The Washington Department of Ecology (“WDEQ”)issued a September 1st news release stating that it was assessing Total Reclaim Inc. (“TRI”) a $444,000 penalty for allegedly illegally disposing of flat-screen televisions and monitors with fluorescent tubes containing mercury.

TRI is stated to be a Seattle, Washington-based electronics recycler. The company is alleged to have shipped flat-screens to Hong Kong. The flat-screens were then allegedly broken apart in the open by unprotected workers.

The news release cites the alleged discovery of violations in an investigation by the Basel Action Network (“BAN”). BAN is a nonprofit group that certifies electronic recyclers for E-Cycle Washington.

BAN is stated to have attached GPS tracking beacons to electronics which were dropped off at recycling facilities. The organization is stated to have followed some of the trackers to Hong Kong and filmed the dismantling and disposal of the flat- screens.

WDEQ states Washington law requires electronics recyclers to either properly recycle E-waste themselves or ensure that it is legitimately recycled elsewhere.

TRI has 30 days to pay the penalty or file an appeal with the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.

A copy of the news release can be downloaded here.