Rogue rubbish collectors

How to avoid a fine by spotting rogue rubbish collectors

In 2020/21, local authorities across England dealt with a staggering 1.1 million fly-tipping incidents, a 16% increase from the 980,000 incidents in 2019/20.

We need your help to keep our countryside beautiful. Fly-tipping is a blight on this beauty, is a criminal offence and we want to stop it.

Did you know that you're responsible for your rubbish, even when you pay someone else to get rid of it? Fly-tipping is leaving rubbish on land and is a criminal offence. It could result in you receiving a fixed penalty notice of at least £600, an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment.

It's your rubbish and your responsibility, even after it has been collected, so you need to check that the person taking it is going to dispose of it properly.

How to spot rogue waste carriers/collectors

If you're thinking of paying someone to take your rubbish follow this essential checklist, so that you don’t get stung:

  • avoid cold callers, such as people who see rubbish outside your property and offer to remove it for you
  • avoid those who will only take payment in cash
  • suspect those using vehicles with no company name or vehicle branding.
  • ask to see their credentials

Rogue traders may also advertise on social media that they are fully licensed. Always ask to see their full credentials before hiring them. They should be able to send you a copy or post it on their social media channel.

Check your waste carrier's licence

What the credentials look like

All licenced waste carriers should be able to show you their licence card.

The card is provided by the Environment Agency.

One side is green and white. It contains the Environment Agency's information:

Example waste carrier licence: Environment Agency information

The other side is white with black text. It contains the details of the licence holder:

Example waste carrier licence: licence holder details

If you are in any doubt about this being legitimate, you can check your waste carrier's licence online, call the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506 or email

Top tips for avoiding a fine

Get a note

Get a note from the carrier of what is being taken, making sure it includes the date, details of the company and where the carrier is taking the rubbish (this is called a waste transfer note). If the trader will not provide you with this note, avoid using them. You must keep the waste transfer note for a minimum of 2 years.

Note the vehicle registration

Keep a note of the vehicle registration number used to take your rubbish.

Check the register

Check the public register of those licensed to carry waste in Central Bedfordshire.

Report fly-tipping

Report fly-tipping if you see anyone doing it.

Alternative ways to dispose of your rubbish

There are alternatives to using a third party to collect and dispose of your rubbish.

Check if our bulky waste service is suitable for your items. We operate this service for many items that won’t fit in your kerbside bin.

Find your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre (Tidy tip): you can dispose of household waste at any of these.