United Kingdom

Dirty diapers are among the prohibited waste items exported to Turkey

Illegal waste exports from Kent have prompted P&D Material Recovery Ltd to hand over thousands of pounds to an environmental charity.

In March 2019, the company dumped 11 containers of plastic contaminated with banned waste at Chatham Dockyard, Gillingham. The 2 described shipments of plastic scrap with a total volume of about 220 tons were to be sent to a facility in Turkey.

P&D Material Recovery tried to ship diapers and other items against the law

However, intervention and enforcement action by the Environment Agency means a bird charity based in Sandwich has now won £13,000 to improve local habitats. P&D also paid the Environment Agency’s costs of around £11,000 in the investigation.

This violation of international law on illegal waste exports was discovered during routine inspections. The containers were found to contain plastic contaminated with dirty napkins and sanitary napkins, as well as condoms, cotton buds, glass, textiles including old underwear and tin cans.

The tin cans were displayed after investigators stopped the export

Tin CAN’T! The Environment Agency seized the prohibited cargo, including drink containers

The company admitted that the checked contents were not suitable for export and that it returned the containers to its facility and sent them for incineration.

To prevent further violations, the company agreed to hire additional staff and hire a company that specializes in waste sorting facilities to design a secondary treatment system and an additional collection facility.

In this case, the chief investigator of the Environment Agency, Stephen Young, said:

We want all producers and waste companies to be responsible and make sure they only export materials that can be legally and safely sent overseas for recycling.

Illegal waste exports harm the lives of those abroad and the environment.

All UK waste exports must comply with the Waste Transport Regulations and the Environment Agency operates a system of inspections to check compliance.

P&D Material Recovery Ltd made the £13,000 payment as a civil penalty, also known as an enforcement undertaking. The Sandwich Bay Observatory Trust, which is dedicated to preserving and recording the natural environment in the Sandwich Bay area, used the money for its Restharrow Scrape Project.

The Scrape is an artificial wetland and acts as a refuge for many ducks and wading birds. The charity has redesigned and expanded the shallow lake to benefit resting, migrating and breeding birds, as well as the available hides. Among the birds found here are black-headed gulls, terns, oystercatchers and several pairs of terns have nested here in recent years, the first in this corner of east Kent.

P&D Material Recovery Ltd, of St Mary’s Island, Chatham, will pay Environment Agency costs of £10,845.60 after they breached the 2007 regulations on transboundary shipments of waste and attempts to export illegal waste.


Notes to editors

  • Under implementation obligations, companies and individuals can compensate for some of the damage they cause to the environment, including through a financial contribution to a local project. The Environment Agency must also be satisfied that the offender will make changes to its activities to prevent similar damage in the future.
  • By agreeing to enforcement obligations, the Environment Agency continues to pursue organizations and individuals where evidence shows a high level of culpability and serious environmental damage.

Media enquiries: 0800 141 2743

Email communications_se@environment-agency.gov.uk

Dirty diapers are among the prohibited waste items exported to Turkey

SourceDirty diapers are among the prohibited waste items exported to Turkey

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