Illegitimate recyclers give industry a bad name

With many states enacting extended producer responsibility laws and electronics recycling mandates, electronics recycling will no doubt increase.

At the same time, it is important that recycling is done properly.

Last week, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced today he had obtained a judgment against Tim and Cathleen Coffman, a Missouri couple operating an unlicensed electronics recycling operation in their home, according to American Metal Market. The attorney general did not indicate where the business was based.

In a press statement, Koster said the couple must pay a $20,000 civil penalty and are prohibited from violating the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law in the future; the Attorney General said they were improperly disposing of hazardous waste in violation of state law.

“Electronics must be recycled in a way that protects human health and the environment,” Koster said. “There are numerous electronic recyclers in our state who operate their businesses according to law. They should not have to compete with the illegitimate recyclers.”

When people think of recycling, they first think of the items they are most familiar with in their homes – cans, bottles, newspapers and plastics. Often,  these items are stockpiled at home with little impact and no concern of protecting personal information and recycling practices.  But electronics are another matter. Commercial recycling operations should not be operated out of a residence, and people who do so risk running afoul of state and federal law. Unlike aluminum cans and paper, and other household recyclables, electronics can contain sensitive data and personal information that must be  properly removed. For residents, and those looking to start new electronic recycling businesses, it is very important that everyone operate within the law to avoid giving legitimate electronics recyclers a bad name.

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