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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E-waste’s Harmful Effects on African Laborers

For developing countries in areas such as West Africa, local workers often view e-waste processing as a lifeline. It’s a means to secure a meager amount of income to help keep food on the table. Often children and the elderly are used to abstract precious metals from discarded mobile phones, computers, monitors, wires and other electronic waste.  However, most are unaware of the harmful effects that improper e-waste handling has on their health.

Unfortunately, these countries do not have the resources necessary to safely dispose of e-waste so the lives of these laborers are being put at risk. Primitive methods like burning or washing with hydrochloric acid are used in these regions to dismantle e-waste to recover precious metals. Research shows that these methods are extremely harmful to human health and toxic to the environment.

E-waste contains highly toxic concentrations of chemicals and heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. When these toxins accumulate in our food chain through soil and groundwater, the effects can be deadly.

The problem is worsened by developed nations that regularly export their toxic e-waste by the tons to these developing countries who are not equipped or trained to properly handle the toxic materials. Currently, there is no legislation in the U.S. that bans such practices, but the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act has been reintroduced into Congress.

This makes it imperative to choose an e-Stewards certified electronics recyclers when disposing old cell phones and other end-of-life electronic devices. e-Stewards recyclers and their downstream vendors adhere to the most stringent global standards for worker safety and environmental protection. E-Stewards certified recyclers are regularly audited to ensure no e-waste is sent to landfills or exported to developing countries. The certification also prohibits the use of slave, coerced or prison labor in the processing e-waste.

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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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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.

Businesses Request a Quote Button