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Landmark E-Waste Export Bill Introduced to Stop Global E-Waste Dumping
Environmentalists and Electronic Manufacturers Support Effort
WASHINGTON - September 30 - U.S. Representatives Gene Green and Mike Thompson late yesterday introduced new landmark legislation - the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2010 - to stop U.S. "recyclers" from dumping electronic waste on developing countries. The bill is supported by environmental groups as well as electronic manufacturers Apple, Dell, and Samsung, all of which already have policies that prohibit the export of e-waste to developing nations.
"Policymakers, environmentalists and manufacturers worked together to forge an e-waste bill that is good for people, the environment and business," said Kate Sinding, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "This diverse support and cooperation shows that Americans want an e-waste law that does the right thing while also being economically sound."
The bill addresses the horrific dumping and primitive recycling operations which have the subject of recent media exposés, and a scathing report by the U.S. Governmental Accountability Office (GAO).
"This e-waste export bill will stem the tide of the toxic techno-trash sent from the U.S. to developing countries around the world," said Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, a national environmental coalition which promotes responsible recycling of e-waste. "Right now, consumers can't tell whether their local recycler will actually recycle their old products or dump them on the developing countries - and this bill will solve that problem, as well as create new recycling jobs here in the U.S."
"Dell bans the export of e-waste to developing countries as part of our global disposition policy, and the ever-growing e-waste challenge makes it necessary for all recyclers to do the same," said Mark Newton, director of sustainable business at Dell. "The introduction of this bill is a great first step in giving consumers confidence that the systems they drop off for recycling will be handled responsibly."
The bill adds a new section to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) laws establishing a new category of "restricted electronic waste" which cannot be exported from the U.S. to developing nations. Non-hazardous or tested and working electronic products or parts are not restricted. Other exemptions from the restrictions are:
- products under warranty being returned to the manufacturing facility that made them;
- products or parts being recalled; and
- crushed cathode ray tube (CRT) glass cullet that is cleaned and fully prepared as feedstock into CRT glass manufacturing facilities