.
Why does this idea matter?
1) Reduce burocracy and expense for small scale business'
2) Reduce the amount of fly-tipping – and hurt those who do this to gain a competitive edge
3) Increase the quantity of material going to recycling
4) Help some of my elderly customers who struggle to take wast to the dump