The laws on refuse collection are under review and could be set to change

The right of UK householders to have their rubbish bins emptied on a weekly basis is enshrined in UK law as part of the Public Health Act 1875. Those laws require local authorities to arrange the collection and disposal of household waste, but that could be set to change if a new government review is processed. Currently councils are required to empty rubbish bins weekly as long as householders comply with a couple of simple requirements, but many councils in the UK have already dropped weekly collections in an attempt to encourage better recycling, due to strict targets being imposed by the Government. These Public Health Act requirements also include 2 additional requirements around bins being properly closed and rubbish being contained in proper containers and not left alongside them in bags for example. The requirements for conforming with local recycling initiatives are covered by a different, and possibly conflicting, Environmental Protection Acts. However it is estimated that already 10 million UK homes do not have their rubbish collected every week.


Some councils are already resorting to quoting the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in attempts to make people comply with recycling requirements, such as sorting out waste that can be recycled and dictating when and where rubbish bins and receptacles are placed. There are threats of fines of 100 pounds or more for people who put out their bins on the wrong day or put the receptacles in places that cause an obstruction. We've looked at a number of council websites that quote these laws and have found none so far that consider people who may not be around to put out their bins on the correct morning due to holidays or working away. They also fail to mention the difficulties faced by owners of properties that have minimal room to place the rubbish receptacles in the specified places like flat owners or residents of terraced properties that may have no front garden or yard.

There are some worries that less frequent refuse collections will lead some people to take disposal of waste into their own hands. Doing this properly by hiring skips or taking their own waste to local amenity collection centres are some options, but the real worry is a possible increase in fly tipping and the additional financial pressures the clean-up costs will impose.

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