Baled refuse derived fuel (RDF) wrapped in plastic has been found to have been dumped at a site in Birmingham, the latest in a spate of such incidents at locations across the UK.
The Environment Agency is known to be paying close attention to incidences of illegal dumping of RDF, after thousands of tonnes of waste have been dumped in a similar manner in recent months.
It is believed that criminals may be making vast sums of money by charging to take away household or business waste but then dumping it at remote rural locations instead of using official permitted sites.
The latest incident, in the Digbeth area of Birmingham last week, involves around 3,000 tonnes of baled waste deposited on private land located under railway arches without the permission or knowledge of the landowner. The Environment Agency is investigating the incident, as it is not clear how the waste came to be dumped on the site.
Meanwhile, the owner of the land has been asked to pay for the removal and disposal of the waste from the site. The material, which is said to contain paper, plastic and carpet waste, is thought to have originated from the Midlands and East Anglia
Efforts to remove the waste from the site have begun today (May 20).
Commenting on the discovery of the RDF, an Environment Agency spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident which is being investigated by our Environmental Crime Team. We have been liaising with the landowners who will be removing and disposing of the waste shortly. If anyone has any further information we urge them to contact email@example.com or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
The Environment Agency has confirmed that it is treating this as a case of illegal dumping of material.
There is growing concern in the waste sector about the illegal storage and dumping of RDF, with waste being found to have been illegally dumped at sites in the West Midlands and in Essex (see letsrecycle.com story).
Environment Agency officers in the South East of the country have also issued a call for landowners in the region to be vigilant after three men were arrested on suspicion of depositing RDF disguised as plastic wrapped hay bales on a site at Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire (see letsrecycle.com story).
An increasing number of waste operators are turning to RDF as a means of treating municipal and commercial waste as an alternative to landfill. RDF is produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste and is burned to produce energy. The largest market for the material from the UK is northern Europe.
Although RDF is a fuel, it is still considered waste and it must be stored, transported and used in accordance with the relevant waste regulations.