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Englewood recycler fights back against 60 Minutes report

Executive Recycling CEO Brandon Richter as seen on 60 Minutes.
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"Damning 60 Minutes Report Focuses on Denver-area Recycler," a blog published yesterday, offers a look at "The Wasteland," an investigation overseen by CBS correspondent Scott Pelley into the illegal dumping of American e-waste. The de facto villain of the piece was Executive Recycling, an Englewood-based firm that touts its environmentally sensitive approach to disposing of old computers, cell phones and so on. In the piece, Brandon Richter, Executive Recycling's CEO, is cornered on camera -- but instead of shoving the camera operator or storming off, hands over his face, he proclaims his firm's innocence and lectures Pelley about getting the facts right.

Since the report's airing, Richter has continued this bold strategy in the local media. Last night, Channel 4 ran an extended package in which Richter and company disputed 60 Minutes' conclusions, and this morning, the Rocky Mountain News offered Richter a similar forum via an article headlined "CBS Exposé on Englewood Firm Termed 'Absolutely Unfair.'" Moreover, Executive Recycling has posted a lengthy response to the Pelley offering on its website; the document claims that the company "appears now to be the victim of others who have obtained electronic and computer products from our company and then acted irresponsibly." Read the entire defense below. -- Michael Roberts

E.R. Response to 60 Minutes Report November 2008

Executive Recycling is a respected and law abiding business that recycles computers and electronic parts in a responsible and lawful way. Our company has reviewed the recent report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the 60 Minutes story on E-Waste and we agree on the dangers of unregulated disposal of electronic and computer waste.

Executive Recycling is well aware of every applicable environmental and export standard and has complied throughout its history with such laws, rules and regulations. Our company takes in tons of computer and electronic products and disposes of them responsibly. Many such items are refurbished and resold. Executive Recycling would not sell anything to any purchaser if it had knowledge that said buyer planned to break the law. However, no business can be responsible for the subsequent improper actions of others who lawfully purchase products from them and hide their intentions to engage in misconduct.

Sadly, Executive Recycling appears now to be the victim of others who have obtained electronic and computer products from our company and then acted irresponsibly. These buyers apparently sought to hide their own misconduct by leaving the impression that their shipment was the responsibility of our company. We have discovered that forged documents (provided by the port authorities) were used to improperly shift blame to us when ER sold the tested working units to a Canadian wholesale buyer. We are currently seeking legal actions against this one wholesale buyer in regards to this report.

Executive Recycling worked for the past two months with 60 Minutes regarding this investigation and provided 5 container numbers and bill of ladens for one Basel Action Network member who has signed the pledge and which states on their website "we will not engage in the exporting or dumping of e-waste, or in the use of prison labor in our recycling processes" - Denver Based Company.

Executive Recycling urges the Environmental Protection Agency and the government of the United States and other civilized societies to prepare and enact further laws and regulations to make sure that no individuals or environments are damaged through irresponsible disposal of computer or electronic products. Executive Recycling has cooperated with the Environmental Protection Agency in the past and will continue to do so in an effort to see that humans and the environment are protected.

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