Seattle recycler hit with 2nd fine in two years for stockpiling toxic waste

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SEATTLE - A Seattle-based electronics recycler has been fined for the second time in two years for violating state dangerous waste laws.

In the most recent violation, Total Reclaim Inc. was fined $67,500 by the state Department of Ecology for illegally storing hundreds of thousands of pounds of flat screen TVs and monitors, said DOE spokesman Andrew Wineke. Washington law requires e-waste to be either recycled or disposed of as dangerous waste in a timely manner.

The fine is the second recent dangerous waste penalty for Total Reclaim. In 2016, Ecology fined the company $444,000 after an independent investigation found the company was shipping e-waste to Hong Kong, Wineke said.

A Department of Ecology inspection in February of this year found that, for more than a year, Total Reclaim stored thousands of flat screen TVs and monitors containing mercury in dozens of semi-trailers parked on Harbor Island.

Washington state’s electronics recycling policies and dangerous waste laws prohibit what is known as "speculative accumulation" because it can lead to waste being abandoned, environmental contamination or force taxpayers to foot the bill for a cleanup.

"After receiving a very large penalty about a year ago, Total Reclaim knew it needed to fully comply with Washington’s recycling policies and dangerous waste regulations,” said Darin Rice, manager of Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program. "Electronic waste contains toxic chemicals – it’s not good enough to simply store it for months or years. It needs to be properly and safely recycled in a timely manner."

Since the state inspection, Total Reclaim has shipped flat screens stored longer than 180 days to a facility in South Carolina for recycling.

Wineke said Total Reclaim has 30 days to pay the penalty or file an appeal with the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.

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