Executive Recycling and its leadership were sentenced for their role in exporting e-waste overseas to developing countries. This is the first time anyone has been convicted for such a crime in the U.S.

The corporation was sentenced to pay a $4,500,000 fine and serve three years on probation.

Brandon Richter was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years on supervised release, in addition to a $7,500 fine and $70,144 in restitution.

Tor Olson, the former vice president of operations for the corporation, was sentenced to 14 months in prison with a $5,000 fine and ordered to pay more than $15,000 in restitution. Olson is currently free on bond pending appeal.

The prosecution argued that the company devised a scheme to defraud Colorado businesses and government entities. They deceived their customers by stating their electronics were being recycled responsibly and domestically within the United States. Prosecution alleged the company exported 300 containers between 2005 and 2008 to developing countries, containing a total of 100,000 CRTs.

Olson and CEO Brandon Ritcher were indicted in 2011 after their company become the centerpiece of the award winning 60 Minutes episode, The Electronic Wasteland, that used research from BAN to show 20 containers filled with e-waste leaving Executive's facility going to China and other developing countries.

BAN Executive Director, Jim Puckett, stated,  “Sadly, the two Denver executives that made a fortune exploiting the environment and workers health in developing countries, represent just a sample of the US toxic e-waste flood flowing offshore. There are many hundreds of similar ‘charlatan recyclers’ operating in every US city every day – all of them pretending to protect the environment while simply filling up sea-going containers of your old TVs, printers, phones and computers.

e-Stewards Certification

To provide consumers with an easy way to identify responsible recyclers, BAN created the e-Stewards® Certification program. e-Stewards recyclers and refurbishers refuse to export e-waste because they are conscious of the catastrophic harm to the environment and heath of locals that is can cause. They are audited yearly to demonstrate compliance to the rigorous e-Stewards Standard. e-Stewards recyclers This international treaty governing waste trade has been adopted by over 170 countries.

Electronic consumers should only make use of certified e-Stewards recyclers and not be deceived by the green promises of other certifications or claims purporting recycling responsibility.

Responsible Electronics Recycling Act

BAN is calling for support for the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA); which will prohibit the unsustainable export of toxic e-waste. According to BAN, without clear laws, prosecution is difficult. In Executive Recycling’s trial, prosecutors had to prove fraud because current environmental trade rules are rampant with loopholes. The RERA would rectify that and is already supported by many American recyclers, manufactures and retailers.

Consumers wishing to do the right thing with their e-waste, should do two simple things: a) only use e-Stewards certified recyclers or refurbishers; b) contact your congressman to support the RERA.

Sooner or later everybody has e-waste,” said Puckett. “So everybody has the responsibility and opportunity to ensure that the recyclers they use are certified to the highest levels of integrity and environmental protection. At the same time, we can ask our representatives to support laws that ensure that the costs of toxic products are internalized by American businesses, and not simply dumped on foreign shores.

Read the official BAN press release here.


e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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