North Carolina wades through CRTs

North Carolina wades through CRTs

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

April 25, 2014

As part of E-Scrap News' ongoing coverage of CRT devices and glass accumulated around the country, we take a look at what's happening with the problematic material in the Tar Heel State.

Briefed on a series of potential CRT management issues in North Carolina, E-Scrap News reached out to Mike Williford, branch head of the hazardous waste section of North Carolina's Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR). He detailed three fairly unique cases, only two of which appear to have been completely resolved.

Franklin's Recycling

An early entrant into the e-scrap field in North Carolina, Franklin's Recycling's sprawling 219,000-square-foot site in Greenville was found "littered and covered with CRT TVs with the backs of the TVs broken and the copper extracted out," Williford said. The site was first inspected in April 2013.

At the time, Williford said, the site operator alleged the CRT devices had been stacked and palletized, until one day he found them strewn all over the facility. Burglars, according to the operator, had broken into the warehouse and extracted the copper yolk from the TVs before fleeing the scene. No police report was issued following the apparent burglary, Williford said.

The operator did not return a request for comment.

Today, the material has been palletized in 150 shipping boxes and NCDENR is working with the operator and owner of the warehouse to "hopefully" ship the material to a lead smelter for final recovery, according to Williford. The manager of the operating firm has indicated he has limited means to move the material.

The approximate weight of the load could be up to 75 tons of material.

"Sooner or later, we're confident the material will be shipped off site," Williford added.

E-CycleSecure

That confidence may have been buoyed by a second situation within the state. Williford said more than 400 tons of CRT glass — 800 pallet-sized boxes — was amassed by eCycleSecure, a company with R2 and e-Stewards certifications, at its 1236 Industrial Avenue location in Gastonia. The Charlotte-based company, however, has sent about 75 percent of the material for final processing in Ohio, according to Williford.

A November 2013 visit found "approximately 800 containers filled with broken CRTs" in the 10,000 square-foot Gastonia warehouse, Williford said. The material was determined to be almost a year old, and eCycleSecure was notified it needed to ensure 75 percent of the material was cleaned up within one month — a federal rule stipulates at least three-quarters of CRT inventory must be sent to a downstream processor in any given calendar year.

"And they were able to do that," Willford said. "They provided us with a bill of lading, which showed that the material was shipped to Closed Loop Refining and Recovery in Columbus, Ohio."

To date, approximately 641 of the 800 containers, or about 317 tons, have been shipped to Closed Loop, an emerging CRT glass processor aiming to finance and build furnaces at sites in Ohio and Arizona, Williford said.

Brett Rhinehardt, an executive at eCycleSecure, would not confirm the destination of the glass but stated the company continues to send glass downstream to a handful of vetted processors. "We are able to move our glass and have done so to more than one of the regularly noted and legitimate solutions," Rhinehardt added.

E-Metals

Receiving a tip in early April of last year, Williford's team visited the former Mooresville facility of Charlotte-based recycling firm E-Metals. "Evidence of broken glass" in and around the facility was detected by inspectors, and E-Metals was ordered to clean up the facility, including soil believed to contain broken CRT glass.

According to Williford, E-Metals collected approximately 60 CRT devices from a county-run collection program every week between November 2012 and March 2013 – amounting to about 40 tons of material total – and proceeded to "crush them on the ground very crudely … both inside and outside of the facility." Despite teaming up with a certified recycling firm to send the material downstream, the company was apparently salvaging the valuable remains of the crushed devices and disposing of the lead-laden glass.

"I would assume that they knew there were heavy metals in the monitors," Williford said.

A visit this February confirmed about 31 tons of potentially contaminated soil had been removed by the company and tested below regulatory levels. The soil was then sent to a landfill.

Williford stated the company was no longer using the facility in Mooresville, instead operating out of its Charlotte headquarters. The company did not return a request for comment on the matter.

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