One of Utah’s largest recyclers of electronic waste has abandoned over 7,600 tons of toxic electronic waste across various sites, including warehouses and even open fields. According to EPA representatives, the owner of Stone Castle Recycling has disappeared and is being pursued by law enforcement.
The abandonment comes after the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and the US EPA increased enforcement actions to ensure the proper recycling of electronic materials in the wake of three recent fires at company sites. The fires were caused by improperly storing materials in warehouses and open fields and the smoke likely released toxic heavy metals, dioxins, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
While the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s rules about e-waste management specifically prohibit “speculative recycling,” where operators receive unused waste without a comprehensive or realistic plan to recycle the waste, watchdog agencies such as the Basel Action Network are calling on the EPA to take a tougher stance on “fake” recycling companies.
To ensure that recycled TVs, computer monitors, and other devices are properly disposed of, look for the certification system e-Stewards, which verifies e-cycling operators are taking the appropriate steps to ensure safe, sustainable recycling of electronic devices.