News in brief (16/02/24)

With news on: Buckinghamshire firm paid financial contribution to wildlife charity; Council removes bottle, can and plastic banks; Lambeth cracks down on Fly-tipping; and, Tomra acquires stake in Belgian AI company.

Buckinghamshire firm pays £21,000 to wildlife charity for packaging violations

Buckinghamshire firm, Hi-Tech Coatings International Limited, made a financial contribution of almost £21,000 to Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, plus Environment Agency costs, after it failed to comply with packaging waste regulations.

The £21,000 will go towards ongoing management of College Lake to ensure it remains accessible, safe and of interest to visitors

The Environment Agency said that by failing to register and to take reasonable steps to recover and recycle packaging waste, the business avoided paying to offset their obligation based on how much packaging they handled in the previous calendar year.

Jake Richardson, a senior technical officer for the Environment Agency, said: “Any company handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year, and with a turnover in excess of £2 million, must register with the Environment Agency or a packaging compliance scheme, and meet their responsibilities for recycling waste packaging.”

“If companies fail to meet their obligations under environmental law, we will take action to ensure that they change their ways.”

Council removes bottle, can and plastic banks

Tonbridge and Malling borough council has removed bottle, can and plastic banks from collection points across the borough after the rollout of its collection service.

The council estimated that the cost of removing the sites could run to £30,000 but would lead to annual savings of more than £100,000

A report to the council’s cabinet this week (13 February) revealed that since recycling was introduced to household collection rounds, deposits of glass and plastic at the car park sites had dropped by around 90%.

The report highlighted that much of the waste now being collected from the recycling points  appeared to be from local businesses trying to dodge paying for commercial collection services.

The report went on to say: ‘As a result, the residents of Tonbridge and Malling are in effect subsidising the disposal of commercial waste by businesses.’

Cllr Martin Coffin, Tonbridge and Malling borough council’s cabinet member for transformation and infrastructure said: ‘These sites date back to the time before we had a full recycling service. Now we collect from almost every household, it no longer makes sense to maintain them, especially given the evidence that they are being abused by some businesses so they can avoid paying commercial rates for waste collection.

‘I’m proud of our residents’ high rates of recycling and making these changes will allow us to focus on continuing to improve the weekly service we provide to residents and further reduce the environmental impact of waste.’

Lambeth cracks down on Fly-tipping

Lambeth council has announced it is increasing patrols in the borough’s five town centres to crack down on fly-tipping.

A poster from Lambeth council’s fly-tipping campaign

Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, Lambeth council deputy leader and cabinet member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, said: “We know the majority of our residents and businesses act responsible and dispose of their waste the right way. But those that either can’t be bothered or are looking for shortcuts will be held to account for their anti-social behaviour.

“Residents often highlight fly-tipped waste to us and we have a responsive service that clears our streets. But this costs public money, money that would be much better spent on services to support our residents, especially at a time when local government is under incredible strain.”

Tomra acquires stake in Belgian AI company

Tomra has acquired 25% stake in Belgian company, PolyPerception which specialises in in AI waste flow monitoring. 

PolyPerception provides a waste analysis solution tailored for PET recyclers and sorting plants.

The company assists operators in continuously evaluating the quality of sorted streams and identifying the loss of valuable materials in the residual stream by collecting data at different points in the sorting process.

Dr. Volker Rehrmann, head of TOMRA Recycling, said: “By expanding our cooperation with PolyPerception, we can combine our advanced material sorting systems and cloud-based monitoring solution with the company’s innovative material analysis. This synergy enables us to enhance the optimisation of the entire process and material flow, providing a significant advantage to our customers. Plus, it now allows us to harness PolyPerceptions’ data and AI expertise for continued enhancements to our machinery.”

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