According to the latest calculations from Highways England, it is costing about £8 million a year for rubbish removal from the roads in England. Moreover, these funds are coming straight out of the pockets of hard working tax paying citizens. What makes this even sadder is the fact that this same money could be going towards the community in so many ways, if people would just refrain from discarding their rubbish illegally and in public places. For every bag of rubbish that has to be collected, the same money could be used to fill a pot hole.
People who litter rarely think twice about the costs of what they are doing. They buy a snack, tear open the packaging, eat the snack, and then toss the wrapper wherever they happen to be at the time. They may pass a fly tipping hot spot and not have the moral conviction to not “pile on” to this illegal act. They may be more motivated by how much they think they’ll save than what it will cost society to abandon their trash on public roads.
There are costs that go far beyond the direct financial burden of agencies like Highways England removing rubbish. Detectives have to spend time searching for offenders and we all know time is money! Local councils have to devote time on their agendas to figure out how to deal with littering hot spots in the community. Public employees have to spend time planning out ways to encourage more people not to litter. Local organizations have to use their resources and time for litter picking and other programs on rubbish removal. These are all “hidden” costs that people don’t always realize.
There are also costs to entire families if one member of the family gets caught littering. If a fly tipper is caught red handed, he or she is fined a minimum of £400. This can have a profound impact on the household budget for the entire family, especially for families on tighter budgets. This can affect a family’s ability to acquire necessities like food and clothing. It can be the difference between getting a new piece of furniture or not. It can also impact the family vacation or the Christmas holiday.
If you happen to see anyone who is about to fly tip, you can intervene by letting them know how easy it is to schedule an appointment with Clearabee for rubbish removal right from their home or business. Let them know they can even get an estimate of how much it will cost by sending Clearabee a picture of the rubbish. If they refuse to listen and fly tip anyway, if you can do so safely, take a picture of them with your mobile phone or at least jot down an accurate description of the fly tipper, and a car license plate number if you can, and pass this information to the police. Even though it will be a hard (and costly) lesson for them to learn, the more word spreads that people are willing to do this, the less littering and fly tipping will occur.
There are also environmental costs when rubbish removal cannot keep up with the littering. According to WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation), approximately one million marine mammals and birds are killed each year as the direct result from getting entangled in discarded plastic. Off the coast of Scotland, many minke whales have been seen and photographed entangled in plastic. Some sea creatures, such as sea turtles, actually mistake the floating plastic for plankton food and ingest it, killing them from the inside out. Of course, there’s also the cost of unseemly rubbish heaps that decreases one’s ability to enjoy nature.
Some people mistakenly believe that littering food is okay because it is biodegradable. Further, these same people tend to think that discarded food does not need rubbish removal services because it will eventually decompose. However, discarded food is a very serious environmental problem. Often, it ends up in lakes, ponds, creeks, streams, and other bodies of water where it causes wide scale outbreaks of algal blooms. This depletes the water of oxygen and causes aquatic wildlife to die. Some human food is actually toxic to wildlife as well. Further, decomposing organic matter also produces methane gas that can cause uncontrolled fires and contributes to the greenhouse effect.
While there are always costs associated with rubbish removal, the savings far outweigh the costs. Clearabee is a company that was created with this idea in mind and has pledged since day one of their operation to offer rubbish removal services that keep as much of the litter out of the landfills as possible. When Clearabee picks up rubbish, they purposefully look for a Waste Transfer Station that will either upcycle or recycle the rubbish they deliver to them, with a preference for upcycling. In fact, they maintain a very extensive database of these Waste Transfer Stations across the entire country so they can always know where to take the rubbish.
Companies like Clearabee, along with the collaborative efforts of conscientious citizens, are reducing the costs of rubbish removal, while at the same time, increasing what we save. Hopefully, these efforts will continue to be contagious as more people begin to understand all the costs of littering, fly tipping, and allowing their rubbish to end up in landfills.