EPA Fines Computer Recycler for Illegal Export

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Jet Ocean Technologies of Chino, Calif., $10,300 for failing to notify the agency of an export shipment of cathode ray tubes, commonly known as CRTs, in violation of federal hazardous waste laws, according to a Nov. 13 press release.

“Electronic recyclers, freight forwarders, and shipping brokers must be aware of the federal regulations required for legally exporting electronic waste,” said Jeff Scott, director of Waste Programs for the EPA’s Southwest region. “These regulations exist to ensure that exported cathode ray tubes are recycled in an environmentally sound manner that is protective of human health."

In January 2008, Jet Ocean consigned 441 computer monitors with CRTs – listing the cargo as “mixed metal scrap” -- for shipment to Hong Kong, where it was rejected by Hong Kong customs authorities.

In March 2008, EPA was alerted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Port of Long Beach to the arrival of Jet Ocean’s returned shipping container of “scrap metal.” Jet Ocean’s shipment of CRTs was eventually recycled in Florida.

New regulations took effect in January 2007 requiring exporters shipping broken or unbroken CRTs to another country for recycling to notify EPA and receive written consent from the receiving country before shipments can be made.

Cathode ray tubes are the video display components of televisions and computer monitors. The glass in these units typically contains enough lead to require managing it as hazardous waste under certain circumstances. About 57 million computers and televisions are sold in the United States annually, although many new models may not contain cathode ray tubes.

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