Illegal waste exports cost company almost £24,000

1st April 2015


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Peter J Smith

Sending mixed waste to Germany and China without notifying the authorities in writing and obtaining their permission has cost a Bedfordshire recycling company £23,745 in fines and costs.

Northampton magistrates' court was told that Monoworld transported mixed waste from its recycling facility in Rushden to a Tönsmeier factory in Herne, Germany, without the proper documents. This occurred on 1 July 2013 and was a breach of reg.19(2)(a) and reg.58 of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007.

Authorities in the Netherlands intercepted the waste cargo and the Environment Agency found there was no proper contract or financial guarantee between Monoworld and the German company. The waste, described as "recycled plastic", was contaminated with metal cans, food trays, aerosol cans and wood.

In a separate incident, on 7 October 2013, the company attempted to transport mixed waste to China without written notification and consent, and contrary to reg.23B(2) and reg.58 of the 2007 regulations. This consignment was stopped by Environment Agency officers at Felixstowe port and found to contain plastics contaminated with wood, cans and cable as well as pockets of polluting brown liquid.

The company had been convicted in 2004 for 10 offences under previous waste shipment regulations and, in 2012, it received a formal warning for a similar breach of the 2007 regulations when two containers of waste electrical and electronic equipment bound for Hong Kong were intercepted.

Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the agency, told the court that the procedures Monoworld had in place before the offences were committed did not specifically comply with the regulations and had not in any case been followed. Georgie Messent, defending, said Monoworld accepted there had been serious procedural failings but had since invested £9.8 million in new sorting lines and a recycling facilities at the Rushden site.

Monoworld was fined £5,000 for each offence and ordered to pay agency costs totalling £13,745.


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