Using litter bins could save taxpayers nearly £4m

Published: Wednesday 17th April 13

The council has a launched a new anti-litter campaign after new figures showed that the bill for picking up waste dumped on the street is costing local taxpayers nearly £4m a year.

The council has unveiled a raft of new initiatives to try and combat the problem and save residents money. It currently costs council tax payers in the borough £3.8m a year to clean up litter.

As part of efforts to reduce this bill, the council is now using a fleet of modern, brand new energy efficient vehicles to clean up litter from the streets.Part of the new street cleaning fleet

It is also stepping up enforcement action against individual litter bugs and also against local shops and businesses that try to save money by unlawfully dumping their waste on the highway.

And it is embarking on a new public awareness campaign to bring the message home to the general public, with the town hall's environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook explaining: "What we are trying to do is make sure that Wandsworth's streets remain amongst the cleanest in London.

"We will of course go on picking up all the litter that's deposited on our streets because we take great pride in the borough's appearance, but we also want to get across the huge cost of this task and encourage those people who do drop litter to stop and instead use the many bins that can be found all over the borough.

"Every year around 7,000 tonnes of waste is chucked on the ground or dumped on street corners. This is costing local taxpayers millions of pounds a year to deal with.

"Families that are already struggling to pay rising food and fuel bills do not need this unnecessary burden. If the litter isn't dropped in the first place then we won't have to spend huge sums clearing it up and these savings can be passed directly on to local people through lower council tax bills."The council wants to work with residents to keep the borough's streets clean

A recent crackdown outside Tooting Broadway station nabbed nine people who were all spotted throwing litter on the ground. They were each given an £80 on-the-spot fine. If any haven't paid after 28 days they will be summonsed to appear in court where they could be fined up to £2,500.

And six local businesses have recently been fined by magistrates for failing to comply with litter laws that require them to show that they have lawfully disposed of their commercial waste. These included an estate agent, a newsagent, a hairdresser, a take-away and two restaurants.

All six pleaded guilty to breaching the Environmental Protection Act and were ordered to pay fines and court costs totalling £3,661.

The council carries out regular spot checks on commercial premises in the borough to make sure they are complying with waste and litter laws. By law all companies must employ registered contractors to take away their waste and they must retain records and receipts to prove that they have disposed of their waste legally. It is unlawful for shops and businesses to use refuse removal services paid for by taxpayers.

In order to keep town centre streets clean, the council has introduced specific time bands when shops and companies can leave their waste out for collection by their contractors. This is designed to stop pavements being cluttered with unsightly binbags or refuse containers  

Businesses can find full details about their legal responsibilities at

Find out what to do if people see rubbish being dumped or flytipped.


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Recent comments

Great initiative - fine the disease speading litter bugs! Britain is by far and away the filthiest country in Europe. It is enlightening taking a train in France, Italy or Switzerland and then one into London. Notwithstanding the huge cost of clearing litter up; there is an opportunity cost associated with declining tourism directlty attributed to litter strewn roads, railways, streets, parks and rivers.
Joe G

17 September 2013

Wandsworth requires more bins, especially in areas such as parks. we have a massively growing local population thus amenities including bins need to be increased. Wandsworth common along bolingbroke grove has very few, often 100 meters apart. surely increasing bins in areas that people congregate would see a decrease in the need for the expensive clean up?

26 June 2013

The council should provide bins for the residents living above shops. At the moment there are no bins allocated to us, we need to keep the garbage in the house till Thursday. Try do do that when you have two kids and 6-8 dirty nappies a day. Oh yeah, the Council in its wisdom advises you to use washable nappies or starve your kids. Let's all go back to the 19th century in Wandsworth, for a cleaner borough. Provide more bins and collect more often, people won't dump rubbish outside the collection days if they will have where to put it.

7 May 2013

Wandsworth suffers from a severe lack of bins on the street and the only onstreet recycling points I can think of are the ones outside a station. This needs to be addressed as well. With the sheer number of food outlets providing some form of takeaway service I think Tooting highstreet could use a lot more bins along the road (between tooting broadway and tooting bec stations) Also King Georges Parrk really suffers with the poor level of service it receives from the Council. Users of the park are very good at putting their rubbish in the bin provided however the bin gets packed and you will generally find a pile of rubbish of equal size right next to it (if it gets windy this flys all over the place!)
Rudy De Souza

29 April 2013

Dear Council, where I live in Battersea there are hardly any dustbins. People walk from the main road having bought drinks and crisps and by the time they get to my street just throw them on the pavement. Some people don't care and throw litter anyway, but having more bins may help. More bins please
Anna Giannetti

19 April 2013

My area around Mitcham lane in Furzedown is filthy, we need proper fines given to bussiness here and encouragement for people to use bins. much of the litter on our street is ripped open bin bag.. no need

19 April 2013

Well done wandsworth bc - a hard line is needed to keep the Borough looking tidy. Don't stop. Maybe you can get the public to help with people who litter big. The weatherspoons in Balham still has lots of cigarette bugs dropped outside the front entrance - please can you do something about their customers habits!
Simon Lilly

18 April 2013

Good initiative. I hope this will include more litter bins and ensuring that litter bins in parks during summer are emptied regularly. There is no excuse though, and I hope many more fines are given to those who break the law.
Simon Shields

18 April 2013

3.8m a year and my street is still filthy due to the council only picking up rubbish once a week. I feel my council tax is going to waste.
Paul Abbott

18 April 2013