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Biffa appears in court over paper exports

By 23/07/2021News

Biffa Waste Service Ltd appeared at Wood Green Crown Court sitting at Hendon Magistrates’ Court yesterday (22 July), in an ongoing case over charges relating to the export of paper for recovery in India and Indonesia.

Environment Agency officers say that they prevented the export of several containers of mixed waste paper from Southampton to India and Indonesia in late 2018 and early 2019.

The material held within the containers originated from Biffa’s materials recycling facility in Edmonton, North London.

The case revolves around the issue of de minimis and contamination levels

Agency officers were concerned by the level of contamination, which they allege included nappies, excrement, textiles, coat hangers, a pair of bolt cutters and assorted plastic waste.

The officers believed the level of contamination was such that what the containers held should be classified as household waste, the export of which is not permitted to non-OECD countries.

De minimis

However, Biffa says that contamination was at a de minimis level, meaning the paper could still be shipped as ‘green list’ waste. The court heard that the average contamination across many of the containers was 0.9% by weight, according to Biffa.

Biffa Waste Services Ltd is charged with four counts of transporting waste for recovery in a country to which the OECD decision does not apply contrary to regulation 23 of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007.


Having begun at the start of the month, the trial is being overseen by Shane Collery QC. The defendants were represented by Michael Hayton and the prosecution by Sailesh Mehta.

Shortly after midday on Thursday Mr Collery sent out the 11 jurors to deliberate, asking them to reach a unanimous verdict.

With the temperature in the court approaching 30°C and the jurors unable to come to a swift conclusion, Mr Collery then sent them home just after 3pm. They are due to return today (Friday) for more deliberation. The case continues.

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Source: Waste Managment