The Washington Department of Ecology has fined Seattle-based electronics recycler Total Reclaim, Inc. $67,500 for illegally storing hundreds of thousands of pounds of flat screen TVs and monitors. Washington law requires e-waste to be either recycled or disposed of as dangerous waste in a timely manner.
This is the second recent dangerous waste penalty for Total Reclaim. In 2016, Ecology fined the company $444,000 after an independent investigation found the company was shipping e-waste to Hong Kong.
An Ecology inspection in February of this year found that, for more than a year, Total Reclaim stored thousands of flat screen TVs and monitors containing mercury in dozens of semi-trailers parked on Harbor Island. Washington’s electronics recycling policies and dangerous waste laws prohibit what is known as “speculative accumulation,” because it can lead to waste being abandoned, environmental contamination, or force taxpayers to pay for a cleanup.
“After receiving a very large penalty about a year ago, Total Reclaim knew it needed to fully comply with Washington’s recycling policies and dangerous waste regulations,” said Darin Rice, manager of Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program. “Electronic waste contains toxic chemicals – it’s not good enough to simply store it for months or years. It needs to be properly and safely recycled in a timely manner.”
Since Ecology’s inspection, Total Reclaim has shipped flat screens stored longer than 180 days to a facility in South Carolina for recycling.
Total Reclaim has 30 days to pay the penalty or file an appeal with the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.
Washington residents can recycle TVs, monitors, computers and other electronics for free at participating E-Cycle Washington locations. For questions about where other items can be recycled, call or visit 1-800-RECYCLE.