THE GREAT SCAPA BLOW-OVER

Between 2010 and 2012, RIGK turned the SCAPA waste collection which didn’t meet the legal requirements into a tacit commercial strategy. In this article I will talk about farm waste collection, waste which don’t come from pesticide packaging or seed bags and fertilizers (waste containing hazardous substances) and protective sheets for greenhouses.

​​The complacent way in which RIGK Romania srl meets the rules and regulations regarding handover, transport, waste management and declaration of waste collected by SCAPA was adopted by the company from the very beginning, but in the period between 2010 and 2012 this approach was a rapacious one, in order to meet the requirements imposed by AIPROM and in order to cover operating costs.

In the first months of 2011, AIPROM conducted a waste collection audit of the collection in 2010, resulting in serious issues, such as the lack of documents, lack of mandatory information required in the shipping and collection documents, the descriptions of other types of packaging than the ones mentioned on the scale receipt issued by the incinerator, etc …  Mr. Markus Dambeck, the German administrator and general manager of RIGK Romania srl, communicated to the President and CEO of AIPROM some outstanding diplomatic commitments, and especially meannt to defuse the situation. He had his plans, as I have discussed in another article. His experience in the field was sufficient to settle the matter, time resolved many tensions and brought material benefits to the company.

The objective “we collect as much as we can, anything that we can and we’ll handle it with AIPROM somehow” is also found in Mr Dambeck’s message, which we render here. How and from all German fish head impute, consequential commitments taken against AIPROM collection has been expanding in principle RIGK Romania and actions of all employees involved in SCAPA RIGK Germany or collection of packages of any type, from any farm.

In a message from April 5, 2011, at 9:27, Director of Logistics RIGK SRL forwards to me and to all RIGK employees:

‘Dear All, I am officially informing you of the following: For 2011, you must collect at least 675 tonnes of packaging. This year we have to collect about the same amount as in 2010, because we still have 70 tons from 2010 and which will be reported this year. We have to take into account the fact that this year we collect for SCAPA only SCAPA packaging (plastic, paper, metal from PPP) and not other materials. I think everyone pretty much knows how much was non-SCAPA, so this year they must recuperate with the SCAPA packaging. Look for farms with potential, don’t not waste your time with small farms.

With regard to the bags of seeds and fertilisers, please notify the farms which own such packages, in the hope that in at least four months we can collect such packages, but not SCAPA. Explain to them clearly what is SCAPA, what materials does SCAPA collect, and that these bags do not go under SCAPA.

Make lists with all requests of this kind. So when we start, we’d know exactly from there to pick them up.’

A few months later, after AIPROM somehow forgot all about us, and the member companies redirected their attention towards commercial activities and not towards their waste, they unofficially told the RIGK inspectors: collect through SCAPA everything you can, seed bags, fertiliser bags, protection sheeting from greenhouses, otherwise we won’t meet the minimum quantities to keep the AIPROM contract!

This massive and speedy collection can be highlighted as per the evolution of the SCAPA collection throughout 2011, taking into account the pace and then the workload for each transport. In the last four months of the year, almost half of the amount collected in the other 8 months. It’s impossible to say exactly how they were divided by type of material, as previously shown here. For the uninitiated, a truck brimming with 90m3 non-compacted plastic containers from pesticides can vary between 2 and 4 tons, depending on the volume of the drums. The excuse produced to support compaction at farm is not relevant because farms do not own compactors. After June 2011, RIGK purchased a mobile press machine, mounted on a trailer truck, but which later couldn’t meet the demands from the farmers, the rate of compaction being reduced, including when it comes to plastic bags. There have been several dozens of “special” transports in 2011, exceeding by far the densest and heaviest possible combinations of package sizes and yet they still weren’t enough to close a successful year [due to] shipments made from the generators where the RIGK truck did even set one wheel.

If anyone thinks that the ban passed on by the logistics director of RIGK lasted a limited amount of time, is an optimist, but not a realist. The same email was submitted to me on June 19, 2012 by Ms Alexandra Nitu – the representative in Romania of RIGK Germany, who took my place in coordinating SCAPA, the right hand of Mr Dambeck, in the below notification received after an incinerator had closed its doors on us:

‘Following today’s discussion, we will take to a truck from Braila to RoEcologic Fieni, because we have 4 types of materials: canteens, paper, raffia bags, plastic bags and Medgidia won’t take more than 2 types according to the contract: canteens and paper. We’re hoping that Friday we can take to Medgidia packaging under contract. We won’t be able take bags to Medgidia anymore.

