Pesticide contamination at RIGK warehouse and a thick trace to Germany

A fast forward to year 2012, 17th of May.

I’m posting few pictures from the reception of a SCAPA transport to Doman- Resita, Caras-Severin county . The truck is full of contaminated plastic bottles, many of them with the lids on.  The materials are mixed, against SCAPA official collection rules. The pesticides were leaking of the containers spreading on the truck’s floor and on the platform. The transport is send from the biggest farm in Romania,  located more than 600 km away . We “trained” the personal of this farm for SCAPA collection rules for almost one year.

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RIGK had to satisfies the cravings and the obligations imposed by AIPROM in 2010, when AIPROM planned to achieve national recovery rate by 2014. The rate has a percentage of 67% from the packages all members put on the market, but RIGK never knew exact how much the companies will import. In 2010 AIPROM negotiate to reduce the price for RIGK services. 

RIGK inspectors, those responsible in the end to find and compiling a SCAPA transport, were obliged to meet the targets. Targets were measured in tons of waste collected. SCAPA was the only activity for RIGK. In case RIGK srl did not reach the target- AIPROM closes the contract. No quantities? No job!

In this case, RIGK has to benefit each kilogram. The portfolio of clients was thin, less than 800 farmers nationwide.  RIGK was obliged in these circumstances to collect any type of waste, anything and as much as is possible to increase the quantity and also to reach the annual percentage. So, RIGK was pushed to collect whatever: paper or plastic bags coming from seeds and fertiliser ( by the way, a hazardous waste), big bags, solar films. For quantities of more than 30 cubic meters the system guarantee the taking over from the farm.

In terms of the quality of the inspection, measurable in how toxic is a container or a transport,  a significant accuracy was not possible.

First because of the cost: RIGK has only six inspectors for six areas of Romania. One area is around 3-400 km wide.  An inspector supposed to traveled to check waste quantities at a farm. For a 100% accuracy the inspector might be present also at the moment of loading of the waste, to ensure that the farmer is not loading into the truck other materials then he already inspected. In the case he refuse the quantities at the first visit, the inspector has to return to the same farm days of weeks later, coming with the hope that something changed with the containers. This would double the price for inspectors transportation.

Let’s make a scenario, pretending that a SCAPA inspector refuse a farmer for a plastic bottle containing some residues of pesticides. The farmer would:

A) take the bottle of pesticide and rinsing it on the farm site,  as a result we have a contaminated water into rivers, draining system or on soil.

B) burning the bottle in the backyard as they did before SCAPA

C) dumping / landfilling the containers and forget about SCAPA

D) contracting a collector of hazardous waste and paying around thousand euros per ton for disposal,  more expensive than the cost of the pesticide.

The farmers learned fast the limits of the system. Together with RIGK inspectors, they optimise SCAPA collection in time.

I was periodically informed and I informed periodically my boss and German colleagues about all these details, about the quantities, types of materials and about the classifications of material. RIGK continued for years to collect all the waste available, with SCAPA inspectors blinking for SCAPA collection rules. 

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But things get worst were RIGK was announced by AIPROM to fulfil the obligation for recycling.  After a long negotiation, RIGK obtained a lax condition from AIPROM.  After the negotiation,  RIGK’s General Manager was budgeting revenues from recycling. I will understand later why and how he planned this. We had to have a recycling company agreed on ECPA guidelines. After a three-party meeting, planning and negotiation, RIGK srl sign the contracts with Multiport Recycling, everything under RIGK gmbh supervising. Then an internal target for recycling was set and the inspectors encouraged to send  the best materials they find to RIGK warehouse in Doman-Resita.  Our partner in Resita,  was ready to prepare the materials, to shred and to compact SCAPA plastic. Then everything has to be send them to Multiport Recycling gmbh.

In the case presented here many of the pesticide’s packages are taken with lids on, most probably with product inside. The floor of the truck was contaminated, one of the common problem for SCAPA transports. The unloading takes place on a gravel platform, making the infiltration of hazardous substances unstoppable. Chemical protection or at least a basic protection for the employees who are handling the containers are missing. The truck driver had another order and refused to continue the transport to an incinerator.

But our partner in Resita  assured me that the plastic is fine for him, he will fix the problem by sorting and shredding. The quality of the shredded materials prepared by Lineo and the working conditions will be presented into another following post.

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Multiport received everything RIGK has been shredded in Resita. Our partner in Resita shredded for RIGK Romania everything that was valuable on the plastic market, no matter if was slightly or massively contaminated. He was payed by tone.

Multiport Recycling GmbH is the company agreed as the recycler for the German collection system- PAMIRA and the French ADIVALOR.

If the German Environmental Agency will analyse the German Pamira materials or Adivalor France materials brought to Multiport, I expect some big surprises for those companies. I say that just because I found that Multiport never returned or complaint about any materials comming from SCAPA. In the end they show they are not having a German precision, mixing up some documents. More to come.

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