Halloween is a great time of year to trade scary stories for a little bit of spooky fun, but some stories are scary for very real reasons. In late August, an e-waste nightmare was discovered in Denver. A local recycling company abandoned 750 tons of hazardous, electronic waste when it suddenly shut down operations.
The E-Waste Nightmare
Luminous Electronic Recycling was a company that claimed to specialize in recycling glass. Well-meaning customers would pay the company to take away and recycle their old electronics, especially old televisions and computer monitors. But investigation has uncovered that the “recycling” company did nothing of the sort.
In June, shortly before it became illegal to dispose of e-waste in landfills, the company began renting trailer space. They loaded and hauled away 25 trailers full of glass that was alleged to be “recycled” to store in a vacant lot. Approximately 14 of the trailers are full of leaded glass.
Then Luminous Electronic Recycling hastily shut down their operations, leaving their hazardous stockpile of glass and e-waste to be cleaned up by someone else. The company owned two warehouses, with tens of thousands of square feet of storage. Industry and environmental experts who toured the site have called it an “environmental disaster.” It is estimated that 8,000 tons of CRT glass were held in the recycling company’s warehouses.
Why this matters to you
This latest e-waste nightmare highlights how crucial it is to use ethical, certified recyclers. To help prevent this kind of environmental disaster, make sure your recyclers are certified by organizations like R2 and e-Stewards. To maintain certification, recyclers are routinely audited by these certifying bodies to make sure recyclable items are handled legally and safely, so that all salvaged material is reintegrated into the manufacturing process. Auditing requires that recyclers stay accountable for their downstream material and where it ends up, even after that material has left their doors. This oversight prohibits unethical recycling practices, like those used by Luminous Electronic Recycling. Make sure your old electronics are disposed of properly, and use certified recyclers.
Want to find out more about certified recycling? Contact us, and we’ll help you understand what you need to know.