Federal Legislation

Federal Legislation and Policy on E-Waste

Congressional bill to stop the global dumping of e-waste


E-waste dumping in Ghana. Photo by Basel Action Network

On July 24, 2013 Congress introduced HR 2791, the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2013 (RERA) with bipartisan support. RERA would make it illegal to send toxic e-waste from the U.S. to developing nations. The Senate introduced the same legislation (S 2090)  on March 6, 2014.

Current co-sponsors of the House bill:
Republicans (15):

  • Mike Coffman, CO
  • Mike McCaul, TX
  • Steve Stivers, OH
  • Susan Brooks, IN
  • Dan Benishek, MI
  • Richard Nugent, FL
  • Blake Farenthold, TX
  • Mark Amodei, NV
  • Bill Shuster, PA
  • Bill Huizenga, MI
  • Christopher Gibson, NY
  • Richard Hudson, NC
  • Jeff Denham, CA
  • Tim Murphy, PA
  • Richard Hanna, NY
  • Don Young, AK
  • Mike Rogers, MI

Democrats (5):

  • Gene Green, TX (Bill sponsor)
  • Mike Thompson, CA
  • Louise Slaughter, NY
  • C.A. Ruppersberger, MD
  • Frederica Wilson, FL

The bill is supported by environmental groups as well as electronic manufacturers (Dell, HP, Samsung, Apple, and Best Buy), all of which already have policies that prohibit the export of e-waste to developing nations. It is also supported by a new and growing business coalition, called the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER).  This coalition now includes over 100 companies operating over 218 facilities in 34 states. Its membership includes Waste Management, Sims Recycling Solutions (the largest electronics recycler in the world), Covanta, and Alcoa). It’s a common practice for “recyclers” to export electronic products from the U.S. to developing countries, where the toxics inside cause great harm. Chips from obsolete electronics sent to China have become a primary source for counterfeiters, who make cosmetic changes then sell them as “military grade” into the U.S. defense industry supply chain, creating potential national security problems and failure risks. This bill restricts the export of electronics containing certain toxic chemicals to developing countries. It would still allow exports of tested and working parts and products, as well as products or components under warranty, exported by the manufacturers for warranty repairs, and products subject to recalls.

Congressional Work on a National Takeback and Recycling Program.

There is currently no federal legislation pending to establish a federal takeback program. Click here to learn more about this issue.

Information on federal administrative policies on e-waste is here.