Businesses are being urged to dispose of waste properly after a court ordered a beautician to pay more than £1,600 for taking rubbish home and putting it in her household bin.
The business owner was convicted at Medway Magistrates Court of failing to comply with a requirement to produce documentation for the disposal of controlled waste.
This followed her refusal to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice.
The case came about after Medway Council received a complaint in July last year that certain businesses in Canterbury Street, Gillingham, were putting out their trade waste for collection with domestic refuse.
This was investigated and a number of businesses in the area were visited in order to check their trade waste arrangements, including shops, in Canterbury Street.
The business woman, who is a director of a beauticians, was questioned and admitted she had no agreement in place for her waste to be taken away.
Councils have a legal duty to take away domestic waste from households, but it is the responsibility of businesses to make their own arrangements and they must hold a trade waste agreement proving this.
During the interview, she admitted she took her trade waste home and put it out for collection with her domestic refuse, which is an offence.
She was issued with a notice and given 14 days to get the necessary arrangements in place.
However, when council officers returned on 26 July last year she was unable to produce documents.
The next day, her husband who is also a director of the business, showed the council an agreement with Biffa to collect trade waste from the shop.
But the document concerned was only a quote and not a contractual agreement, which is what the law requires.
He was advised of this and on a further visit the council asked to see a contractual document.
When this did not happen, They were issued with a fixed penalty notice for £300, which she was not prepared to pay.
In her defence, she called her husband as a witness, who maintained that there was an agreement in place with Biffa dating from 8 July.
However, he was not able to produce any evidence and during the court hearing on Wednesday 25 July at Medway Magistrates Court an email from Biffa dated 2 August last year was produced.
This clearly asked him for further information so that the firm could put this agreement into place.
The bench found her guilty and fined her £600 with a £15 victim surcharge. She was also ordered to pay £1,050 in legal and investigation costs.
Cllr Mike O’Brien, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Contact, said: “Medway Council, like all other councils, has a duty to collect domestic refuse from people’s households and we make sure we do this by providing a weekly collection service.
“It costs more than £9 million a year to do this when the cost of refuse collection and using landfills is taking into consideration and these costs are funded by council tax.
“That means that any trade waste illegally hidden in domestic refuse is an unnecessary financial burden on the taxpayer. We would ask businesses to make sure they make the necessary arrangements to ensure their waste is disposed of safely and properly.”