About these bills - and why their passage is important to America

These bills promote American jobs and trade

 

  1. The Responsible Electronics Recycling Act, by promoting fair and responsible trade, will encourage investment in new American recycling capacity.
  2. Responsibly recycling electronics in America creates seven jobs for every one involved in the broker/exporter trade—a potential for tens of thousands of new, good-paying jobs created in every region of the country.
  3. Fair trade in tested, working electronics and recycled commodities is not restricted. Net exports will increase with the higher prices garnered for properly separated commodities sold to global markets.
  4. Broker/exporters can easily adapt their existing business models to participate in a domestic recycling market as material collectors and aggregators--with limited displacement of existing employment.

 

Problems with the current status of electronics recycling

  • Many U.S. companies and foreign-based organizations calling themselves electronics recyclers perform little or no recycling, but are simply materials collectors and brokers to overseas scrap buyers. Many of these fraudulently represent themselves as domestic recyclers to the marketplace.
  • A majority of large U.S. businesses, and many consumers, when soliciting electronics recycling services, ask for "no export" of e-waste to developing countries. Significant demand exists today for responsible American electronics recycling, though that's not necessarily what the public gets right now.
  • Investors in domestic recycling are at a financial disadvantage to broker/exporters whose overseas recyclers operate with virtually no infrastructure, and few restrictions regarding worker safety and environmental pollution. Consequently, investment in American recycling capacity is constrained, lagging far behind market demand.
  • According to the EPA, the United States generated more than 3.1 million tons of ewaste in 2009. Vast amounts of strategic commodities contained in scrap electronics, including rare earths, gold, copper, and aluminum, are sold at a deep discount to the broker/exporters only to be processed overseas for sale to global markets at full value—a loss of export revenue and jobs.
  • Broker/exporters often claim to provide data erasure without the capabilities to reliably do so. The export of unsanitized data bearing technology to developing countries is a persistent source of data breaches, identity theft, and cyber crime.