Closed Cincinnati firm leaves behind major CRT stockpile
By Bobby Elliott and Dan Leif, E-Scrap News
March 7, 2014
E-scrap processor 2TRG has left behind significant tonnages of CRT glass as its former Cincinnati facility, several sources, including the Ohio EPA, have informed E-Scrap News.
After closing the doors to its 11093 Kenwood Road facility in Cincinnati last year, 2TRG, a former R2- and e-Stewards-certified processor, abandoned "tons upon tons of [CRT] glass" in Gaylord boxes, Global Environmental Services (GES) president Kenny Gravitt told E-Scrap News. Apparently unable to pay for downstream processing, 2TRG left at least 1,500 tons of the glass at the facility, Gravitt said.
Another processor who also toured the facility estimated there were upwards of 3,000 tons of intact and crushed CRT glass on-site.
While declining to confirm either estimate, the Ohio EPA did verify the existence of the glass at the former 2TRG facility. "Ohio EPA staff has visited the site," Dina Pierce, the state agency's media coordinator, told E-Scrap News. "Staff saw a large number of Gaylord boxes onsite containing various computer parts (not just CRT glass)."
State rules, according to Pierce and the Ohio EPA, hold both "the owner and operator responsible for appropriate management of CRT glass." With 2TRG no longer in business, the "property owner's representative told our inspectors he intends to take bids for a contract to remove the stockpiled computer materials, including the CRT glass," Pierce said.
Three processors, including GES, told E-Scrap News they had each entered a bid to take over the glass. One processor estimated a cleanup cost of roughly $600,000, while another suggested costs could easily exceed $1 million.
Attempts to contact the property owner and property manager were unsuccessful. Repeated attempts to reach former 2TRG executives, including CFO and founder Carol Weinstein, were unsuccessful.
Pierce told E-Scrap News the Ohio EPA "will monitor and follow up as needed to make sure any hazardous wastes at the site are properly managed and removed."
A number of 2TRG's assets were acquired in December of 2013 by the publicly traded firm E-Waste Systems (EWSI). An EWSI executive told E-Scrap News the acquisition excluded "anything that would have been a liability" and sources indicated 2TRG's CRT glass did not change hands in the deal.
While an increasing number of processors have indicated challenges moving CRTs downstream, 2TRG's alleged misconduct could represent one of the most surprising instances of a trusted and lauded firm unable to figure out how to address CRT management costs. The company had facilities in Geneva, New York and Georgetown, Kentucky in addition to the Cincinnati location.
As reported in this publication, a handful of other e-scrap processors, including some in Arizona, Colorado and Maryland, have also left piles of CRTs in warehouses. However, in comparison with 2TRG, some of those firms were small, underfunded operations. 2TRG was a more sizable industry member. For instance, the firm was previously a member of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., and the Cincinnati plant was certified under the industry's two hallmark standards, e-Stewards and R2.
Executives at 2TRG have previously stated the firm had annual revenues of more than $5 million annually and its three plants had a total footprint of more than 200,000 square feet.