NEW YORK Two
industry associations once again find themselves at
odds over legislation that aims to ban exports of toxic
electronic scrap which instead would have to be recycled
within United States borders.
The dispute surfaced
after the bill was introduced July 25 by Reps. Mike Thompson
(D., Calif.) and Gene Green (D., Texas), who said the
legislation promotes the U.S. recycling industry "by
prohibiting the exportation of some electronics whose improper
disposal may create environmental, health or national security
The Coalition for
American Electronics Recycling (CAER), an industry association
that supports the legislation, was quick to tout bipartisan
support for the bill, which is co-sponsored by Republicans Mike
Coffman (R, Colo.), Steve Stivers (R, Ohio) and Mike McCaul (R,
Texas), and Democrats Green, Thompson and Louise Slaughter (D,
Trade in tested,
working electronics will remain unrestricted and is expected to
grow, according to CAER.
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), which has
opposed a ban on exports at every stage, called on Congress to
"reject attempts to restrict legitimate trade of used
electronic products ... with U.S. trade partners."
president of ISRI, praised the bills aims but called it
"This bill will do
nothing to end irresponsible recycling, and further, will limit
any opportunity to promote environmentally sound electronics
recycling standards in other countries by perpetuating the
outdated approach of identifying environmental risk based
simply on geographic location rather than responsible operating
practices," she said.
According to a recent
CAER study, restrictions on e-waste exports could create up to
42,000 new jobs with a total payroll of more than $1
CAER claims that a
large percentage of electronic scrap containing high
concentrations of toxic materials like lead and cadmium is
"exported to developing countries where it is dismantled in
primitive conditions without environmental protections and
But according to ISRI,
the legislation relies "upon the false premise that up to 80
percent of (used electronics products) collected in the U.S.
are exported and dumped in non-OECD (Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development) countries located outside the
E.U.a statistic unchanged and put forward by CAER and the
Basel Action Network repeatedly before the earliest versions of
(the bill) were introduced back in 2009."
ISRI, however, said
the U.S. International Trade Commission recently "found that
only 5.1 percent of all (used electronics products) collected
each year in the U.S. are currently at risk for improper
recycling and disposal."
ISRIs chief economist Joe Pickard claimed that the
bill will actually reduce domestic competition and lead to job