This year, e-waste recycling made great strides in being recognized as one of the most important things big businesses can do to help control operational costs, mitigate risk, and help protect the environment. But, while so many ethical companies embraced proper e-waste disposal and earned e-Stewards certification in 2015, many still chose to practice illegal techniques for getting rid of unwanted electronics. Unfortunately for some, they found themselves making front-page headlines.
Here are the top three e-waste recycling fails of 2015.
In March, Michigan resident and e-waste broker, Lip Bor Ng, also known as Paul Wu, was caught illegally exporting CRTs to Hong Kong and China. Not only did Ng ship the e-waste without filing the appropriate paperwork with the EPA, he also did so without obtaining consent from these countries to accept this hazardous waste. Consent is required under the EPA’s CRT Rule. His case is being investigated by the EPA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. As a result of his illegal handling of these materials, Ng faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
In August, a Minnesota-based scrap company, Materials Processing LLC (MPC), was discovered to be storing more than 2,500 tons of CRT glass in 128 semi-trailers in and around the St. Paul-Minneapolis metro area. Interestingly, Materials Processing LLC was e-Stewards-certified and held R2 certification at its Minnesota headquarters until September 2014, but the company chose not to renew its annual licensing agreement at that time. The company was fined $125,000 by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the mismanagement of hazardous waste and for failure to obtain permits for the four locations containing trailers. E-Stewards investigated MPC and withdrew the company’s certification for one year following the fine and since that time, MPC has officially shut down its operations.
In October, a Kentucky e-waste disposal company, Global Environmental Services (GES), was caught burying CRTs in a hole near its facility in Georgetown, KY. The firm’s illegal handling of the CRTs was uncovered during an investigation by Kentucky’s NBC affiliate LEX 18. During the investigation, GES managers stated that they didn’t know how the CRTs got placed in the 30 ft. wide by 10 ft. deep hole, but they suspect the monitors came from the company’s CRT processing facility in nearby Cynthiana, KY. In addition to the act of illegally burying CRTs, Global Environmental Services also recently withdrew from e-Stewards certification and has been suspended from the R2 certification program. This case is still under investigation, so as of yet no fines have been levied on Global Environmental Services despite the company admitting to the mismanagement of e-waste.
While these three stories were among the top e-waste blunders of 2015, they are not isolated incidents. Mismanagement of electronic waste is still a major problem in this country. One of the best ways to ensure the recycling firm you’re using is reputable is to check the validity of its R2 and e-Stewards certifications. If the company is not certified by these organizations or it has let its certification lapse, then you should avoid using that provider.
If you need e-waste recycling and disposal services, call Liquid Technology today. We’re e-Stewards certified and R2 certified and we can help you protect your business through proper and compliant e-waste removal, recycling, and disposal. We are here to help you. Give us a call today at 800-797-5478 and one of our e-waste experts will be more than happy to help you.