Don’t Fly Tip Your Old Bathroom – Recycle!

It is all too easy to rely on our builder to correctly dispose of our old bathroom when we decide to install a new one. But not all builders are doing the right thing and all too often your perfectly serviceable and recyclable old bathroom suite is being left by the side of the road to be collected by the council. This type of fly-tipping results in your council tax increasing and it looks unsightly.

This week it was reported in the press that a building firm in Hertfordshire was fined £2,500 after they fly-tipped an entire bathroom suite which they had ripped out of a property in London. This was despite them charging the owners of the bathroom for the disposal of the suite. While this is reprehensible enough, it is also worth pointing out that the owners of waste are ultimately responsible for its correct disposal. So, if the contractor couldn’t have been found, the property owner could have been made to pay.

In 2011, there were 820,000 incidents of fly-tipping across the UK and 63% of these involved household waste resulting from home improvements such as bathroom revamps. Most of these fly-tips came from small vans and cars, rather than from trucks or commercial vehicles. Councils were forced to spend more than £41 million to clean up this illegally dumped waste.

So, it is clear that ensuring your old toilet, sink, bathroom suite and even your toilet seat are recycled via your council recycling centre is the best way to go. This is especially true if you are carrying a DIY bathroom replacement.

It is thought that the DIYer tends to throw away 25 times more of their waste than a professional re-fitter would. Most builders will have a good idea of what can be sold for a small return or what can be taken directly to the recycling centre, whereas the average homeowner might have less of an idea.

Most recycling centres will charge for disposal of construction waste and items such  as baths, sinks and toilets come under this banner. For this reason, your builder will often charge you extra. The cost of a skip will usually cover this charge as well. However if you are willing to dispose of it yourself there is always a way of doing it.

  • Take it to your nearest recycling centre where it will be weighed and you will be charged based on the weight of the items. They will accept toilets, basins, baths, taps, old tiles and plasterboard etc.
  • Call your council to come and collect the items. There is a charge involved with this as well and again it will depend on how much waste you have.
  • Separate out the metal from your recyclables and sell it to a local scrap dealer. This will allow you to make a small profit on the disposal of your waste from your refurbishment. Copper pipework, taps and radiators sell well.
  • Put your items on Ebay. Many people are happy to buy used bathroom suites, especially if they are traditional cast iron or free-standing baths. You may also contact a dealer in household items who will come and collect free of charge.
  • If you get a skip, check the disposal licence of the operator to ensure they are taking the waste to council run approved disposal sites.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your old bathroom is correctly disposed of and if you fail to do so, you could be charged and fined. Obviously, the last thing you want is for your old loo to be sitting next to the road in a UK beauty spot. Not all builders and skip service owners are reputable, so do your homework and make sure they are doing what they promise.