Since many local councils in England and Wales switched to fortnightly rubbish collections, domestic refuse has been left to fester, resulting in a 23 per cent increase in pests and vermin.
New research by esure home insurance shows that there has been an increase in pest sightings since the fortnightly schemes were introduced in 2005, including a rise in wasps (79 per cent – a 39 per cent increase), squirrels (49 per cent – a 23 per cent increase), mice (41 per cent – a 17 per cent increase) and rats (27 per cent – a 12 per cent increase).
According to the research we generate more than 43 million bags of rubbish weekly throughout the UK, with over a quarter (26 per cent) of households throwing away four or more bags of rubbish per week. However, 37 per cent of those questioned had forgotten to leave their refuse out for collection at least once every other month, allowing it to fester in their homes or in their outdoor bins until the next rubbish collection.
Over a third (37 per cent) of those questioned admitted that they already filled their bins until over-flowing on a weekly basis, leaving loose plastic bags outside the bin provided giving easy access to vermin. Over a fifth (22 per cent) admitted that foxes had consequently attacked their rubbish for potential food. A huge 80 per cent of those surveyed have spotted a rat or mouse within 5 metres of their home.
Over half (52 per cent) of those already using the fortnightly disposal scheme are angered by their council’s decision to decrease their refuse collections.
Confusion over collections
28 million (47 per cent) admitted that they felt confused about new recycling guidelines, which address how and when to leave their rubbish out. 37 per cent of those questioned said they were affected by the smell of garbage left outside their homes, particularly in the hot summer months and almost half (46 per cent) said that they make more trips to the rubbish tips than they did a year ago.
Urban areas have seen the most noticeable increase in sightings of vermin, with Greater London reporting a 62 per cent rise in the number of rats, squirrels and mice spotted.
Manchester homeowners produce the most rubbish, with almost one in ten (8 per cent) households throwing away a massive seven bags of refuse per week.