DENVER (CBS4) – A federal trial has begun in Denver for a recycling company in Englewood after an investigation by “60 Minutes” uncovered junked electronics found in a wasteland in China.
Colorado residents gave the electronic items to Executive Recycling thinking they would be safely recycled. The government says shipping invoices and the “60 Minutes” investigative report clearly show the violations, while the defense says Executive Recycling did what it set out to do — dispose of electronic waste in a responsible way in the U.S.
A 2008 “60 Minutes” edition followed a shipping container full of electronic waste from Englewood to Hong Kong. The dangerous hazardous waste included old computer monitors containing CRTs, or cathode ray tubes, made of toxic lead. The company claimed it knew nothing of the illegal shipments, but was later indicted by a grand jury.
Executive Recycling touted itself as a green company that would responsibly recycle, or repurpose old computers, cellphones and other electronic components within the U.S.
The company and its former executives, Brandon Richter and Tor Olson now face charges of mail and wire fraud and exporting hazardous waste.
On Monday, the first day in front of the jury, the government claimed that Executive Recycling “lied to customers” and “sold the waste overseas for profit.”
The defense says Executive Recycling provided its customers with the service they were promised and never sent waste, like non-working monitors, overseas.
The indictment claims the defendants made $1.8 million in illegal activity and shipped more than 100,000 CRTs to foreign countries, including China.
The government says it plans to call other witnesses from The Children’s Hospital, Jefferson County Schools and El Paso County; all entities that used the services Executive Recycling offered.