Disgraced Croy firm must pay out £20k for environmental breach

A Croy recycling firm that sent 1,200 tons of contaminated waste paper to China was this week fined £20,000.

the plant in Croy

Saica Natur admitted a breach of international waste shipment regulations at the centre – and investigators found stacks of waste paper contaminated with soiled nappies and other household rubbish.Fifty one containers bound for China were intercepted by officers from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. They discovered food waste, clothing, electrical equipment and children's toys mixed with paper that should have been converted to cardboard.Passing sentence, Sheriff Fergus Thomson accepted the company had been negligent rather than deliberate in its actions. It had failed to "take reasonable care to enforce proper procedures" and "fallen short" of its usual standards.The sheriff acknowledged that the soiled paper had been bound for a waste processing site in China so there would have been no risk of environmental harm.He told Airdrie Sheriff Court: "I conclude that in this case the culpability and harm lie towards the lower end of the range."Saica Natur had no previous convictions and since this offence had "invested significantly" in improvements at Croy.Sheriff Thomson added: “Sentence must be fair, proportionate and no more severe than is necessary to bring home the need to comply with important legislation.“But I must impose a substantial financial penalty in this case.”Saica Natur had a turnover of around £50 million last year.The court heard that paper waste was usually sent from Croy to the company's recycling facility in Manchester. However, a fire there in 2016 greatly reduced capacity and the Spanish-owned company arranged to export paper to China.The offence arose because the consignment was so heavily contaminated it was classed as mixed waste.China is not party to the Basel Convention, an international treaty designed to reduce the movement of hazardous and other waste between nations.That means exporting mixed waste to China is illegal -and the matter first came to light when SEPA officers visited the depot in September 2016 and raised its concerns.

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