Environmental Protection Agency Takes Action against Electronics Recycler
Olson, Thomas, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it has filed an administrative complaint and compliance order against EarthEcycle. The agency said it wasn't notified of cathode-ray tube exports the embattled electronic equipment recycler made to Hong Kong.
EarthEcycle, based in Tulsa, Okla., recently was alleged to have shipped electronic equipment abroad for extracting hazardous metals, which endangers workers in China and Africa. The equipment had been collected in March at two Pittsburgh-area charities' fundraisers.
The claims against EarthEcycle were made by the e-waste watchdog group, Basel Action Network. BAN, based in Seattle, traced seven EarthEcycle containers from equipment collection drives sponsored in March by the Washington County Humane Society, and by Allegheny County and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.
Jeff Nixon, EarthEcycle's CEO, could not be reached yesterday. But a phone message said he was "tending to EPA investigative reports until completely satisfied."
CRTs, or cathode-ray tubes, in televisions or computer monitors can contain more than 6 pounds of lead. Lead is known to cause brain damage in children.
If EarthEcycle cannot settle the case with the EPA, it could be subject to unspecified penalties and criminal sanctions, according to the agency's Web site. For example, the EPA fined a California company $32,500 in July for exporting a container with 441 CRTs to Hong Kong.
The EPA's complaint stems from an investigation opened last week into EarthEcycle's export of e-waste that Hong Kong authorities intercepted and sent back. The EPA is investigating the company for violations of the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act, which requires companies to notify the agency when they export e-waste and to obtain prior approval from the receiving country. …