Environmental Enforcement: EPA Orders Disposal of Seized E-Waste Bound for Vietnam

by | Feb 18, 2011

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Two recycling companies have been ordered to properly dispose of computer waste they attempted to illegally export from Minnesota to Vietnam, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday.

The EPA alleges that the companies attempted to export hundreds of computer monitors to Vietnam for disposal, through the Port of Seattle. The agency is imposing a $31,600 penalty against the companies for violating federal hazardous waste laws.

According to the EPA, Toronto-based Metro Metals Corp., and Avista Recycling, Inc., a recycler based in Minnesota, arranged for the export of a shipment of 913 discarded computer monitors to Vietnam in early December.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted the shipment, which had been identified in shipping paperwork as “scrap plastic,”  at the Port of Seattle.

According to the EPA, many televisions and computer monitors use cathode ray tubes (CRTs) that contain an average of four pounds of lead, and may also contain mercury, cadmium and arsenic that can leach into groundwater if not disposed of properly.

Discarded CRTs are subject to regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The EPA alleges the companies also violated several other federal hazardous waste management rules requiring the companies to accurately manifest the waste shipment, notify the agency of their intent to export the waste to Vietnam, and obtain the consent of the Vietnamese government.

The EPA order will automatically become final unless either of the parties requests a hearing on the matter within 30 days.

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