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EPA Settlement with New York Electronics Recycler Protects Public from Potential Lead Exposure; ECO International of Vestal Agrees to Properly Dispose of More Than 26 Million Pounds of Hazardous Waste

Release Date: 10/08/2015
Contact Information: John Martin, (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with ECO International, LLC of Vestal, New York, which will ensure the proper disposal of more than 26 million pounds of lead-containing crushed glass. Until 2013, ECO International was a recycler of discarded electronic devices (“electronic waste”), such as older televisions and computer monitors, which can contain lead. The company no longer receives or processes electronic waste.

      “Recyclers and others who handle discarded electronics must make sure that potentially harmful components are properly stored and handled,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “This agreement will help protect the environment and those living near this company’s facilities from possible exposure to lead.”

      Under federal hazardous waste law, hazardous wastes must be stored, handled and disposed of properly to safeguard public health and the environment. Older televisions and computers contain cathode ray tubes (“CRTs”), which typically contain significant amounts of lead. When CRTs are broken or crushed during the recycling process, a large percentage of these materials are classified as hazardous wastes.

      EPA inspections in 2012 of ECO International’s Vestal processing facility, and the company’s Hallstead, Pennsylvania storage facility revealed that the company was in possession of about 13,000 tons of lead-containing CRTs and crushed glass. Much of this glass had been accumulating since 2010, when the international demand for many recycled electronics began to decline. From the time of the 2010 collapse of the export market, ECO International undertook efforts to identify alternative means to properly dispose of the glass.

      Under the agreement, ECO International will complete disposal of the remaining glass by shipping it to a properly licensed and permitted facility by November 2015. ECO International will also clean the areas where the CRT glass had been handled and stored, will provide the EPA with periodic reports on the progress of the clean-up efforts, and will pay a penalty of $9,180.

      For more information about electronics recycling and sustainable management of electronics, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/ssm-electronics

      Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and Facebook at http://facebook.com/eparegion2

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