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Don't Trash Oldham > Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to clear up fly-tipping?

Once the investigation is completed, we will look to clear the fly-tipping up as soon as possible but please bear with us as our small team of officers cover the whole borough.

We work to a target of 20 days but will do it quicker if we can.

You’ll also be able to check if it’s been cleared using the tracking number from your initial report.

I’ve got an old fridge and a post I’ve seen on Facebook says they’ll take it away and get rid of it for £20 – that’s ok isn’t it?

You should never let anyone dispose of your waste unless they have a valid waste Carriers Licence.

You can check they have one by visiting the Environment Agency Website or ask them to show you their licence and take a photo of it. You must also ask them to give you a waste transfer note for the rubbish they remove.

If they take your waste away and then it is later found dumped, you’ll be the one facing a fine or a court appearance if it can be linked to you.

Find and check registered waste carriers or call the Environment Agency hotline 03708 506 506.

Bulky waste can be taken to Arkwright Street, Recycling Centre OL9 9LZ – it’s open seven days a week 8am until 8am.

Bulky Bobs

Alternatively, you can arrange for Bulky Bob’s to collect bulky waste from outside your door.

  • Book a collection by calling 0161 770 6644.

Bulky Bobs are an award-winning social enterprise that aims to re-use, recycle and refurbish at least 70% by tonnage of the items that they collect. 

Thousands of items of furniture picked up by crews are made available to families on low incomes. 

We can collect 3 items for £22.

Each additional item costs £7.50.

There is an additional charge of £11 for each fridge or freezer collected.

To protect our staff and customers we are requesting that you make your items available outside on day of collection,

If this is not possible please let us know and we will happily assist you.

Full details of what can be collected can be found on the Bulky Bobs website:

Please note that Bulky Bobs will also collect any bagged fabric or small electrical items, like kettles and toasters, for free as part of your paid collection.

Why do you charge for Bulky Bobs? Other councils don’t so why do you?

Bulky waste collections are heavily subsidised by the council.

The small contribution which we ask you to pay is a minimal amount towards the overall running costs of the service.

A lot of other local council charge for bulky waste collection, with some charging between £35 and £41 for collections.

Our charges for bulky waste collections are one of the cheapest across Greater Manchester.

The old factory over the road from my house is covered in fly-tipping – can’t the council remove it all?

If the council doesn’t own the land then our hands are tied to some extent, but we will do all we can to help resolve the issue.

The council – and ultimately council tax paying residents – shouldn’t have to foot the bill.

Once the matter is reported to us our officers will go down and investigate, like we would with any other case and take photographic evidence.

We’ll then attempt to determine who owns the site using land registry information.

An official letter notice will then be sent to the landowner informing then they need to clear up their land.

If this is ignored, we’ll start legal proceedings and this could result in the landowner facing a fine or prosecution.

Does the council use CCTV to catch fly-tippers?

Yes, we do have cameras placed at hot spot areas, and they have been used to catch individuals in the act in the past.

We can move them about if we see an issue emerging.

However, CCTV cameras do require a power supply and can only be put on lamp columns 8m or higher so they are not suitable at some locations.

I’ve got a CCTV camera on my house and it’s captured footage of a couple in a van dumping a sofa in the alleyway. Can that be used as evidence?

CCTV cameras should only capture images on your property.

If you have images that could help us identify an offender we can look at them but can only use evidence from this camera on one occasion.

If a camera is capturing incidents on a regular basis by law we would have to display signs advising that CCTV is in operation or apply to court to use your camera as covert surveillance.

If it has captured a registration plate or the name on the side of works van, for example, then we have got something to go on and investigate.

Please email us on:

The alleyway behind my house has gates on but it still gets waste dumped in it – what can be done?

It is the responsibility of you and your neighbours to keep the alleygates locked.

If they are locked then unfortunately it may be either your neighbours who are leaving the waste, or they are letting people in to drop it.

If the alleyway is part of an adopted highway, the council is responsible for maintenance but no one wants to live in a tip so we’d urge you to work with your neighbours to keep it tidy. The council doesn’t have the resources to keep coming back cleaning it.

Some residents have transformed their alleyways with planters and seating and children play in them, so this is something you might want to consider looking at and we may be able to help with it.

How much does it cost to clear litter and fly-tipping from Oldham, and how many cases are reported each year?

Sadly, fly-tipping and littering will not go away, as irresponsible people will always do it.

Every city, town and village across the country has to deal with it, unfortunately.

In 2020/21 our services were involved with 5,822 fly-tipping/dumping cases. The year before that figure was 4,382.

It costs around £2,500 a day to clear it from our streets when you take into account running vehicles, officer time and disposal costs, which are currently £388 per ton.

The street bins near my house are always full – when do they get emptied?

The council cleans the borough's streets, parks and open spaces on a routine cycle. Our staff work seven days a week.

Bins at busy locations such as Oldham Town Centre, District centres, gateways and corridors within Oldham are emptied more.

Over the last three years, demand on the team has increased massively. In 2015/16 they collected 685 tons of waste, by 2019/20 this had shot up to 1,385 tons.

We are now seeing people putting large carrier bags of excess household waste into the street bins rather than putting it in their general waste bins or taking it to a waste and recycling centre.

This means they are getting filled quicker.

Over the coming months, we will be replacing our street bins with much larger ones – the new bins will hold 240 litres compared to 90 litres in the existing ones, increasing their capacity from around 100,000 litres to 230,000 litres.

We are also looking to replace two 3.5-ton vehicles with two new 7.5-ton capacity compactor trucks reducing the number of visits to Oldham’s waste disposal site, saving fuel and allowing staff more time to spend emptying bins and cleaning our streets.

You keep taking bins off the street, so of course, people are going to litter. Why can’t we have more bins?

There is no correlation between the number of bins on a street and litter on the ground.

There are 86 bins in Oldham Town centre and we still have to pick up litter every day.

If you can’t find your nearest bin we know the majority of you will take your waste home.

Fly-tipping has gone up because you only collect the bin every three weeks. Why don’t you go back to weekly/fortnightly?

Since we introduced the three weekly collection cycle in 2016 our household waste recycling rate has increased thanks to all your good work.

If we went back to emptying bins on a fortnightly or weekly basis, this would not only have a really negative impact on the current recycling rate but it would also cost the council and council tax payers a substantial amount of money because we would have to pay for more general rubbish to be disposed of.

You don’t enforce – you should be fining people, and naming and shaming.

We do - and will continue to do so.

Since we started Don't Trash Oldham, more than 530 people have been fined for environmental crimes.

As of June 2023 another 63 had been successfully prosecuted in court - with more cases in the system.

The council regularly issues press releases and publishes social media posts after we have carried out a successful court prosecution – these will include names and addresses.

Due to national legislation, we are unable to publish the names of people who have been issued with and paid a fine for waste offences.

If there are black bags next to the bins, why don’t you just pick them up, instead of leaving them there to get ripped open?

We ask all of you that waste must be put in your bins.

We do this so there is a fair collection service across the borough. We have more than 90,000 properties in the borough and if each one left an additional bag outside then our crews would not be able to finish their rounds.

If you need another bin then you can apply to the council and we’ll look into it.