The bill prohibits the disposal of certain consumer electronic devices in landfills, effective by a date established by the solid and hazardous waste commission. Disposal in landfills located in communities that are not well-served by electronic device recycling facilities may be exempted from the ban. Beginning July 1, 2013, state agencies must arrange for the recycling of such devices with a certified recycler. The department of public health and environment must coordinate with existing public and private efforts pertaining to the development and implementation of a public education program regarding electronic device recycling.


First Federal Criminal Charges Brought Against Recycler for Exporting Toxic e-Waste in Denver Co.

Global Dumping Exposed by Environmentalists and CBS’s 60 Minutes

Denver, CO, September 16, 2011 —  After 30 months of investigations, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and EPA Criminal Investigation Division handed down multiple criminal charges today against two executives of Executive Recycling Inc., a Denver, Colorado electronics recycling firm.  The government first became aware of the alleged violations following an investigation by the Basel Action Network (BAN), a Seattle based organization dedicated to combating toxic trade.  The investigation became highly publicized after BAN worked with CBS’s 60 Minutes news magazine in an episode entitled “The Wasteland.”  It is the first instance that criminal charges have been brought against an e-waste exporter.

In 2007 and 2008, BAN volunteers photographed 21 sea-going containers at Executive Recycling’s loading docks that they subsequently tracked across the world, with most ending up in China.  BAN then alerted the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and 60 Minutes, and together the groups documented US businesses posing as responsible electronics recyclers but who instead were simply shipping e-waste to developing countries where it was processed in deadly, highly polluting operations.  The resulting 60 Minutes episode has since become one of the most popular and award winning in the program’s history.

“This is a major victory for global environmental justice,” said BAN Executive Director Jim Puckett.   “Even before we have a US law in place to explicitly prohibit this dumping on developing countries, the US government’s criminal justice system has recognized the massive toxic trade we first discovered in 2001 as fraudulent, as smuggling, and as an environmental crime.  Now these sham recyclers are warned: their shameful practices can land them in jail.”

Currently, legislation has been proposed in both the US House of Representatives and the Senate to prohibit the export of toxic electronic waste to developing countries.   Such an export prohibition already exists in Europe.   The US has been behind in enacting such rules, and in 2008, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) was highly critical of the EPA and uncontrolled e-waste exports in a strongly worded report.   EPA enforcers themselves have lamented that the US lacks clear laws to combat the global e-waste dumping practice.

According to the federal grand jury indictment, Executive Recycling was responsible for at least 300 exports, including shipments of more than 100,000 toxic cathode ray tubes that netted the company $1.8 million.  Executive’s CEO, Mr. Brandon Richter, together with Mr. Tor Olson, Vice President of Operations, were indicted on 16 separate counts including wire and mail fraud, environmental crimes, exportation contrary to law, and destruction, alteration, or falsification of records.

Executive Recycling still operates in the Denver area and has had e-waste recycling contracts with the cities of Denver, Boulder, and Broomfield and the El Paso County and Jefferson County governments.  It is registered with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as a “Large Quantity Handler of Universal Waste.”

“Sadly, Executive Recycling is just the tip of the e-waste iceberg,” said Puckett. “They are but one of hundreds of fake recyclers who sell greenness and responsibility but in fact practice global dumping.  This is why we must pass federal legislation prohibiting this activity.  And this is why all those disposing of electronic waste should use only Certified e-Stewards® Recyclers who will not export your old toxic computer or TV to a developing country.”

E-Scrap 2011: Crunching the numbers on certification

With numerous firms having completed or begun the process, the explosive growth of third-party certification can’t be denied. How will certification programs adapt to the ever-evolving e-scrap industry and other changes? Will they be able to keep up with the evolution of electronic devices, the potential to target rare earth elements, the rise in the number of state programs and the increase in EPEAT-certified devices? In this compelling session we turn to three industry experts for a sharp look at the results of certification programs thus far, discuss the emerging trends and look towards what’s on the horizon.

Sarah Westervelt of the Basel Action Network will provide a thorough analysis of the first year of the e-Stewards certification program, highlighting program performance measurements and hard data, including aggregated results of work place air testing.

How is the R2 standard performing in the marketplace and what are the impacts that voluntary certification programs can have on the industry? R2 Solutions will be surveying certified R2 recyclers to better evaluate a number of areas including what changes were implemented as a result of certification, how certification is impacting their business, compliance and implementation. Kim Holmes (4R Sustainability) will offer a comprehensive overview of these findings.

What are the big picture issues on the horizon? Kelley Keogh (Greeneye Partners LLC) will provide a high-level overview of the key EH&S issues or trends potentially affecting e-scrap processing in the future, as well as an assessment of potential new focus materials to be concerned about and OEM thinking about EH&S concerns.

This year’s E-Scrap Conference will be held October 5-6 at the Omni Championsgate in Orlando, Florida. For more information, visit, or click the banner below.

R2 Conformity review

Conformity review:  Maintaining conformance on an ongoing basis

Conformity review is a monthly column highlighting important operational information
concerning the R2 Standard

One limitation of any audit-based certification program is that the audit only
provides a snapshot of the system in place at the time of the audit.  Over
time, a recycler can fall out of conformance but continue operating under the
certification label.  One mechanism that mitigates against this is the annual
maintenance audit which is required to maintain certification.  While this
annual, independent third-party verification is important, it still cannot offer
insight into the practices of the facility on a day-to-day basis.  For this
we must rely on certified recyclers to continue self-monitoring conformance on
an ongoing basis.

     The stakeholders that developed the Standard wanted to
ensure that the principles of the Standard could be, and would be, applied daily. 
To do this, the Standard requires monitoring, benchmarking, and continually improving
by means of these internal controls:

• The EHSMS, which is to be reviewed regularly, and be based on a “Plan-Do-Check-Act”
model for continuous improvement.  [Provision 1(a)(2)]

• Periodic evaluation of compliance with all legal requirements to protect
environmental and worker safety. [Provision 3(a)(1)]

• Continuous hazards identification and assessment of occupational and environmental
risks. [Provision 4(c)].

• Monitoring and sampling protocols to manage any hazard risks that have
been identified.  [Provision 4(e)].

• Confirmation through audit or similarly effective means that downstream
vendors conform to the Focus Material requirements each time a new downstream
vendor is selected. [Provision 5(f)].

• Regular review and validation of data destruction procedures by an independent
party. [Provision 8(d)].

During the audit process, the recyclers have to produce their plan for regularly
carrying out the described monitoring and conformance checks.  So while it
is the auditor’s job to determine the recycler is operating in accordance to the
R2 Standard’s requirements at the time of review, it is the expectation that the
recycler continues to actively monitor all operational areas on an ongoing basis,
and address any discovered non-conformances immediately.