APRIL 2011
                                        

EPA intercepts electronic waste shipment

Metro Metals Corp. and Avista Recycling, Inc. have been ordered to properly dispose of computer waste they attempted to illegally export from Minnesota to Vietnam, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA is simultaneously seeking a $31,600 penalty against the companies for violating federal hazardous waste laws.

Metro Metals Corp., a Toronto, Canada, based company, and Avista Recycling, Inc., a recycling company operating in Hopkins, Minnesota, arranged for the export of 913 discarded computer monitors to Vietnam on December 6, 2010. United States Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted the shipment, which had been incorrectly identified in shipping paperwork as “scrap plastic,” at the Port of Seattle for inspection before it could leave the United States.

EPA alleges that the companies violated several federal hazardous waste management requirements designed to ensure the proper management and transport of such wastes. First, the companies failed to evaluate their waste and identify it as hazardous. They also failed to manifest the waste or comply with other pre-transit requirements for such shipments. The companies also failed to notify EPA of their intent to export the waste to Vietnam and, consequently, attempted to bypass the process required for Vietnam to consent to receive hazardous wastes from the United States before it can leave the country.