A huge steel company in Japan is reportedly being investigated for illegal transactions involving steel waste that exceeds the environmental standards on toxic waste. According to sources, the Gunma Prefectural Government is looking into accusations that Daido Steel violated some regulations under the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Act.
The Nagoya-based company’s Shibukawa factories were inspected by authorities on suspicion that Daido was carrying the costs for the recycling company it hired to manage and transport the steel slag they were selling to be recycled. There is a violation when the recycling costs are higher than the sales price. The government has also reportedly detected that chemicals, including fluorine, have exceeded the environmental standards in 11 locations around Shibukawa. These locations have used recycled steel slag from Daido as their gravel.
The contract between Daido and the recycling company signed in 2009 had a “sales management costs” of 250 yen per ton aside from the normal cost of 100 yen per ton. This was apparently made in order for Daido to not pay the more expensive costs for disposing of steel waste that had toxic chemicals. While the sales management fee was no longer in their renewed contract in 2012, the steel maker is still paying for the transportation of the construction materials that contained the steel slag.
Daido also pays for the rental of a space where the recycling company stores the construction materials, including the contaminated industrial waste. The Environment Ministry decided to regulate the transactions of industrial waste because of the practice of recycling companies to leave the contaminated materials out in the open instead of immediately recycling them. This has caused environmental contamination in most cases, prompting the new rules under the Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Act. The steel maker has admitted to such a practice while the recycling company defended it, saying Daido has to “bear the costs” of the management of the waste since they are taking a risk on it.
[ via Mainichi ]