U.S. e-waste bill to boost recycling and ban exports

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has called for swift passage of legislation to promote the domestic recycling of electronic toxic waste.

According to the Senator, his bill is aimed at reducing the exportation of electronic waste, or e-waste, to developing countries.

Under the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2011 the export of toxic electronic waste to developing countries would be stamped out.

According to the Washington Post, the federal government is considering new rules on the disposal of old computers, monitors, and other electronic waste that would expand business for domestic recyclers that recycle and refurbished electronic equipment to manufacture new products and to reduce landfill waste.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in 2009 alone, the U.S. generated over 3.1 million tons (2.8 million tonnes) of e-waste.

In a recent statement Brown claims that much of the e-waste collected in the U.S. for alleged ‘recycling’ or ‘reuse’ is actually exported to developing nations - where some enterprises re-package the electronics and sell them back to the U.S. - increasing the prevalence of counterfeit electronics.

Furthermore, Brown also points out that the Government Accountability Office recently determined that most of these receiving countries lack the capacity to safely recycle and dispose of electronic waste which often ends up in landfills where the local populations face hazardous toxic materials.

“By using U.S. companies instead of exporting e-waste, the Administration would foster domestic innovation and allow Ohio businesses to create good-paying, clean energy jobs,” explains Brown.

“This bill is common sense. My legislation would spur economic development, lessen environmental threats to public health, and reduce the number of counterfeit electronics in the U.S.,” he adds

Brown’s bill is supported by: Hewlett Packard, Dell, Apple, Samsung, Best Buy, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, and 29 recyclers representing 74 recycling operations in 34 states.

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