Areas 4 and 1 won’t collect bags or the bags won’t be taken over by SCAPA, but they’ll be transported to other unloading points. However, we still have to talk, the farmers are already delayed and they want us the relieve them of the bags, at least the ones we audited.’

Or a message from June 21st 2012, at 16:44, issued by the same director of logistics of RIGK to Alexandra Nitu – RIGK Germany, to the driver of the RIGK truck and to all the SCAPA inspectors:

‘Hello,

(…) we are experiencing great delays in collecting the packaging because of the Medgidia incinerator. I know everyone should be present, but I just can’t handle the management of areas 4 and 1 ever since the issues with the incinerator.

We have all sorts of packaging – mostly what we don’t need – and in many places and I can’t take them to unloading (disposal) to Fieni/Resita (whatever is viable) unless it’s compacted.’

I have several other relevant written examples illustrating this perspective. In all the meetings in which we discussed the status of SCAPA, pursuant to the assessments we received from the inspectors, I sent notifications to the Managing Director, to his representatives and to my German colleagues, on a minimum of 50% of the total collected which did not belong to the members of AIPROM, being different types of waste. But I don’t have any form of correspondence, notifications, notices, provisions, etc in writing or a control from the German part of RIGK or from the Romanian team which would propose or impose that RIGK stop taking over waste which did not meet the SCAPA acceptance regulations.

In another train of thoughts, these amounts were vital for the company. In 2012, if RIGK srl had collected in SCAPA 40 tons less, any client could have closed the contract unilaterally. And RIGK srl collected in 2012 only on behalf of the members of AIPROM, on annexes which had the SCAPA serial numbers, invoiced the collected amounts and sent the bills to the SCAPA clients, having no other active SCAPA customer in a position to pay for waste collection. The exception to invoicing and declaration to the members of AIPROM is represented by the amount of 7340 kg of plastic exported to Multiport Germany srl and unreported by RIGK to the authorities, a relevant topic to which I will refer in the future, as it is the subject of legal actions.

Audit with sanctions or warnings on the subject received from the Phytosanitary Units/ Phytosanitary Police, in charge with the enforcement of GEO 41/2007 on the marketing of pesticides? Absolute zero during the period between 2008 and 2014, according to official data. 1,100,000 farmers received grants in 2012 from APIA, SCAPA collected from about 1,500 farmers maximum. Free slope!

Is there any explanation why, after December 2012, AIPROM never made public the numbers related to the total quantities taken over by SCAPA and reported by the AIPROM members as resulted from the SCAPA collection? I wonder because I know they took pride in communicating them December 2012. I believe that this silence is due to the fact that, if a person who knows the past, the price per collected ton paid by the members of AIPROM to RIGK and the turnover of RIGK Romania and would do the math, it would come out that in 2013 and 2014 there was a level of collection at least equal to the one registered at the end of 2012 and thus would easily say that RIGK has kept the SCAPA collection to same practices they had implemented in the period between 2008 and2012. And that would mean another proof that AIPROM still close an eye and pretend to do so to the irregularities and illegalities of RIGK srl. Perhaps they don’t have options or all that matters is the DOW and BASF shareholders in RIGK gmbh, companies with Romanian subsidiaries members of AIPROM.

It is now clear to me that AIPROM reported in the period between 2011 and 2012 and personally I think they continued to do so after that period, reporting to the authorities collected quantities, including massive amounts of other types of waste. AIPROM, pursuant to these collaboration with RIGK and without effectively and efficiently to actually insure the collection their packaging, leave it to the farmers to decide on what to do about important quantities of pesticide packaging, more than likely containing exceeding levels of hazardous substances: should they burn them, should they sell them, should they reuse them for various household chores, should they bury them into the ground or just take them to the garbage dump? In partnership with RIGK, AIPROM are in breach of the statutory principles, but also transfer a dense aura of lack of credibility in relation to their fundamental principles and actions and to the pan-European association whose member it is, the European Crop Protection Association and their programme “Hungry for a change?”.

This article is the translated version of this article.

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