EPA Orders Monterey Park Firm to Present Recycling Plan for 31,993 Pounds of E-Waste

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ordered Monterey Park based ZKW Trading to submit a management plan for approximately 31,993 pounds of cathode ray tubes that were illegally shipped to, and later returned from, Hong Kong, China — a violation of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Commonly known as CRTs, 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.

“The EPA is ordering ZKW Trading to submit a plan detailing how it will ensure that thousands of pounds of CRTs are managed in an environmentally sound manner,” said Jeff Scott, director of Waste Programs for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.  “Electronic recyclers, freight forwarders, and shipping brokers must obey federal regulations for exporting electronics or else face possible legal action.”

In June 2009, ZKW Trading reportedly consigned 38 pallets of cathode ray tubes – listing the cargo as plastic scrap – for shipment to Hong Kong, where it was rejected by Hong Kong customs authorities.   In July, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection informed the EPA of the return of ZKW’s shipments back to the United States.

ZKW Trading now has 30 days to remove its cargo, and forty-five days to submit a plan to the EPA detailing how it will reuse, recycle, or discard the CRT’s or face fines of up to $37,500 per day of noncompliance for each violation.

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

September 10, 2009

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