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Rentokil company fined for hazardous waste offences

"By having its own interpretation of the law, this company was working outside the Hazardous Waste Regulations

A subsidiary of the international company, Rentokil, has been fined £4,000 for hazardous waste offences at a site in Devon.

The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

Rentokil Initial Services operates a waste transfer station at Okehampton where washroom wastes including air freshener canisters are taken for treatment prior to being sent for recovery or disposal.

The canisters contain a hazardous aerosol propellant that makes them subject to the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005. On arrival at the transfer station, the aerosol cans are pierced using a carbon filter rendering them non-hazardous.

In 2010 an Agency officer inspected the waste transfer station and asked why Initial Washroom Services were not submitting consignment notes to the Agency for any hazardous waste arriving at the transfer station in accordance with the site's environmental permit.

The company said it did not believe consignment was necessary as the hazardous aerosol cans had come from its customers' premises and remained the property of IWS. They had not 'changed hands'. The company did not consider the cans to be waste until they were disposed of.

A court heard the company had previously received extensive guidance and advice from the Environment Agency relating to the consignment of hazardous waste, but had failed to take action.

Matthew O'Brien speaking for the Environment Agency, said:
"By having its own interpretation of the law, this company was working outside the Hazardous Waste Regulations. It chose to ignore our advice and continued to receive hazardous waste at its premises in Okehampton without recording the transfer and movement of the waste through the use of consignment notes..."
The company told the court that its interpretation of the legislation was wrong and it accepted it should have been consigning the waste canisters and keeping records.

Plea

Appearing before Exeter magistrates, Rentokil Initial Services Ltd, of Beehive Ring Road, Gatwick Airport, Gatwick, Sussex pleaded guilty to three offences under the Hazardous Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2005

Offences and fines

between September 24 - October 1, 2012:
  • Failing to complete hazardous waste consignment notes (£1,000 fine)

  • Failing to make a consignee quarterly return to the Environment Agency (£1,000)

  • Failing to keep records and registers (£2,000)
The case was heard on July 5.