Stone Castle Recycling, previously one of Utah’s largest recyclers of electronic waste, has abandoned its three facilities and the owner is missing, according to the Basel Action Network, an e-waste watchdog group.
The company has ceased all operations and has left behind several warehouses and yards filled with an estimated 7,600 tons of toxic electronic wastes and charred residues. According to EPA representatives in Denver, the owner and CEO of Stone Castle, Anthony (Tony) Stoddard, has disappeared and is now being actively pursued by law enforcement authorities.
The abandonment follows three mysterious fires at the three Stone Castle sites located in Clearfield (near Salt Lake City), Parowan and Cedar City, and a subsequent investigation and report by BAN released in March.
The report was in turn followed by intensified enforcement actions from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and US EPA seeking to ensure that the company paid for, and conducted the cleanup and proper disposal or recycling of, its massive piles of collected waste.
On March 2, the most dramatic fire occurred in the small central Utah town of Parowan where Stone Castle was illegally storing electronic and other waste in an open field. BAN says the fire is believed to have released toxic heavy metals, dioxins and dangerous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the smoke and now remaining in the ash. The site has yet to be cleaned up; BAN says, according to the EPA, the cleanup will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Stone Castle abandonment is part of what BAN says appears to be a growing nationwide epidemic of TV/computer monitor accumulation and abandonment in which “fake” recycling companies collect money from the public or business for recycling, but then did not undertake the expense to properly recycle the material.
BAN is calling on EPA and state agencies to more effectively monitor and enforce the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s rules about e-waste management including rules against operators speculatively accumulating wastes with empty promises of future recycling.