The man at the centre of the Department of Environment and Science investigation had been using his rented property outside of town as a dumping ground for unwanted fridges to make money from recycled parts, according to authorities close to the case.
Investigators estimate that as many as 3000 old fridges could have been stored on the property at the peak of the ill-fated operation.
“I’d describe this guy as someone with good intentions who had a situation that just spiralled out of control,” a department spokesperson said.
“Once it became known that there was a bloke taking unwanted fridges for free, well they just kept coming from everywhere.”
The fridge dumping ground was revealed after a tip-off from a member of the public to the department’s ‘Pollution Hotline’ led to an initial assessment on December 9 last year.
The man, described as a sole trader, was issued with a $2669 fine for unlawfully receiving and storing the fridges without an environmental authority.
The same offence conducted by a company attracts a $13,345 fine.
The Maryborough man was also ordered to cease receiving waste, legally dispose of the fridges and to clean up the property.
A department spokesperson told InQueensland the fridges were taken to a council waste transfer station for recycling at the man’s own expense.
“Our approach is we’d rather not take a big stick to these cases,” the spokesperson said.
“After he copped the fine the man in question was good to deal with. He took our advice and worked with us to achieve the best outcome for the environment and the community.
“We’re thrilled with this collaborative approach and delighted with the final result.”
The department said a recent inspection had confirmed all fridges removed and the land rehabilitated.
The Pollution Hotline can be reached on 1300 130 372.
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