E-waste export ban introduced

A bill banning the export of electronic waste to developing nations was introduced last week in Congress by Environment and Hazardous Materials subcommittee chairman Gene Green (D-Texas), and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), a member of the Congressional E-waste Working Group.

The H.RES.1395 resolution also calls for the U.S. to join other developed nations to ban such trade.

“Many Americans are unaware that discarded electronics contain lead, mercury, and other toxics and end up being salvaged under inhumane conditions in the developing world,” said Gene. “I am encouraged by the efforts to improve e-waste recycling in the U.S., but progress is an illusion when ‘recycling’ means exporting e-waste to be picked over by scavengers under hazardous conditions.”

Green said the EPA regulates exports of hazardous waste but it imposes little or no regulation on e-waste. The EPA reported that around 2.63 billion tons of e-waste were discarded in the United States in 2005.

2 Responses to E-waste export ban introduced

  1. Devorah 5 August, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    This resolution is a great first step, and it’s encouraging that it’s been introduced in Congress. Our current practices are inhumane and destructive, and it’s important for the federal government to start acting against it. Yet this whole problem could be easily avoided by reducing the amount of e-waste we have in the first place. Buying used network hardware from places like UsedCisco.com has become a safe option, due to the 1-3 year warranty that they offer. Buying used instead of new isn’t only a good way to save money; it’s also the best way to take care of our e-waste problem- stopping it where it starts, with wasteful purchases.

  2. IT-Green Recycling 15 October, 2008 at 4:34 pm #

    In the UK, we’re bound by the OECD agreement, which prevents the export of e-waste. The strange thing is that a lot of e-waste is classified as hazardous waste- hence can’t be exported anyway. I’m suprised the US hasn’t classified CRTs, laptops etc as hazardous waste. Similarly, no-one seems to have thought about what happens to working equipment when it’s exported to developing countries and reaches the end of it’s working life. Who recycles it then? Or is it a case of the kids our old kit educated are then killed recycling it in poor conditions?



Leave a Reply