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Posted May 2nd, 2011

When You Don’t Do It The Right Way

The company that held a free recycling program collecting old computers and other electronics to benefit the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society in March is facing accusations that it exported the materials to Hong Kong and South Africa where they could end up in toxic dumping grounds.

Basel Action Network, a Seattle-based environmental watchdog yesterday released a report claiming that EarthEcycle LLC, is not disposing and reusing the electronic material like it claimed it would.

“Sadly, once again the American public appears to have been duped by a fake recycler and become the unwitting accomplice in what is really an international crime,” said Sarah Westervelt, director of the BAN e-Stewardship program.

The environmental group reportedly tracked EarthEcycle shipments from its facility in Monroeville to Hong Kong and South Africa. The group claims that it contacted officials in both countries to stop the shipments.

But Jeff Nixon, president of the Tulsa-based company, said the allegations are false and that they are the result of his competitors who charge considerably more money to dispose of electronic materials. Furthermore, Mr. Nixon, who said his company charges minimal — if any — fees, said he is the one who recalled the shipment to Hong Kong because he suspected the Chinese vendor’s disposal practices.

Meanwhile, Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania Humane Society officials are distancing themselves from Mr. Nixon’s operations because of the allegations.

Lee Nessler, executive director Humane Society said she “had no reason” not to believe that Mr. Nixon would properly dispose or resell the more that 1 million pounds of waste EarthEcycle collected.

Kevin Evanto, a spokesman for county Executive Dan Onorato, said the county only partnered with the Humane Society with the understanding that the animal shelter had vetted EarthEcycle’s practices.

“The Humane Society is the one that entered the contract [with EarthEcycle]. We just gave them space in our parks [to use as collection sites],” said Mr. Evanto.

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