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:
(…) 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.
AIPROM newsletter, July 13 – Board Meeting
” The Board members discussed the conclusions of the recent SCAPA audit and demanded from RIGK, assisted by AIPROM, to design a plan for repairing identified deficiencies and avoiding mistakes in the future; both results of the audit and solutions proposed will be disclosed to members. AIPROM will intensify the positive communication campaign about SCAPA with a detailed interview in major magazines which is planned for this fall. The Board decided to include the possible cooperation of the Association with a private detective agency in support of Police’s anti-counterfeit activities on the agenda of the next General Assembly on October 15.”
Time has come to explain why it is my belief that AIPROM does not communicate the results of the SCAPA collection, not even upon request from MADR/NPA. When organising a collection system for environmental purposes, when collecting 58% of the total packaging on the market in 2012, after having started with 0.04% in 20017 and continued with 11.12% in 2008, you should have every reason to be proud of your accomplishments, to be very keen on communication and on receiving applause. And to publish all sorts of plans for how to get closer to 100%. That is why I think that the real reasons come from the internal organisation of the AIPROM members in charge of SCAPA, as well as from external factors, certain collaborators and contractors of AIPROM. Let start this analysis systematically:
A. What is the real quantity of packaging for plant protection products sent on the Romanian market annually?
No one knows and most probably no one will ever really know. And this is not about pharmaceutical measurements, grams etc, we are talking about industrial quantities, hundreds of tonnes. And Why?
- The Environment Fund, the only institution able to make this data available, receives statements from all Romanian companies which produce or import (and here we presume that everyone declares their obligations to the Environment Fund, which is untrue) and I do not think anyone from the Environment Fund has made a centralization of amounts paid by companies that have engaged in manufacturing and marketing of pesticides. To receive a truly correct answer on the total amount, it goes without saying that the Environment Fund inspectors thoroughly check all imports from the pesticide companies. Or to have the National Phytosanitary Authority hit by a sudden bolt of lightning and take responsibility for collaboration with the Environment Fund … In this context, the statement from AIPROM is that its members hold 80% of the pesticide market in Romania. That would mean there is a 20% not included in SCAPA, calculated, and this is extremely significant, at the value of the product and not at the weight of the actual packaging.
2. The members of AIPROM are sophisticated when it comes to reporting (or not) the packaging and paying (or not) whatever is due to SCAPA. That’s because not all members of AIPROM declare the packaging to SCAPA. Ever since 2008, the official amounts of packaging placed on the market, as declared by AIPROM / SCAPA did not included (at least until 2012) packages from the products which are member firms of AIPROM, which are only commercial subsidies (e.g. Dow, Chemtura, Arysta), they the commercial entities that do not have a legal obligation to report to the authorities or to SCAPA the amount of packaging bearing their logo and are available on the market. These obligations of declaration and payment of obligations to the Environment Fund are borne by those who introduce them to the market and subsequently distribute later. It is their excuse for not introducing in their budget packages recovery costs. An example: the representative of DOW is considered part of the 80% of market value, and is one of the largest companies by market share; there are many DOW products on the market and we used to find them often in SCAPA’s correct collection. That being said, DOW doesn’t declare and or pay anything to SCAPA (at least in the period between 2007 and 2012). Its products are collected by SCAPA because it was stated and declared as a participant, but the importers / distributors of DOW AgroScience products don’t declare the actual quantities, don’t take part in the in the collection and don’t pay collection costs to SCAPA. SCAPA don’t register the DOW quantities put on the market when they perform their annual reviews, but they still gather DOW packaging, increasing somehow falsely the percentage of collection.
