MARCH 2010

EPA fines Monterey Park firm

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an order seeking penalties up to $37,500 per day to Monterey Park, California-based ZKW Trading for failing to properly manage electronic waste that it attempted to export to Hong Kong.

EPA issued the penalty order after ZKW failed to comply with a September 2009 order requiring ZKW to remove its cargo from the Port of Long Beach and to submit a plan for management of electronic waste that ZKW had shipped to Hong Kong without providing required notice. The waste was part of a shipment of approximately 31,993 pounds of cathode ray tubes that had been rejected in Hong Kong and returned to the Port of Long Beach. ZKW failed to provide appropriate notice to EPA or to the receiving country as required by federal law. After receiving the earlier order, ZKW informed EPA that it would not comply with the order.

“EPA requires all exporters of e-waste for recycling to provide notification,” said Amy Miller, who leads Resource Conservation and Recovery Act enforcement in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Companies that fail to comply will face significant penalties.”

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 when they are discarded or recycled.

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.

The order gave ZKW Trading 30 days to remove the cargo, and 45 days to submit a plan to the EPA detailing how it will reuse, recycle, or discard the CRTs. ZKW Trading’s failure to comply subjects it to fines of up to $37,500 per day of noncompliance.