Currently, there is no federal legislation which supports the handling and export of electronic waste (e-waste). However, on June 22, 2011, a bi-partisan group from both the House and Senate sponsored a bill to address the issue. The bill, H.R. 2791, is known as the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act.
The bill addresses two issues:
- Improper export and handling of e-waste by:
- amending Subtitle C of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C 6921) to allow for e-waste
- Restricting the export of e-waste to developing countries. These countries are defined as not being members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development or European Union.
- Defining covered electronic equipment (CEE). Some general categories include:
- General computers (desktops, laptops, servers)
- TVs and Monitors
- Computer accessories and peripherals (keyboards, mice, webcams, speakers, etc.)
- Printers, scanners, fax machines and copiers
- Consumer electronics (VCRs, DVD players, game systems, cable boxes, digital cameras and music devices, gps devices, etc)
- Allowing export of items intended for reuse. These items MUST be:
- Tested prior to shipping
- Determined working for their intended purpose
- Packaged properly so as not to be damaged during shipping (and not being received in working condition upon arrival).
- Establish the Rare Earth Materials Recycling Research Initiative in order to:
- Assist and coordinate the development of research in the recycling of rare earth materials found in e-waste
- Removal, separation and recycling of rare earth materials from e-waste
- Better product designs for easier disassembly and recycling
- Improved methods for collection, logistics and reverse supply chain related to recycling e-waste
For a good summary on the bill and links to other resources, go to http://www.electronicstakeback.com/promote-good-laws/federal-legislation/
To track the legislation through Congress, go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2791