Counterfeit Electronics: The Threat to Military Preparedness and Homeland Security
PROBLEM: Counterfeit electronic components, primarily from China, are threatening America’s homeland security and military preparedness as well as critical infrastructure such as telecommunications, power and transportation. Counterfeiters take their essential raw materials from e-waste exported from the United States and other countries, according to a 2012 study by the U.S. Armed Services Committee.

While the federal government and defense industries are working to improve prevention and detection measures, experts say we must also choke off the counterfeiters’ feedstock: e-waste exports. The Coalition for American Electronics Recyclers is calling on Congress to enact responsible electronics recycling policies that would accomplish this by requiring domestic recycling of untested, nonworking e-waste.
The Primitive Process of Converting E-Waste to Counterfeits
Advanced technologies critical to protecting our security require sensitive electronic components manufactured in ultra-clean environments because even a small flake of dandruff can ruin a microchip. In reality, counterfeit parts are salvaged from e-waste with primitive practices, such as heating circuit boards over an open fire so components are easier to remove. Obviously, microchips handled in this way will be prone to failure — yet finished counterfeits look brand new even to a trained eye.

Get more details from our Position Paper
Additional Benefits of Responsible Electronics Recycling Policy
JOBS. Responsible domestic recycling will create over 42,000 new jobs and nearly a billion dollars in annual payroll, based on a study conducted by DSM Environmental Services.
INVESTMENT. Sensible export reforms will enable American electronics recyclers to attract investment, expand capacity and create jobs.
HIGH-VALUE EXPORTS. Trade in tested, working electronics and commodity-grade material will remain unrestricted and is expected to grow. Only exports of untested, non-working equipment need to be restricted to address counterfeit electronics.
DATA SECURITY. Responsible recycling will close security gaps that have led to data breaches, identity theft, and cyber crime as data thieves harvest sensitive information from e-waste.
RARE EARTHS. CAER supports establishing a research program to study recovery of these elements and other critical metals — materials critical to defense and other technologies — from electronic scrap.
SUSTAINABILITY. Responsible electronics recycling policy will promote development of a domestic industry with the capacity and resources
to deliver the services American businesses need to achieve sustainability goals that are increasingly important to their bottom lines.


How you can get involved


No matter who you are, we encourage you to get involved in any number of ways:


  1. If you are from an American electronics recycling business that supports our position, we'd love for you to join us. 
    • Learn more about the facts and our position on these bills by reading our FAQ.
    • Sign up as a member to lend your support to our cause (no monetary support is necessary);
    • Write to your elected officials in Congress and urge them to support these bills;  
    • Visit with your Members of Congress or join us on future fly-ins to Washington, DC; and,
    • Host a tour of your responsible American electronics recycling facility to your elected officials to help educate them on this issue.
  2. If you are from another constituent group and want to show your support for this legislation, we also want you to get involved:
    • Learn more about the facts by reviewing this web site- ask us questions if you want;
    • Write or visit with your elected officials to take action; and,
    • Show your support for responsible American electronics recyclers by using us for your recycling needs.