Some of the electronics collected through a free recycling campaign on behalf of several charitable organizations earlier this year were dumped on the property of a former auto repair shop in Homewood, according to workers for an Oklahoma recycling company.For those who came in late, you can read this blog’s initial post on the topic from last Wednesday and all the Post-Gazette articles linked within, but we’ll do a quick summary anyway:
The workers, Raymar Dawson and Jason Ivey, who were part of a crew of about 22 laborers that handled the electronics collected by Tulsa-based EarthEcycle LLC, say they dumped some of the electronics in the yard of an old car garage at 408 Finance St. (Post-Gazette 6/12/2009)
- Boy meets charity
- Boy tells charity he can produce $10,000 for every 100,000 pounds of old electronics collected
- Boy says he’s going to recycle the electronics
- Boy turns out to be selling the electronics overseas where they are dumped illegally
- Environmental watchdog group blows whistle on boy
- EPA gets involved with a list of administrative charges against boy and demands a working plan to properly dispose of said electronics within a specific time period
Okay; all caught up.
So yesterday I was pleased that Jeff Nixon and EarthECycle were getting some heat from above, and today Post-Gazette reporter Karamagi Rujumba found a couple guys who worked at Nixon’s Homewood stop-over. The electronics were collected in the North Side and then moved to either an old garage in Homewood or an empty Levin Furniture showroom in Monroeville. From there, the electronics were sorted and loaded onto shipping containers that found their way to Newark and eventually en route to Hong Kong and South Africa.
Today’s story features some whistle-blowers from the Homewood site.
The electronics they dumped -- mostly broken computer monitors and televisions -- they said, are still piled up with other junk in the yard, which was initially used as a staging area by EarthEcycle.And then we get a real headshot on just how illicit Nixon and EarthECycle were being.
"We would take the busted monitors and throw them out in the backyard," said Mr. Dawson, 27, who together with Mr. Ivey, 25,worked for EarthEcycle at locations in Homewood and Monroeville from early March to mid-May. (P-G 6/12/2009)
Both Mr. Dawson and Mr. Ivey, who said their job at EarthEcycle was to load the electronics on 53-foot containers, said that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection inspectors didn't know about the electronics that were dumped in the back of the Homewood facility.As we’ve discussed at length before, the fatal flaw in the whole scam was that Nixon promised the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, the Washington Area Humane Society, and the Humane Society of Westmoreland County he could recycle the electronics and somehow make a profit off the deal, which he would then use to make the charitable donations.
"They made us hide the broken monitors when the DEP came around," said Mr. Ivey. (P-G 6/12/2009)
But as has been pointed out several times, it costs money to properly recycle electronics, so the whole plan is screwed and shady to begin with, and if today’s whistle-blowers are to be believed, a simple trip to Homewood probably would have been evidence enough that the deal was a sham.
When Mr. Nixon partnered with the charitable organizations, which collected thousands of pounds of electronics for his operation, he promised to generate money for the charities by reselling the old electronics that were still usable.Like I said, I’m glad this story isn’t going away, and eventually we’re going to need to hear more from someone at the Humane Society. They have to answer for why they were so clueless about this. I suppose the promise of big money can cloud one’s vision, but this isn’t a kid filling up his Radio Flyer with old Coke bottles and getting a nickel for the lot.
What could not be salvaged, Mr. Nixon said, would be broken down and reprocessed by local companies and other smelters across the country.
But both Mr. Dawson, who lives in the North Hills, and Mr. Ivey, of Chartiers, said that what they did for EarthEcycle was not what Mr. Nixon promised the charities he would do with the electronics, much less recycle them.
"There was no testing [to check whether electronics were usable] going on, we didn't even have electricity in Homewood," Mr. Ivey said. Each container was packed with about 1,200 computer and TV monitors and CPUs, without packaging or wrapping the electronics, he added. (P-G 6/12/2009)
These are electronics, which are dangerous and harmful if improperly disposed of. I realize that the Humane Society was lied to, but by putting their name on the set-up, they lent their credibility to it. I donated old printers because the Humane Society was involved, and I believe they owe some sort of explanation.