This is a rubbish blog!

The Trust faces all sorts of trials and tribulations in dealing with tonnes of boaters’ plastics, litter and other rubbish each year. Here's how you can help make it better.

Overflowing boaters rubbish facilities in London Overflowing boaters bins

Our dirty dozen

With hundreds of waterside waste disposal facilities across the country, it costs us more than £1,000,000 a year to empty the bins and deal with litter and fly-tipping.

Unsurprisingly, four of the busiest and most expensive facilities are in London with Little Venice topping the list with twice daily bin collections due to demand. Also in the top dirty dozen rubbish facilities are Bath and Bradford on Avon on the Kennet & Avon Canal. The busiest in the South-East area is in Rickmansworth. The great canal junctions at Fradley, Hawkesbury and Great Haywood also feature in the dirty dozen.

The menace of fly-tipping

Fly tipping or the dumping of non-domestic waste in the general waste bins results in our contractors being unable to empty the refuse. Last financial year there were 1,639 occasions when our bins could not be emptied due to misuse.

Non-collection at busy sites can quickly result in huge mounds of rubbish accumulating attracting pests such as rats. If you see someone dumping something inappropriate, hazardous or otherwise misusing the facilities, please report it to 03030 404040 or contact us. Their selfish actions threaten the facilities all boaters depend upon while cruising the waterways, as well as posing a potential threat to wildlife and the environment.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

Most of our rubbish compounds only accept boaters’ bagged domestic rubbish but we have an increasing number of boaters’ recycling points. By separating recycling from general rubbish, we avoid paying landfill tax and this helps save us money if people use the facilities responsibly. If someone puts a bag of general mixed waste in a recycling bin, the whole bin will be treated by our contractors as mixed waste and the tax will be charged on the whole load, so it’s very important to put the right thing in the right bin.

Recycling bins for boaters use in Little Venice, London

To find a recycling point near you use our online maps or download one of the many recycling apps to your smart phone or tablet. To find out more about our boaters’ recycling facilities and how to use our services map please visit our website rubbish and recycling pages.

You can also try and reduce your waste to a minimum by careful shopping, reducing, reusing and recycling where possible. There are many exponents of a zero-waste lifestyle out there and a quick internet search reveals many handy hints and tips that are helpful to boaters.

Please do:

  • Sort your waste, bag it and put it in the correct bin
  • Reduce your waste, reuse and recycle as much as possible

Please don’t:

  • Dump your old boat batteries or any dead electrical goods like televisions and stereo systems
  • Dispose of engine oil and other oil contaminated products like filters in our bins 
  • Dump your domestic rubbish in litter bins
  • Dump gas bottles or petrol containers
  • Don’t dump the leftover bits from your boat’s interior refit including the full Portapotti left by a previous owner (yes, disgustingly, this has happened and on more than one occasion!)

It’s in everyone’s interest to use our rubbish facilities correctly to reduce the costs of maintaining these facilities. The more money is spent on plastic pollution and rubbish, the less money there is for other activities like dredging and providing other facilities for boaters.

Do your bit and get involved

Boaters can also do their bit to help reduce the burden of plastics and litter on our waterways from joining Towpath Taskforce or just reducing, reusing and recycling responsibly.

Thank you in advance for taking our #PlasticsChallenge and helping us keep the waterways clean for everyone.

Last date edited: 3 July 2020