Work is underway to prevent dumping in alleyways by private landlords when thousands of students leave Liverpool at the end of the academic year.
The city council has written to 550 landlords across Greenbank ward, which has an estimated 3,500 students who occupy nearly half of the properties in some areas of the ward, offering them a discounted house clearance service through Bulky Bobs, the social enterprise and registered charity which collects and recycles larger items.
It is in a bid to prevent tonnes of furniture, food, crockery, bedding and appliances being simply thrown out as waste as landlords empty properties in preparation for new student tenants moving in.
In previous years the council has had to foot the bill for picking up the items which blight passageways and are a fire hazard due to the risk of arson.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Students make a massively positive contribution to life in our city, but sadly some of their landlords are not as responsible.
“Despite running a private and often extremely profitable business off the back of students, they are too often happy to abdicate their duties and expect others to collect household goods which blight our communities.
“Fortunately, thanks to our Landlord Licensing scheme, we now know who they are and are in a position to remind them of their rights and responsibilities and take action if they don’t abide by the rules.
“It is everyone’s collective responsibility to reuse and recycle where possible and reduce the amount of waste thrown away.”
Greenbank ward councillor Laura Robertson-Collins said: “Landlords who profit from student tenants are responsible for clearing up behind them and will be held to account for this.
“Much of the apparent ‘waste’ that is thrown out of these houses, such as crockery and kitchen equipment, is perfectly serviceable and could be re-used by the next tenants.
“We have to challenge the amount of waste that is generated and how it is managed.”
Bulky Bob’s Manager, Claire Donovan, said: “As well as collecting bulky household waste for Liverpool City Council for the past 18 years, we also offer a full commercial furniture collection and office recycling service. So we were delighted to partner with the local authority to help encourage landlords to responsibly dispose of unwanted items by offering a discounted rate.
“Bulky Bob’s is a social enterprise and registered charity and we work hard to help local families in need by giving away free furniture. We hope that this project will not only help to help to reduce fly tipping, but it could also be a valuable source of preloved furniture that we can then give away to local people in crisis.”
Leave Liverpool Tidy, a scheme run by Liverpool Guild of Students, is distributing bags around the Garmoyle Road/Gainsborough Road areas for students to leave unwanted items in which will be reused and recycled. Last year over ten tonnes of items were redistributed through the project.
Maggy Read, who co-ordinates the Dales Residents Group in the L15 area of Greenbank Ward, said: “Every summer after the students have left our area is blighted with heaps of waste in front yards and alleys, cleared from student houses by landlords’ cleaners and builders. Residents then have to spend three months of each year reporting this fire risk to the authorities – last year we had three instances of arson when landlord rubbish and builders’ materials were set alight, and we were lucky that no-one was seriously injured.
“We are delighted to hear that a targeted attempt to prevent this problem is being made by the council and its partners.”
The work is part of a wider crackdown on environmental crime which has seen a doubling in the number of staff tackling flytipping and cleaning alleyways, with four new teams working seven days a week and thousands of people fined for dropping litter.