A study commissioned by the United States International Trade Commission reports that 25% of e-waste recyclers, brokers and refurbishers are exporting e-waste and that 41% of those handlers believe some of their materials are later exported by other organizations. The study included data gathered from 5,200 recyclers, brokers and refurbishers of e-waste.
E-waste includes obsolete or broken electronics or electrical appliances. The waste created by these items can include toxic substances like lead, cadmium and mercury. California leads the nation with its Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003, which helps to restrict export of covered electronic waste by only paying recyclers for electronic devices that they have dismantled and recycled in-state. More needs to be done, though. There is currently no legislation applicable to uncovered electronic waste (electronic waste without a screen), and no federal restrictions on e-waste exports.
Back in January, a study commissioned by the Coalition For American Electronics Recycling (CAER) found that Federal legislation that would restrict exports of electronic waste from the U.S. to developing countries could create as many as 42,000 direct and indirect new jobs with a total payroll of more than $1 billion.