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January 18, 2021

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Firm ordered to pay waste disposal fee

The city’s high court has upheld an intermediate court’s decision that a waste disposal company should pay more than 1 million yuan (US$154,302) for the disposal of the solid waste it imported.

It was the first public interest litigation about imported solid waste in China.

In 2015, an Anhui waste disposal company contracted a Ningbo company and two agents Xue and Huang to buy nearly 140 tons of copper-containing sludge from overseas. It spent more than 450,000 yuan recovering useful materials from the waste. It declared to the local customs that the goods were copper ore.

The authority spotted the fraud and investigated the case, with the city’s procuratorate.

China banned the import of waste containing copper, which causes pollution, in 2014.

In 2018, three related people were sentenced to between two and four years in prison, with fines from 50,000 yuan to 300,000 yuan. The Ningbo company also needed to pay 200,000 yuan as a penalty.

A year later, the two companies and two agents were sued again for the fee for the harmless disposal by the procuratorate.

Because of some unclear reasons, the waste could not be returned to its origin. To protect the environment, the authorities had to spend over a million yuan on waste management, the local customs said.

The intermediate court supported the procuratorate’s case but the Anhui company filed an appeal. It claimed that because the solid waste was imported by the Ningbo company, it had no criminal responsibility. So it  didn’t need to pay the waste disposal fee.

But the high court rejected its appeal, saying that the company also has liability.


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