Waste management firm Monoworld has had to pay over £23,000 in fines and costs for attempting to export contaminated waste to Germany and China.
The Bedfordshire company attempted to export recycled plastic waste from the Rushden site of a sister operation, Monoworld Recycling, in 2013 in two shipments.
They contained heavily polluted waste including rodent droppings, metal items, mould and other materials (above photo showing removed contaminants) that were inappropriate for a recycled plastics export.
A consignment to Germany was stopped in transit by Dutch authorities and EA inspectors uncovered the China shipment during a routine inspection in the Port of Felixstowe.
Monoworld was fined £10,000 at Northampton Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay Environment Agency (EA) costs of £13,745 after admitting two breaches of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007.
Magistrates said the offences were at best negligent and at worst deliberate.
EA officer Liz Williams said: “Waste needs to be described accurately at all stages of the process so that everyone knows what they are dealing with.”
The EA said both Monoworld and Monoworld Recycling were convicted in 2004 for 10 similar offences under the previous regulations.
Representatives of the company told the court that it was accepted there had been serious procedural failings but the company had taken steps to address them with a £9.8m investment in new sorting lines and a new recycling facility at the Rushden site.