Last week, the Washington Department of Ecology fined Seattle-based Total Reclaim $444,000 for violations of the state’s electronics recycling law. To keep lead, mercury, and other toxics out of the environment, Washington law requires electronics recyclers to properly recycle e-waste themselves or ensure that it is properly recycled elsewhere.
Total Reclaim had shipped electronics containing mercury to Hong Kong where they were broken apart by unprotected workers. The violation was found by a nonprofit that certifies electronics recyclers for E-Cycle Washington and similar programs.
E-Cycle Washington is a collaborative effort between Washington Department of Ecology, businesses, and nonprofits to recycle electronics free of charge in the state. Started in 2009, the program had recycled over 320 million pounds of electronics. [Hanson]