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Waste crime: If a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is

Waste crime costs the waste industry and taxpayers £604 million a year, according to a report by the Environment Services Association Educational Trust (ESAET) and Environmental Services Association (ESA).

The report, titled ‘Rethinking Waste Crime’, highlights the many flaws within current regulation which make the industry vulnerable to criminals. According to the report, the majority of waste crime is business related and usually falls into one of six categories: illegal waste sites, inaccurately describing waste, illegal export of waste, illegal burning of waste, fly tipping and breaches of permit conditions. It is clear from reading the report that the out-of-date system needs some serious modernisation.

Our sister company, Oceala, has experienced first-hand how waste criminals work. The company’s name and contact details were used by overseas fraudsters who were claiming to sell materials that Oceala does not process, such as lorry tyres and batteries. As a responsible and lawful operator, Oceala aided the police throughout their enquiries, but were amazed at how easy it had been for these criminals to use the system to their advantage.

The ESA is leading a national campaign called ‘Right Waste, Right Place’, which offers practical advice to businesses about their Duty of Care under Section 34 of the Environment Protection Act, and is a great place to go if you would like further information on legitimate waste industry practice.

The waste industry needs to work together to combat unscrupulous traders and illegal activity. The latest report highlights ways this can be done, including stronger enforcement of failures in Duty of Care rights through the waste chain, and improving cross-regulatory co-operation.

At Casepak we operate a comprehensive system to ensure we comply with waste legislation, but we would welcome any additional regulations to help make our industry crime-free.

Until there are tighter regulations in place, our advice to reduce your chances of falling victim to waste crime is to research companies and check their licences and paperwork, and to remember this phrase that applies to so many situations: ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’. If you have been the victim of fraud or suspect fraudulent activity, contact Action Fraud.