3. Because some members of AIPROM and participants to SCAPA somewhat joggle with the quantities of packaging, with the significant fluctuations from one year to the next, providing justification with matters related to their portfolio. However, there is at least one case in which a company statement changed from one day to the next, when they were made aware of their percentage of payment and another case in which the statement was nullified due to the fact that the imports were done through other companies, even though they had plenty of activity to speak of. No one from the association has the capacity or the authority to control the real imports of the members, not even in the situation when the statements of paying members of SCAPA to SCAPA itself are corroborated with statements to the Environment Fund. To my knowledge, not even the Environment Fund could sanction a company that cheated the SCAPA partners out of their percentage, and the company declares, upon verification, the nominal and real quantity collected by SCAPA, provided they subsequently pay the differences. Obviously, the collection through SCAPA is more expensive than the official environmental tax.
4. Because there are Romanian companies who import/place on the market pesticides and some of them even deal with micro-packaging pesticides, thus producing a significant additional quantity of packaging. With some exceptions, such as CIG, Chemarj, Redoxim and Glissando who participate in SCAPA, this type of importers-distributors cannot be found on the lists of SCAPA participants. The exceptions which are part of AIPROM declare to SCAPA quantities which, in their total summation, don’t reach 10% of their total SCAPA quantities.
5. Quantities of plant protection products produced in foreign countries are smuggled into the country. Some of them are original products destined for other countries, others are counterfeited.
In fact, these are the main reasons why there are significantly more packages from plant protection products on the market than declared by SCAPA. Consequently, much less is being collected in terms of percentage, than comprised in the statements issued by AIPROM. And AIPROM, and all its members, know of this. When it comes into discussion what exactly is collected from the farms and what documents support the collection, I understand why they are so unwilling.
For the environment/business market in Romania, all this means that in fact there are many more packages left in nature, buried or burned. I know that other countries have the same issues and similar systems from other European countries. And in Romania AIPROM, and all its decision making members in SCAPA are very well aware of this. And after a moment they chose to no longer expose themselves submitting such information, reason why they don’t make data available.
In addition, the results of the SCAPA collection prove to be falsified in some of the years. And AIPROM, and all its decision making members in SCAPA are very well aware of this.
As I was promise, it is high time I explained why I think AIPROM does not publicly communicate the results of the SCAPA waste collection, not even upon request from MARD/NPA. As was saying before, it seems that when you organise a collection system with ecological purposes, when you collect 58% of all packaging placed on the market in 2012, you should have every reason to be proud, to promote communication and to receive applause from your partners, customers and the civil society.
Eventually, you should publish all sorts of plans on how to get as close to 100% and ensure that no potentially contaminated packaging of your product gets to a recycler without proper controls in place or is illegally managed; it would be ideal to create a functional and binding partnership with the National Phytosanitary Guard and with the National Environmental Guard. Such beautiful dreams.
Let’s continue with a German approach, namely with a short mathematical demonstration of the SCAPA collection and reporting hacks, specifically a demonstration of the incorrectness of the data underlying the statements issued to SCAPA and of those which are part of the calculation of the SCAPA results.
This article is the translated version of this one.
To begin with, I will deal with the results of last year, of which I have data related to the SCAPA collection in 2012:
1579,62 tonnes is the total quantity DECLARED as put on the market by the AIPROM members/participants in SCAPA.
– Plastic 1008,62 tonnes
– Paper 565,82 tonnes
– Metal 5,17 tonnes
It doesn’t exactly seem like a whole lot and it doesn’t feel like it has a significant impact, but let’s move further and see if it’s not, in fact, exactly the case.
775,52 tonnes is the total quantity collected by RIGK Romania through SCAPA, on behalf of the members of AIPROM/Participants in SCAPA
– Plastic: 624.68 tonnes (61.9% of total marketed)
– Paper: 150.84 tonnes (26.7% of total marketed)
– Metal: 0 kg (especially after the story herein) = 0%
Apart from the metal, it doesn’t exactly seem like a small percentage of plastic, the main material with a major impact. For example, EcoRom Ambalaje, the Romanian version of Grune Punkt, set as target for 2012 a recovery rate of 58%. In the same year, SCAPA reported 61.9% collected plastic.
