Basel Action Network (BAN), an environmental watchdog organization, has accused CRT Recycling of illegally shipping cathode ray tube (CRT) computer monitors to Indonesia, reports PC World (via IDG News Service). This latest dispute highlights the growing challenges of regulating electronic waste shipments to developing countries.
Peter Kopcych, general manager at CRT Recycling, a Massachusetts recycler of electronic waste, disputes BAN’s claim that the shipment contained computer monitors with hazardous materials, according to PC World.
BAN said in a press release that it has prevented nine containers of electronic waste from CRT Recycling, which was shipped by waste broker, Advanced Global Technologies, from entering Indonesia. The Ministry of Environment in Indonesia stopped the shipment after BAN tipped off the government about concerns that the shipments violated an international treaty on hazardous waste known as the Basel Convention and Indonesian law.
The containers were seized by Indonesian port officials after BAN staked out the company’s Massachusetts operations and alerted the Indonesian government about the potential illegal shipment of e-waste, reports Boston.com.
Kopcych said told PC World that the seals on the containers shipped to Indonesia were not broken, which means the contents were not inspected overseas, and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspected the shipment Monday morning (Mar. 1).
The EPA released the shipment to the company, finding no clear violations of U.S. law, reports Boston.com. Kopcych claims the shipments contained some used television sets that can be reused and no computer monitors.
In response, Jim Puckett, BAN’s executive director, told PC World that the EPA rules do not ensure that e-waste shipments comply with the laws of the country they’re exported to, and it hasn’t signed on to the Basel Convention.
The Basel Convention lists TVs and computer CRTs as hazardous waste, and bans the U.S. and other industrialized nations from exporting hazardous waste to poorer countries.
BAN claims that many companies say the tubes are going to be reused or resold, but in reality the majority of the tubes are burned, dumped, or, disassembled to extract reusable material by workers with little protection against toxins, reports Boston.com.
In December last year, the EPA beefed up its regulations for the shipping of hazardous waste — including e-waste — for recycling between the United States and other countries. The new measures increase the level of regulatory oversight, and provide stricter controls and greater transparency.
According to the Basel Convention, transboundary movement of hazardous waste shows an accumulation of roughly six billion tons of e-waste.