Plymouth City Council has been fined £11,742 for selling television monitors and other potentially harmful electrical waste to unauthorised recyclers.
In 2009, an Environment Agency (EA) officer visited a local recycling business after receiving reports of illegal waste activity. It was storing waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) outside in the open.
The recycling firm confirmed that the WEEE had come from Chelson Meadow Civic Amenity (CA) site. But when asked for a waste transfer note by the EA officer, the man didn’t know what a transfer note was.
Local authorities must ensure waste collected at civic amenity sites are safely stored and sent only to authorised treatment facilities (ATFs) for recycling and disposal. It is also illegal not to produce waste transfer notes when any waste is being transferred to a third party for recycling.
Further investigation, found that two other firms had removed hazardous waste from Chelson Meadow without transfer notes. Neither company was authorised to take waste and store it at their sites. In addition, WEEE from a separate CA site at Weston Mill, Plymouth was also illegally removed. A third party, allegedly involved in the illegal export of waste, bought the WEEE.
EA spokesperson Matthew Lee said: “There were serious management failures at both these civic amenity sites as a result of negligence on the part of the council. Potentially hazardous electrical and electronic waste should have only been transferred to properly authorised waste contractors and this wasn’t happening. The purpose of the WEEE regulations is to ensure waste is properly recycled in the UK and doesn’t end up in places like Africa.”
Plymouth City Council was ordered to pay £3,742 in costs and an £8,000 fine after pleading guilty to four offences including failing to ensure transfer notes were completed.