Federal – Proposed

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:

  1. Improper export and handling of e-waste by:
    1. amending Subtitle C of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C 6921) to allow for e-waste
    2. 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.
    3. Defining covered electronic equipment (CEE).  Some general categories include:
      1. General computers (desktops, laptops, servers)
      2. TVs and Monitors
      3. Computer accessories and peripherals (keyboards, mice, webcams, speakers, etc.)
      4. Printers, scanners, fax machines and copiers
      5. Consumer electronics (VCRs, DVD players, game systems, cable boxes, digital cameras and music devices, gps devices, etc)
    4. Allowing export of items intended for reuse.  These items MUST be:
      1. Tested prior to shipping
      2. Determined working for their intended purpose
      3. Packaged properly so as not to be damaged during shipping (and not being received in working condition upon arrival).
  2. Establish the Rare Earth Materials Recycling Research Initiative in order to:
    1. Assist and coordinate the development of research in the recycling of rare earth materials found in e-waste
    1. Research:
      1. Removal, separation and recycling of rare earth materials from e-waste
      2. Better product designs for easier disassembly and recycling
      3. 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