The ‘Garbage in, Garbage out (GIGO)’ rule:
- Erroneous data from the members of AIPROM/SCAPA participants is consolidated in the calculation of the SCAPA results. Why is it then that I reached the conclusion that the members of AIPROM declare less packaging than is actually put on the market?
I start this calculation with a table made available to farmers and pesticide suppliers by AIPROM to assist with easier calculations of the waste quantities generated by the plant protection products.
|Packaging type||Material||Product Quantity (kg/l)||Average weight (kg)|
PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX
PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX
PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX
PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX
PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX
PE, PE/PA, HDPE, COEX
Weight of pesticide packaging
From my experience and from that of my colleagues in the field, I noticed that the main driver of the SCAPA collection were the 1 litre packaging (0.1 kg / piece package), the 5-liter (0.27 kg) and the 20 litres (1.29 kg). These packages, depending on the treatment applied and on the size of the farm, offer both the farmer as well as the distributor, the optimum in terms of stock management, order handling and application of the product.
If we were to include in our calculation small packages, it would mean lower amounts of pesticide products available on the market, but much larger quantities of packaging and if we were to include in our calculation only 200 litre drums, with these amounts declared, we would have significantly more pesticides on the market. At the risk of sounding superficial, I shall approach all future calculations in a guarded manner, eliminating the extremes, allocating 45% of the total pesticide sales in packages of 1 litre, 30 % in packages of 5 litres and to 25% in packages of 20 litres.
The European Crop Protection Association proposes here an exercise in imagination speaking about treatment of 1 litre per hectare, diluted in 200 litres of water, speaking of state-of-the-art products with extraordinary performance parameters. In reality, depending on the type of product and its generation, the amounts of pesticides (and of packaging, implicitly,) are larger, and therefore increase the amount of packaging. But we pretend to forget this and only take into account the smallest possible amount, the 0.1kg of the packaging for 1 litre of pesticide, for a treatment with a state-of-the-art product applied on 1 hectare arable, exactly how ECPA says.
MADR publishes here the Romanian agricultural area: 14,615.1 hectares in 2012.
After we allocate areas for each type of package, in conformity with the agreed algorithm, and we divide it by the agricultural area, we will arrive at a total of 5,854,947 drums put on the market, calculated taking into account the above, i.e. 4.539k of 1l packages, 1.1206 of 5l packages and 195k of 20l packages respectively.
At the end, we arrive at the conclusion that we use in Romania, on average, 0.40 drums per hectare. Moreover, so we don’t upset anyone, we exaggeratedly consider that half of the agricultural surface is not used. We multiply 0,4 by 2.
That being said, according to the official statements issued by the members of AIPROM and MADR it would mean that the Romanian agriculture only uses 0.8 drums of pesticide per hectare.
We are moderate in our approach and take into consideration only the lightest of the packages, the one weighing 0.1kg, resulted from the 1litre package. Just so we can be cautious and modest.
We also pretend to forget that in horticulture and viticulture the consumption is 4-8-10 times greater than in the main crops. We should not lose sight of the fact that these products are also fungicides, insecticides, herbicides etc… and they don’t come wrapped in the same package, so it would mean 3 different packages for each treatment per hectare. We should also not forget that these treatments are not applied just one time only each year, but several times and these are not re-usable as packaging either.
And even with that, the statements from the members of AIPROM still hold water, even if we add 20% extra to the difference in the value of the market that the members of AIPROM declare at an allocated 80% of the market share. We arrive at a final result of 1 canister per hectare worked. If this canister would be the 1 litre one, it would mean 0.1 kg pesticide packaging per hectare and we exceed the statements issued by the members.
