- Wisconsin’s Universal Recycling Technologies (URT) will pay a $200,000 penalty to settle allegations that the company improperly disposed of cathode ray tubes that contained illegally high levels of lead and mercury, according to the state. The company will pay its fine in increments of $40,000 per year over the next five years.
- URT also reportedly stored lamp glass from recycling fluorescent bulbs longer than the allowable time; the material, which was to ship to a Maine recycling plant, also contained mercury levels exceeding regulations.
- URT dumped the cathodes on a Rochester, WI landfill that is not permitted to receive hazardous waste.
Mercury poses serious public health threats — a possibility that regulators do not take lightly when recyclers appear to be improperly disposing of hazardous waste, as seen in the URT scenario and others. Most recently, Central Mass Recycled Metals in Massachusetts was under fire for similar violations.
Between October 2009 and March 2012, URT was cited for eight samples of highly mercury-contaminated lamp glass. According to Jeff Gloyd, URT’s vice president of marketing and sales, the problems were "corrected" in 2012.
Assistant attorney general Mary Maloney disagrees.
"The mercury and lead levels are not anything we want people exposed to," she said.
URT has not admitted to any of the allegations, though Gloyd did speak up on New Hampshire’s standards, claiming they are higher than in many states, which he said will require the company to relocate its fluorescent recycling business.