E-waste recycling company Intercon Solutions has filed a defamation suit against watchdog group Basel Action Network and its executive director James Puckett, hitting back at BAN claims of improper disposal.
The lawsuit alleges that BAN visited the company’s facility under the guise that it was performing an audit for Intercon’s pending e-Stewards certification, but was really there to collect evidence as part of its ongoing surveillance campaign, Waste & Recycling News reported.
BAN has not had a chance to fully review the complaint from Intercon Solutions, Puckett said in emailed statement to Environmental Leader. “However, BAN stands by our statements regarding Intercon Solutions and are very confident in them,” Puckett wrote. “It is our mission to prevent international toxic waste dumping while promoting responsible industry leaders. We will not be intimidated by blustery denials or efforts to silence the messenger.”
Cathy Pilkington, a Chicag0-based attorney who is representing Intercon, did not respond to requests for comment.
The legal action is the latest in a year-long battle that began when BAN accused the company of shipping hazardous waste to China. Intercon was denied BAN’s e-Stewards certification after the watchdog group said it found compelling evidence the company had been exporting hazardous electronic waste in violation of the UN’s Basel Convention.
BAN said at the time that freight containers holding such waste were shipped from Intercon premises to Los Angeles and then to Hong Kong. On two separate occasions BAN investigators photographed and tracked containers of electronic waste leaving property leased by Intercon Solution in Chicago Heights, Ill., on its way to China, BAN said in a release last year.
BAN’s report prompted e-waste certification firm R-2 to immediately de-list Intercon.
Intercon has maintained that the containers didn’t belong to the company. Last July Intercon filed a petition with the Cook County Circuit Court in response to BAN’s claims, in an effort to force the non-profit organization to provide more information about the allegations.
Intercon said one or more persons must have trespassed on its premises to deposit the containers and then load them with hazardous waste for shipment. The company wanted to force BAN to provide relevant documents, including export declarations, bill of lading, waybills and packing lists of invoices, in hopes of discovering the identify of the trespassers.