11 August 2015 by letsrecycle

Babz Media fined for breaching environmental rules

Babz Media Limited, an online trading company operating from Bilton Road, Perivale, Middlesex, has been fined £45,500 for non-compliance with environmental legislation across three separate material types: packaging waste, batteries and electrical equipment.

The conviction is the first of its type for failing to comply with rules covering all three materials as well as being the first in the UK for a breach of battery recycling regulations.

Babz Media’s offices and warehouse in West London

Babz Media’s offices and warehouse in West London

Details of the court case involving Babz Media have been released by the Environment Agency.

Guilty plea

The company pleaded guilty on 6th August 2015 at Ealing Magistrates’ Court in West London to failing to register with the Environment Agency and a producer recycling scheme for packaging waste, waste batteries and electrical waste. Babz Media also pleaded guilty to avoiding the cost of financing the collection and recycling of the three waste streams between 2011 and 2013.

As well as being ordered by the court to pay a total of £45,500 in fines, Babz Media was also required to pay £8,724.98 to the Environment Agency for the avoided registration fees and prosecution costs.

The Environment Agency noted that the company had a turnover of £19 million in 2014, and its website stated that they are “one of the leading suppliers of electrical cables, blank media and batteries” through online marketplaces. It said that the company stocks more than 2,000 household brands and supplies them in bulk to trade.

The court heard that Babz Media Ltd imported electrical goods and batteries from Europe for sale in the UK. And, it was told that inquiries by the Environment Agency established that the company should have complied with all three waste regulations from 2011 but had failed to do so until 2014.

The Environment Agency said the company had imported 163.7 tonnes of batteries for sale between 2011 and 2013, 188 tonnes of electrical equipment in 2012 and 2013 and were obligated to pay for the cost of recycling 76 tonnes of packaging waste in 2013.

Due diligence

Hannah Wooldridge, senior Environment Agency officer said: “This case shows that businesses must consider all aspects of regulation, and that environmental aspects are an important part of due diligence at all times.  These regulations can affect all types of business no matter the method of selling. Online trading does not excuse companies from being compliant with the law.

“’This company didn’t meet their legal obligations through ignorance after starting trading, they remained non-compliant for over three years and that impacted others in the market due to the commercial advantage they had.”

Ms Wooldridge continued: “The regulations are there to increase recycling of valuable resources, support the recycling industry and reduce the use of packaging, WEEE and batteries in the first place. We will take robust action where breaches occur – online or otherwise. This is a substantial fine reflecting the seriousness of the case and Babz are the first producer to be prosecuted in England across all three producer responsibility regimes.”

The Environment Agency stated that in sentencing Babz Media, the court noted the early guilty plea and its co-operation with the Environment Agency, but said that it had been careless in not being aware of its obligations to register and finance the collection and recycling of waste it was responsible for.

Babz Media is now a member of the Valpak compliance scheme.

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, no-one at Babz Media was available for comment.

Internet success

The success of Babz Media at selling items on the internet and in particular through the ebay online marketplace had been highlighted in the national media earlier this summer. In June the Daily Mail listed Babz Media as the second most successful ebay seller according to data from the previous month.

The offences:

Packaging Waste offences

1. THAT BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere, as a producer under Regulation 4(2) of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 failed by 7th APRIL 2013 to be registered with the Environment Agency in respect of the 2013 registration year as required by Regulation 4(4)(a) of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 40(1)(a) and section 95 of the Environment Act 1995.
2. THAT BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate,  Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under Regulation 4(2) of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 failed on or before  31st January 2014, or at all, to take reasonable steps to recover and recycle packaging waste for the 2013 registration year in relation to each of the classes of producer to which it belongs, calculated as provided in Schedule 2 of the Regulations, as required by Regulation 4(4)(b)(i) of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 40(1)(b) and section 95 of the Environment Act 1995.
3. THAT BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under Regulation 4(2) of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 failed on or before  31st January 2014, or at all to submit a certificate of compliance in respect of its recovery and recycling obligations for the 2013 registration year, as required by Regulation 4(4)(c) of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 40(1)(c) and section 95 of the Environment Act 1995.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment offences

4. THAT BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 failed by 15th October 2011, or at all to join a compliance scheme for the 2012 compliance period as required by Regulation 10 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 73(1)(a) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.
5. THAT ON OR BEFORE 1st JANUARY 2013, or at all, BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 failed to finance the costs of the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment for the 2012 compliance period as required by Regulation 8 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 73(1)(a) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.
6. THAT BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 failed by 15th October 2012, or at all, to join a compliance scheme for the 2013 compliance period as required by Regulation 10 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 73(1)(a) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.
7. THAT ON OR BEFORE 1st JANUARY 2014, or at all, BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 failed to finance the costs of the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment for the 2013 compliance period as required by Regulation 8 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 73(1)(a) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.

Waste Batteries offences

8. THAT BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 failed by 7th May 2011, or at all, to join a compliance scheme for the 2011 compliance period as required by Regulation 9 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 89(1)(a)(ii) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.
9. THAT ON OR BEFORE 1st JANUARY 2012, or at all, BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 failed to finance the costs of the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of Portable Waste Batteries for the 2011 compliance period as required by Regulation 7 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 89(1)(a)(i) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.
10. THAT BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate,  Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 failed by 15th October 2011, or at all, to join a compliance scheme for the 2012 compliance period as required by Regulation 9 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 89(1)(a)(ii) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.
11. THAT ON OR BEFORE 1st JANUARY 2013, or at all, BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 failed to finance the costs of the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of Portable Waste Batteries for the 2012 compliance period as required by Regulation 7 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 89(1)(a)(i) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.
12. THAT BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 failed by 15th October 2012, or at all, to join a compliance scheme for the 2013 compliance period as required by Regulation 9 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 89(1)(a)(ii) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.
13. THAT ON OR BEFORE 1st JANUARY 2014, or at all, BABZ MEDIA LIMITED at Unit 2 Phoenix Trading Estate, Bilton Road, Perivale UB6 7DZ or elsewhere as a producer under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 failed to finance the costs of the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of Portable Waste Batteries for the 2013 compliance period as required by Regulation 7 of the Regulations, contrary to Regulation 89(1)(a)(i) and section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.
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