- We change the approach, taking into account the results from the real collection resulted from SCAPA and we extend the calculation hectare vs quantities packaged, for a couple of big farms, with generated quantities collected by SCAPA and with public surfaces declared in 2012.
|the SCAPA waste generator farm||Quantity collected in SCAPA 2012 (kg)||hectare numbers per farm (ha)||average kg packaging/ha|
|TCE Trei Brazi Braila||30040||55000||0,55|
In the last column, the one recording the weight of pesticide packaging per hectare, a significant fluctuation can be noticed. In my opinion, this is not due to various technological recipes, but to the method in which the packaging is managed in farms and to what types of packaging, other than those from pesticides, have been taken over by SCAPA from the generators.
If we were to divide the data in the last column by the weight of 0.1 kg of a 1 litre package used in the calculation above as provided by AIPROM and imagined by ECPA contrary to reason and evidence, would result in a consumption per hectare ranging from 4.5 packages at Interagro to 30 packages per hectare in Ceres Mirosi. Let’s statistically eliminate the extremes in favour of AIPROM’s image.
We take as reference the arrowhead of the Romanian agriculture of 2012 and the crown jewel of the agricultural technology, the pilgrimage site of the crème-de-la-crème of Romanian agriculture and which, until it was revamped as AgriCost, was known as TCE Trei Brazi. Here, correct agricultural technologies are being applied and fairly accurate inventory of pesticide packages was maintained. The value of only 0.55 kilograms of pesticide packaging per hectare is 550% higher than the one resulting from the statements issued by the members of AIPROM, as discussed and highlighted at point 1, though it is far below the arithmetic mean resulting from the table, from other honourable farms and important clients of AIPROM. The amount of pesticide packaging resulting from the treatment of one hectare turns out to be higher at TCE than AIPROM would like us to believe. Again, on a detailed calculation, it is clear that something in SCAPA is wrong.
For things to be even more unclear, in 2012, SCAPA collected approximately 60% of the total packaging sent to market from a list of under 500 generators. How many farmers are there in Romania? If they collected similar quantities from the rest of the farmers in Romania, how many times would SCAPA exceed the annual plan?
All of these make me believe that the quantities of pesticide packages are significantly larger than the numbers declared by the AIPROM members.
I think this ambiguous situation between what members of AIPROM put on the market and what we actually collect, generate the main reasons AIPROM have which prevent them from communicating the data related to the quantities of packaging placed on the market in Romania, as well as the information on the quantities collected. I submit here the financial reasons which may generate this situation.
One important compromise, overlooked by the National Phytosanitary Authority, who does not provide any control, by the Environmental Fund, who has no controls in place, with the help of the Environmental Guard, who does not truly offer any control, with the aid of the accomplice RIGK Romania, who took over in 2008-2012 other packaging than those officially declared by SCAPA as collectible and who performed other illegal activities of which AIPROM is already aware. And it is very possible that this state of affairs will continue.
And I will continue to bring to light the secret formulas of managing the pesticide packaging in Romania.
Released on 31/03/2015: AIPROM on SCAPA: “Trying to ensure the best possible functionality of the SCAPA system, a new marketing tool is used in order to better understand and evaluate the stakeholder needs; Outcome Driven Innovation (ODI) is a methodology that would allow AIPROM get aligned on stakeholders needs and focus resources on most valuable opportunities (underserved needs); the data to be fed into the new tool is to be collected starting this week with collection centers in SE Romania.”
I really appreciate how AIPROM express its concern: “Trying to ensure the best possible functionality of the SCAPA system”. Since March, no news.
European Commission – Fact Sheet
April infringements package: main decisions
Brussels, 29 April 2015
The European Commission is referring Romania to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) over its failure to enact revised EU legislation on packaging waste into domestic law. The revised Packaging Directive updates rules on packaging and packaging waste, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment.
Member States had to bring into force the laws necessary to comply with this Directive by 30 September 2013. After it missed the original deadline, Romania was sent a letter of formal notice on 29 November 2013, followed by a reasoned opinion on 11 July 2014. More than one year and a half after the deadline, the Directive is still not enacted into domestic legislation. The Commission has thus decided to call Romania before the EU Court of Justice.
(For more information: IP/15/4874– Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)