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Everyone is responsible for the safe and correct disposal of their own waste. Flytipping is a crime that SEPA is working with partners to respond to and to prevent.

Preventing flytipping

Waste that isn’t managed properly can lead to flytipping or unauthorised burning. Flytipped waste blights our rural land and countryside and puts the health and wellbeing of our communities at risk.

SEPA is working with a variety of partners to tackle flytipping through the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy and associated Year 1 Action Plan.

Householders and members of the public can help tackle flytipping. Your waste is your responsibility. By following the guidance below, you can make sure your household waste is disposed of legally, safely and doesn’t cause environmental pollution.

Read on to see how you can safely and legally dispose of your household waste.

Disposing of garden and other green waste from your home? It is your responsibility to dispose of it safely.

  • If you have personal transport, you can take it directly to your household waste recycling centre (HWRC) and dispose of for free. Visit your local authority website for HWRC opening hours.
  • If hiring a waste contractor, ask where your waste is going. You have a legal duty to check they are a registered waste carrier. Ask for their waste carrier number when getting a quote and match it to our register of waste carriers. If the company cannot give you a number, they are probably moving your waste illegally and you are probably committing a criminal offence. You should only give your waste to a registered waste carrier. Visit SEPA’s waste carriers register to find a SEPA registered carrier, or contact us to check.
  • Do not dump your green waste in a forest or rural area thinking that it will decompose naturally. This is flytipping and is illegal. You may face a fine.

Offers from companies to collect and dispose of bulky household waste that seem too good to be true, usually are. You should ensure the costs you are quoted include the cost to dispose of your waste at a properly licensed waste disposal centre. Carry out these checks before you agree to an uplift of your bulky household waste:

  • Most local authorities offer a low cost (or sometimes free) bulky uplift service. Contact your local authority first before agreeing to pay anyone.
  • If you are considering a quote from a waste carrier, check they are registered with SEPA by asking to see their registration number. If the company cannot give you a number, they are probably moving your waste illegally and you are probably committing a criminal offence. You should only give your waste to a registered waste carrier. Match their registration number on the waste carriers register or by contacting us, and check that the waste disposal site they are taking your waste to is properly licenced.

Bulky household waste is a fire hazard and should be disposed of correctly and safely at a licenced waste disposal site.

Private Landowners Grant fund

As part of the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy, SEPA and Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) have launched a Private Landowners Grant fund to support interventions focused on preventing flytipping on private land. The fund is open for applications until 8th December 2023. See National Litter and Flytipping Strategy Private Landowners Grant Fund for full details of the fund including guidance on the objectives and eligibility criteria, as well as the application form itself.

Reporting flytipping

Incidents of flytipping can be reported by contacting the relevant local authority directly. You can find details for the relevant local authority at GOV.UK.

If the incident you report is on-going, is believed to be of a hazardous nature or is near a watercourse, the local authority may involve SEPA or Police Scotland in the investigation.

The Dumb Dumpers service, which incidents of flytipping could previously be reported through, is no longer operating. For information about why this service is no longer operational please consult the Dumb Dumper FAQs.

Waste crime

Waste criminals profit at the expense of legitimate businesses, undercutting them by not paying to deposit waste at approved disposal sites and competing unfairly. It often leads to illegal large scale chronic flytipping at industrial sites and rural locations. SEPA will work with partners, such as Police Scotland and local authorities to investigate large scale industrial flytipping in communities. 

Further information

For more information on flytipping and duty of care, visit: