Several recyclers have been formally convicted in New York state for illegally processing and disposing of hundreds of tons of e-scrap, the result of an investigation that started in 2015.
ALPCO Recycling, its owner, Alton Plumb, Jr., Finger Lakes Cleanup and Recycling Consultants and project manager Craig Foster were all charged for illegally processing and disposing of 800 tons of e-scrap in New York, according to a press release.
ALPCO pleaded guilty to Unauthorized Possession, Disposal and Dealing in Hazardous Wastes, a class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to an unconditional discharge and a $1,500 fine. Plumb pleaded guilty as well and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge and a $1,500 fine. He also signed a DEC consent order in 2017 that required him to pay $225,000 in civil penalties over two years for Environmental Conservation Law and Permit violations.
Foster and Finger Lakes Cleanup and Recycling Consultants pleaded guilty to Unauthorized Possession, Disposal and Dealing in Hazardous Wastes, a class A misdemeanor, and were also sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge. Finger Lakes Cleanup and Recycling Consultants pleaded guilty to Unlawful Dealing in Hazardous Wastes in the First Degree, a class E felony, and was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge. Both were fined $5,000.
The investigation by the New York Office of the Attorney General, the DEC and the U.S. EPA started in 2015 after a large amount of e-scrap was reported abandoned at the Geneva Enterprise Development Center (GEDC) in Seneca County, N.Y. The material included television and computer monitors with CRTs.
In 2016, the state hired Finger Lakes Cleanup and Recycling Consultants to clean up the material. Foster hired ALPCO for assistance, despite knowing that ALPCO did not have a permit and was not authorized to process hazardous waste. Under New York law, e-scrap must be handled through a registered, permitted facility.
The state had separately received complaints about ALPCO for dumping e-scrap and in 2017 found that it had been crushing the materials and storing them outdoors, allowing lead and other contaminants to spill into groundwater and the soil. The e-scrap was then brought to a landfill that was not permitted to accept it.
Between May and July 2016, ALPCO unlawfully processed and disposed of 800 tons of e-scrap on behalf of Finger Lakes Cleanup and, by extension, the state. ALPCO later paid for all the e-scrap to be properly disposed of and for the site to be remediated.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said in the press release that improperly managed hazardous waste “puts families and communities at risk, and endangers the environment.”
“By disregarding public safety laws and common sense, these companies put residents in harm’s way and stuck local communities with the mess they left behind,” James added. “Hopefully this conviction sends a clear message that illegally disposing of waste will not be tolerated.”