Metal recycler faces criminal complaints

A metal recycling company operating in Hanford and Visalia may face criminal charges for violating state hazardous waste disposal laws.

The district attorneys in Tulare and Kings counties filed criminal complaints against Jeffrey Prins, the owner of The Recycle Depot, Inc., alleging that he failed to remove designated materials that require special handing from major appliances before they were disassembled and disposed of.

The California Hazardous Waste Control Law lays out strict guidelines on the disposal of such materials, which may include mercury found in switches or refrigerants, used oil contained in large appliances or hydro-chlorofluorocarbons and other non-CFC replacement refrigerants.

The criminal enforcement action resulted from the California Department of Toxic Substance Control's Metal Recycling Enforcement Initiative that began in the fall of 2012.

The initiative focuses on inspection and enforcement activities on metal recycling facilities and the threats they pose to surrounding communities.

The department's Office of Criminal Investigations and Enforcement and Emergency Responde Division have jointly conducted more than 14 investigations since the start of the initiative.

The Recycle Depot, Inc. operates one recycling facility at 8461 Goshen Ave. in Visalia and two facilities at 866 E. Fifth St. and 10716 Eight Ave. in Hanford.