- Seattle-based electronics recycling company Total Reclaim has been fined $444,000 by the Washington Department of Ecology for illegal disposal of flat-screen TVs and monitors containing mercury, as reported by Recycling Today.
- Washington state law requires that processors recycle the waste themselves or make sure that it is sent to a proper facility. The non-profit Basel Action Network (BAN) previously tracked waste exported by Total Reclaim to Hong Kong via GPS and revoked its certification in the e-Stewards Program for its actions.
- Total Reclaim has 30 days to pay the fines, which would go into the state's general fund, or appeal them. The company has said it is cooperating with the state, but is disputing the penalty.
Founded in 1990, Total Reclaim is one of the largest electronics recyclers in the region. Clients have included Seattle, King County, Boeing and the University of Washington. Since BAN released its findings in May the company has faced heavy scrutiny.
"This was an egregious violation of the public trust," said Andrew Wineke, spokesperson for Washington's Department of Ecology, as reported by KCTS. "This was a respected recycling company that knew what it was doing was wrong."
Total Reclaim also does business in Oregon and is now under investigation by the state's Department of Justice over whether it violated consumer protection laws.
The company has previously apologized for its actions and in a recent statement laid out multiple steps it has been taking to improve operations, according to Recycling Today. These steps include retrofitting its "Smasher" machine, constructing new equipment to separate mercury-bearing fluorescent tubes and bulbs, contracting with an independent third party auditor and working to repair customer trust.