Two company directors and their company have been ordered to pay £130,000 for illegally exporting 187 tonnes of hazardous WEEE to six African countries between 2011 and 2015. One of the directors was also given a 9 month suspended sentence.
The prosecution, brought by the Environment Agency, follows their officers finding eleven shipping containers full of electrical waste destined for Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania – where there are insufficient controls to avoid pollution and harm to people and the environment.
The BBC’s Panorama programme fitted a hidden tracking device to a broken television and left it at a civic amenity site in South London. The TV was tracked to the recycler’s site in Warrington and then back down to Felixstowe port, where officers found the TV in a shipping container. It was seized before it was illegally exported. This evidence formed a crucial part of the Environment Agency prosecution case. These 40-foot containers, each with about 15 tonnes of e-waste inside, had wrapped items at the front, which were made to look like working products. However, further back the container included hazardous cathode ray televisions and broken fridge freezers, which were described as second-hand goods but didn’t work.
In addition to these eleven containers planned for illegal export, the Environment Agency prosecutors told the court that the company had illegally exported another 186 shipping containers to Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Gambia and Togo.
The company and its directors pleaded guilty to shipping the containers illegally. Director, Mark Daniels, was given a 9-month custodial sentence suspended for 2 years and ordered to pay £50,000 Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and a £20,000 contribution to costs. Daniels Recycling Ltd was fined a total of £25,000 (£5k per offence pleaded to). Fellow director, Lynn Gallop, was fined £450, with £25,000 POCA and a contribution to costs of £10,000. Other defendants have also pleaded guilty to exporting six of the containers, having bought the waste from Daniels Recycling – their sentencing has been adjourned to March 2016.
B2B Compliance Project Director, Mark Sayers, commented “This case highlights the absolute necessity for Producers, obligated under the WEEE Regulations, to ensure that their Compliance Scheme providers have strong and close relationships with their contracted recyclers – supported by extensive and intensive auditing procedures – so-called ‘cheap’ compliance can come at a high cost!”