Enforcement of E-Waste Export Shows Continuing Off-site Disposal Risk

Today, EPA Region 2 announced that it fined a U.S. company almost $200,000 for illegally exporting non-working computer monitors to Hong Kong in 2007 and 2008, and for failing to promptly respond to EPA’s requests for information.

This action is part of a national effort to crack down on the illegal export of electronic waste.

Traditional waste disposal vendor programs in the U.S. have centered around hazardous waste management.  E-waste may be a somewhat different challenge for internal EHS staff to manage.  IT departments typically drive equipment replacement and disposal programs within companies.  EHS is not normally linked into the IT department, so communication between the two functions may not exist.  However, the connection between the two should be strengthened.

EPA’s enforcement initiative, combined with significant public/media pressure surrounding e-waste exports, highlight the need for companies to incorporate this wastestream into waste vendor audit programs.

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