It looks like U.S. finally takes e-waste serious. This week, U.S. Representatives Gene Green and Mike Thompson introduced a new bill for e-waste legislation: Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2010. The bill is geared toward stopping companies from being able to export electronic waste to developing countries, an action that is creating very dangerous, toxic, poisoned places causing severe environmental damage and harm to human health. See these two photo essays as examples for those infamous waste dumps and waste capitals, one is in Pakistan and the other one is in Ghana.
Large amounts of U.S. e-waste end up at these unsafe overseas recycling facilities often in violation with the international law. In the US, it is estimated that 50-80 percent of the e-waste collected for recycling is being exported in this way. The U.S. Governmental Accountability Office, said harmful e-waste shipments from the U.S. are “virtually unrestricted” because of minimal enforcement and narrow regulations. This practice is legal because the US has not ratified the Basel Convention (“The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, agreed to in 1989!).
Most other developed nations have laws restricting e-waste exports, Green said. Support for an e-waste export ban is growing, even if the legislation doesn’t pass this year, said Thompson, a California Democrat. The legislation has received support from companies like Apple, Samsung and Dell who even have published this initiative on their web site.
If this legislation passes, IT organizations are forced to take action so they better start thinking of proper E-waste processing.