Are you, your child or a relative heading off to university? Here’s our five top tips on how students can avoid being unintentional fly-tippers this academic year.

Whether moving from halls to a house, moving into a new student house or returning to the same property, all residents (including students) must follow their legal Duty of Care when getting rid of waste in order to avoid the risk of fines for fly-tipping.

1.     Upcycle and re-sell

Before throwing anything out, first ask: can it be re-used after a small makeover, or can it be re-sold to make a bit of pocket money for returning to uni?

If it’s in good condition, donating it to a local charity shop or group that would benefit from unused furniture is always helpful. They might even pick it up – leaving items outside student housing is never the solution and can lead to costly fines.

If there are waste items from the previous tenants when you first move in, students should speak to their landlord or property agent straight away. Terms & conditions should state that the property is clear of waste when moving in: the landlord is responsible for disposing of this waste legally and responsibly.

2.     Recycle

Chances are that students are living with a large group of people, so it’s important to be as organised as possible when it comes to recycling – in order to avoid overflowing general waste bin bags!  By recycling, it frees up space in the general waste bin for the whole house to use.

Students can double check with their local Council website for recycling days, and usually information like this will be available at the student union too. Students should always use the correct bins or bags as advised by the Council.

If supporting a student through the big move, make sure they are recycling everything that can be recycled, whether its paper, cardboard, glass or plastic waste – only recycle what the local Council will take and avoid “wishcycling”!

If unsure what gets recycled or not, residents can visit and use their search engine to check what can be recycled in each area of Wales.

3.     Check for a waste carrier

If students are moving into a new property and clearing out old furniture and other items, remind them to always check that the person they’re paying to get rid of their waste is a registered waste carrier.

Don’t rely on word-of-mouth or adverts as guarantees, because if the person taking their waste away leaves it fly-tipped, they and the waste remover could both be fined. Always check with Natural Resources Wales that a waste carrier is registered here.

Be aware of adverts on social media, especially Facebook, and online platforms offering low prices – this could be a red flag for a fly-tipper.

4.     Know what fly-tipping is…

Leaving items or bags outside charity shops, next to public bins, or even outside recycling banks is fly-tipping. So, make sure you dispose of waste in the right way to protect the local area – and your bank balance. Planning ahead is always a good idea.

5.     Check if your university offers help

Finally, students: if you are confused as to what you’re supposed to do and what you’re not supposed to do, double check with your university to see if they have any services or support on offer.

Usually, student unions will have a housing officer that is available to help you – make sure you reach out to the relevant services, they are there for you