A new presidential Executive Order on US federal sustainability efforts could mean that a tool that allows purchasers to identify electronics products that meet standards on hazardous substances is abandoned by the federal government, two NGOs claim.
The news comes just after one Colorado firm was ordered to pay over $4 million in fines, with two executives sent to prison, for a scheme to illegally dispose of and export electronic waste to China and other foreign countries.
While the report doesn’t answer many of the relevant questions about e-waste exports, it does contain important acknowledgments supporting the need for federal legislation, like the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act introduced in the 112th Congress
Feb 5, 2013: Federal legislation that would restrict exports of electronic waste from the U.S. to developing countries could create as many as 42,000 direct and indirect new jobs with a total payroll of more than $1 billion, according to a new study commissioned by the Coalition For American Electronics Recycling (CAER).
March 21, 2012. “If you auction off used electronics, you are basically saying you don’t care what happens to it. It just goes to the highest bidder, end of story.”
Dec 19, 2011. USA Today: Seventeen states have banned electronic waste from landfills, requiring it to be recycled so its toxic materials don’t leach into groundwater. Seven of these bans took effect this year, and two more will take effect soon: Illinois in January 2012 and Pennsylvania in January 2013.
We are very disappointed that the Task Force missed the opportunity handed to them by President Obama’s mandate to truly lead by example and ensure that all federal agencies do the right thing and not export obsolete used electronic equipment unless it is fully functional.”
Politico, July 13, 2011: “There are a number of efforts to divert e-waste out of the trash and into the hands of recyclers, and states are really leading that charge — but what good is all the effort if it’s just going to be dumped overseas?”
Miller-McCune, July 1, 2011. “As laptops, flat screens and smart phones grow ever more ubiquitous, so does the problematic trash they ultimately become.”
San Jose Mercury News, June 24, 2011. Rob D’Arcy, who runs the county’s household hazardous waste program, called the ordinance “visionary” and applauded the county for being the first government to approve a law regarding e-waste exports.