United States – A study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) confirms that the US electronics recycling industry has grown tremendously in the past decade. However, continuation of this growth is under threat from legislation, according to the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).
The study shows that approximately 3.5 million short tons of electronics was recycled by the US recycling industry in 2010, an industry that employs more than 30 000 workers with estimated revenues of over US$ 5 billion. ‘This survey shows a booming electronics recycling industry and prescribes a clear path for even more growth,’ the Washington Council of Governments has been told by Eric Harris, ISRI’s Associate Counsel and Director of Government and International Affairs. ‘Electronics recyclers are creating American jobs, adopting an industry standard that will help sustain growth and are recycling electronics here at home.’
However, he went on to express concern that this growth would come to an abrupt halt if export control legislation known as the Responsible Recycling Act (HR 2284 / S1270) ever came into effect, arguing that it would put an end to the free, fair and legal trade of these materials and by doing so establish an arbitrary line around countries and peoples, while doing nothing to promote environmentally sustainable practices where they are needed most.
The need for this ‘misguided’ legislation is further undermined, says ISRI, by the IDC study findings showing that, of the more than 3.5 million tons of used and end-of-life electronics collected in the USA, 70% by weight is processed domestically and sold at home or in the global marketplace as commodity grade scrap, such as steel, aluminium, copper, precious metals recovered from circuit boards, glass and plastics. A further 10% is resold as functioning equipment and components for direct resell, and less than 18% is resold as equipment and components for further repair and refurbishment.
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