Adoption of E-Waste Legislation in the U.S. Declines in 2013

E-waste related bills accounted for more than 10 percent of all U.S. recycling and solid waste bills introduced in 2013; however, this year marks the first time in 10 years that no major state legislation surrounding e-waste was passed, according to Resource Recycling.

From 2003 to 2011, at least one state each year adopted comprehensive legislation surrounding e-waste recycling. A total of 26 states have created statewide e-waste programs since 2003. Click here to view a map of the states that have passed zero landfill related to specific technologies.

The only e-waste bills that passed in 2013 were incremental updates to existing programs. In 2012, Colorado passed a bill to ban electronics from entering landfills and directed state agencies to recycle all electronics. This legislation took effect in 2013, but comparable legislation was not passed this year.

E-Waste Legislation Passed in 2013

  • Assembly Bill 1459 was passed in New Jersey, which amends its electronics recycling law to waive manufacturing fees if less than 100 televisions are sold annually. Also, all manufacturers are permitted to roll over up to 25 percent of their TV collection obligation to the next program year.
  • Washington updated its e-waste program to include reporting requirements through House Bill 1498. The state also passed Senate Bill 5699, which exempts electronics licensors from participating in its stewardship program.
  • Mississippi does not have an e-waste program, but it did pass Senate Bill 2754, requiring the state Department of Environmental Quality to maintain a directory of R2 and e-Stewards certified recyclers in the state and requiring state agencies to use these certified recyclers to manage their e-waste.

There is currently no federal legislation in the U.S. that mandates the recycling of e-waste. Environmental responsibility is currently left in the hands of state governments to ban the disposal of e-waste into landfills. However, many e-waste bills are being left in limbo until after the New Year because state legislatures are now in recess or adjourned.

The EPA estimates that 70 to 80 percent of electronics recycling companies export toxic e-waste overseas for profit. Much of the e-waste exported ends up in landfills and poisons the environment and people.

To ensure e-waste is disposed of in a responsible manner, it is recommended that businesses and consumers recycle their used mobile devices and other e-waste with an e-Stewards electronics recycler. e-Stewards certified recyclers adhere to the highest global standards for reuse and recycling of electronic equipment and environmental protection. Learn more at http://www.e-Stewards.org.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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Everything you need to know about the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA)

The Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA) was reintroduced into Congress on July 24 with bipartisan support. The legislation seeks to prohibit the exportation of untested and nonfunctional electronics to developing nations where improper disposal may create environmental, health or national security risks.

Restrictions on e-waste exports could create up to 42,000 new jobs with a total payroll of more than $1 billion, according to a study by the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling. The U.S. International Trade Committee also reported that the RERA would help increase U.S. exports and create jobs.

Electronic waste like cell phones, computers and TVs are now the fastest growing waste stream in the U.S, with more than 3.4 million tons being generated each year according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Unfortunately, it is common practice for “recyclers” like Executive Recycling to export electronics to developing countries. The Government Accountability Office reported that many developing nations do not have the resources to safely recycle and dispose of used electronics. Improper recycling can have catastrophic effects on the environment and the health of residents.

If enacted, the RERA would create a new section in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that prohibits the export of restricted electronic waste from the U.S. to countries that are not members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development or the European Union. Restricted electronic equipment is defined as those that are not fully functional, have not been tested or contain toxic materials at levels greater than those specified as non-hazardous by the EPA. The legislation will allow the exportation of:

  • Tested and working parts and devices for reuse
  • Processed and cleaned CRT glass being exported to a CRT glass manufacturing plant, in countries that allow it
  • Warranty repairs
  • Product recalls
  • Products containing toxins below the hazardous level

Exporting e-waste to places like China can also create national security risks. Chips from exported electronics have become a primary resource for counterfeiters, who sell them as “military grade” into the U.S. defense supply chain, according to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition.

RERA also seeks to establish a research program at the Department of Energy to study the recycling and recovery of rare Earth metals from electronics. This will help to ensure the proper collection and recycling of precious metals.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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BAN and e-Cycle Urge Use of e-Stewards Recyclers After e-Waste Executive is Sent to Prison for Exportation of Hazardous Waste

Executive Recycling and its leadership were sentenced for their role in exporting e-waste overseas to developing countries. This is the first time anyone has been convicted for such a crime in the U.S.

The corporation was sentenced to pay a $4,500,000 fine and serve three years on probation.

Brandon Richter was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years on supervised release, in addition to a $7,500 fine and $70,144 in restitution.

Tor Olson, the former vice president of operations for the corporation, was sentenced to 14 months in prison with a $5,000 fine and ordered to pay more than $15,000 in restitution. Olson is currently free on bond pending appeal.

The prosecution argued that the company devised a scheme to defraud Colorado businesses and government entities. They deceived their customers by stating their electronics were being recycled responsibly and domestically within the United States. Prosecution alleged the company exported 300 containers between 2005 and 2008 to developing countries, containing a total of 100,000 CRTs.

Olson and CEO Brandon Ritcher were indicted in 2011 after their company become the centerpiece of the award winning 60 Minutes episode, The Electronic Wasteland, that used research from BAN to show 20 containers filled with e-waste leaving Executive’s facility going to China and other developing countries.

BAN Executive Director, Jim Puckett, stated,  “Sadly, the two Denver executives that made a fortune exploiting the environment and workers health in developing countries, represent just a sample of the US toxic e-waste flood flowing offshore. There are many hundreds of similar ‘charlatan recyclers’ operating in every US city every day – all of them pretending to protect the environment while simply filling up sea-going containers of your old TVs, printers, phones and computers.

e-Stewards Certification

To provide consumers with an easy way to identify responsible recyclers, BAN created the e-Stewards® Certification program. e-Stewards recyclers and refurbishers refuse to export e-waste because they are conscious of the catastrophic harm to the environment and heath of locals that is can cause. They are audited yearly to demonstrate compliance to the rigorous e-Stewards Standard. e-Stewards recyclers This international treaty governing waste trade has been adopted by over 170 countries.

Electronic consumers should only make use of certified e-Stewards recyclers and not be deceived by the green promises of other certifications or claims purporting recycling responsibility.

Responsible Electronics Recycling Act

BAN is calling for support for the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA); which will prohibit the unsustainable export of toxic e-waste. According to BAN, without clear laws, prosecution is difficult. In Executive Recycling’s trial, prosecutors had to prove fraud because current environmental trade rules are rampant with loopholes. The RERA would rectify that and is already supported by many American recyclers, manufactures and retailers.

Consumers wishing to do the right thing with their e-waste, should do two simple things: a) only use e-Stewards certified recyclers or refurbishers; b) contact your congressman to support the RERA.

Sooner or later everybody has e-waste,” said Puckett. “So everybody has the responsibility and opportunity to ensure that the recyclers they use are certified to the highest levels of integrity and environmental protection. At the same time, we can ask our representatives to support laws that ensure that the costs of toxic products are internalized by American businesses, and not simply dumped on foreign shores.

Read the official BAN press release here.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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