Federal legislation that would restrict exports of electronic waste from the U.S. to developing countrie 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).
“This study shows that if Congress takes action to make sure e-waste goes to U.S. recyclers instead of being exported to developing nations, then they will be creating tens of thousands of jobs for Americans, and growing our economy,” said Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition.
The full study is available on the CAER website at: www.americanerecycling.org/images/CAER_Jobs_Study_Report.
Federal legislation known as the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA) was introduced in the last session of Congress, and will be reintroduced this session. The bill would restrict exports of untested and non-working e-waste from the U.S. to developing countries, although it would still allow free trade of tested and working used electronics being exported for reuse.
The legislation is supported by major electronics manufacturers, including Dell, HP, Apple, Samsung, and Best Buy, as well as by CAER, which represents 82 U.S. companies that operate 158 electronics recycling and disposition facilities operating in 34 states.
The study was conducted by DSM Environmental Services, Inc., a research and consulting firm focused on recycling, materials management and solid waste management strategies. It found that processing e-waste in the U.S. instead of exporting it to developing countries would create 21,000 full-time equivalent recycling jobs with a corresponding payroll of $772 million. It has the potential to create another 21,000 indirect jobs, according to the study. These jobs numbers will increase further as e-waste volumes rise in the years ahead. The U.S. EPA estimates that e-waste is growing two to three times faster than any other portion of the waste stream, fueled by the continued proliferation of electronic devices.
“There is a lot of good work happening in communities across the U.S. to keep e-waste from going into landfills. But we need Congress to act to make sure that all of these used electronics that we bring to recycling depots and collection events actually get recycled, and not just loaded into containers for export,” said Barbara Kyle of ETBC. “And the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act would accomplish that.”