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Report shows waste crime in the UK now costs close to £1 billion a year

A new report carried out by consultancy Eunomia, and commissioned by the Environmental Services Association (ESA) shows that the cost of waste crime in England to the legitimate waste industry and the taxpayer has increased to £924m.


Report shows waste crime in the UK now costs close to £1 billion a year f

According to the report, Counting the Cost of UK Waste Crime, it shows that the total cost of waste crime in England has increased by 53% from £604 million in 2015.

The two most costly forms of waste crime to England’s economy are fly-tipping, which now exceeds £392 million (rising from £209 million in 2015) and the operation of illegal waste sites, which account for an estimated £236 million (up £98 million since 2015).

Report shows waste crime in the UK now costs close to £1 billion a year p

The report makes a series of recommendations to address the issue of waste crime:

  • Tighten the entry requirements for waste carriers, brokers and dealers to prevent criminals from accessing the sector;
  • Bolster duty of care enforcement to stop criminals from being able to access, store or process waste illegally;
  • Increase Environment Agency and Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) funding in the longer term – the Environment Agency’s current waste crime enforcement budget is just 3% of the total cost of dealing with consequences of waste crime
  • Introduce new waste crime reporting to better record and track the scale and impact of waste crime across the country.

Sam Taylor, Principal Consultant at Eunomia, said: 

“Waste crime is a blight on our neighbourhoods and environment.

Our research has shown a worrying trend in increasing costs of waste crime when the Government is working hard to promote resource efficiency and move towards a more circular economy in England.

It’s absolutely vital that waste crime is monitored accurately and the waste sector is supported by a robust regulatory regime.”

Gavin Graveson, chair of the ESA, said: 

“Waste criminals are exploiting a lack of public awareness and lack of regulatory oversight in this area, which has led to an increase in fly-tipping and illegal waste sites that contribute significantly to the overall £924 million cost of waste crime in England identified in our report today.

Successive ESA reports over the past eight years have highlighted the shocking extent of waste crime in the UK and its cost to both the environment and economy. This latest report exposes the unfortunate truth that, despite additional regulatory focus in recent years, the scale of waste crime has significantly worsened.

Although understandably delayed by the pandemic, it is now vital that the Government proceeds at pace with long-promised reforms of the regulatory regime and we must make it much harder for criminals to operate in the recycling and waste sector.”

Download the report here.


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e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.



9th of May 2024

British Motor Museum, Warwickshire

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