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Cal Micro Recycling, others reach CRT cleanup settlements

Warehouse owners in Phoenix have sued dozens of e-scrap companies to try to force them to help pay for the cleanup of abandoned CRT glass. | Google Maps

Four e-scrap companies agreed to pay a combined $937,000 to fund a portion of the cleanup of over 100 million pounds of CRT materials in Phoenix. 

Cal Micro Recycling of Ontario, Calif.; E-Waste LLC of Mountlake Terrace, Wash.; eGreen-IT of Phoenix; and Desert Arc of Indio, Calif. all agreed to legal settlements in the Arizona court battle over the cleanup of CRT materials abandoned by Closed Loop Refining and Recovery. 

A judge has already approved the settlements, the largest of which was $705,000 to be paid by Cal Micro. 

For years, Closed Loop was paid to take in hundreds of millions of pounds of CRT materials at locations in Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio, before the company failed in early 2016 and abandoned the materials

Owners of warehouses in Columbus sued dozens of companies that were responsible for shipping CRT materials to Closed Loop, arguing that under federal Superfund law they were required to help pay for the cleanup. Many companies disputed their liability, but none took the case to trial. The yearslong case ultimately resulted in 39 legal settlements totaling over $16 million, with the last settlement coming earlier this year. The cleanups cost over $17 million. 

A case modeled off the Ohio litigation lives on in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. There, landowners last fall sued nearly 50 alleged CRT suppliers, immediately reaching $1 million settlements with CEAR of California and UNICOR, the business name of Federal Prison Industries. A couple of months later, they reached a $5 million settlement with IMS Electronics Recycling.  

Now, another four defendants have reached settlements, which were approved by a judge on Sept. 5. Cal Micro agreed to pay $705,000, E-Waste LLC $182,111, eGreen-IT $25,000 and Desert Arc $25,000. The plaintiffs alleged they shipped 10.3 million pounds, 2.4 million pounds, 61,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds, respectively. 

Cal Micro was acquired in late 2021 by investment firm Tide Rock Holdings, which has also acquired e-scrap Full Circle Electronics, Candice Marshall, chief marketing officer for Tide Rock, told E-Scrap News. She said the Closed Loop settlement involved the previous Cal Micro owner, not Tide Rock or its companies. She also noted that Full Circle Electronics has exited the CRT business altogether. 

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs estimate that in Phoenix, Closed Loop accepted about 195 million pounds of CRT materials, of which roughly 106 million pounds were abandoned. They estimate it will cost $15 million or more to clean up. 

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