Congress Takes Aim on Fraudulent Electronic “Recyclers”

Landmark legislation was introduced in Congress last week to stop U.S. companies posing as electronic “recyclers” from dumping hazardous e-waste materials from the United States in developing countries. Today, most e-waste – as much as 50-80% of the e-waste that companies claim they are “recycling” — is actually dumped in developing countries like China, Nigeria, Ghana, India, Pakistan and Vietnam, where poor residents pick through the toxic waste for scrap.

The proposed legislation, the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2010 (HR 6252), would protect people and the environment from this hazardous practice, create new recycling and refurbishment jobs here in the United States, and force businesses to live up to their promises. The bill allows for some exceptions, for example, products can be exported if they can be re-used, or if they are under warranty or are subject to recalls. Violators can be subject to criminal penalties, and will be publicized on a public registry of violators, so we can all steer clear of those companies still abusing the term “recycling”.

The bill has bi-partisan support, as well as the support of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, (of which CEH is a member), other environmental groups as well as a number of electronic manufacturers (including Apple and Dell) who have current policies that prohibit the export of e-waste to developing nations.

The flow of e-waste to developing countries has been going on for far too long and this legislation will stop the toxic dumping.

 Please take a minute to urge your Representative to support HR 6252 (or thank your Rep. if she or he is already a co-sponsor), using the Electronic TakeBack’s online tool.  It only takes a minute, and it makes a big difference!