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Study finds federal limits on e-waste exports could create up to 42,000 U.S. jobs
Legislation to promote sustainable domestic electronics recycling could drive $1 billion in new U.S. payroll. Cascade Asset Management of Wisconsin and Indiana among hundreds of companies that can help to create new jobs.
“The study documents the potential the electronics reuse and recycling industry offers with its capacity to create tens of thousands of good paying American jobs and by building up our domestic infrastructure,”
The full study is available on the CAER website at http://www.americanerecycling.org.
CAER includes a wide range of electronics recyclers and affiliate organizations that support passage of the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA), legislation that will promote fair and responsible e-waste trade. The bill, which will be reintroduced in the current session of Congress, bans the export of certain types of unprocessed and non-working electronics and e-waste from the U.S. to developing countries. Fair trade in tested, working electronics and processed e-scrap commodities would not be restricted.
The study was conducted by DSM Environmental Services, Inc., a specialized consulting firm focused on recycling, materials management and solid waste management strategies. It includes a survey of CAER members, which estimates current employment at about 6,850 people in the U.S., with a payroll of approximately $250 million. While nearly 1.2 billion pounds of electronics were recycled by CAER members last year, a comparison to data in a recent U.S. EPA-funded report determined that another 3.6 billion pounds was exported, sent to landfills or otherwise processed.
Processing this e-waste in the U.S. would create 21,000 full-time equivalent recycling jobs with a corresponding payroll of $772 million and the potential for 21,000 additional indirect jobs, according to the study. The study notes that jobs will further increase 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.
“The potential for job creation is a major reason RERA continues to attract co-sponsors from both parties at a time when bipartisanship remains rare on Capitol Hill,” said Wendy Neu, Executive Vice President of Hugo Neu Corporation and CAER steering committee member. “We look forward to securing passage of this important legislation during the 113th Congress.”
The bill has attracted 28 House and Senate co-sponsors, including 15 Republicans and 13 Democrats. The House version is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Gene Green (D-TX). In the Senate, co-sponsors include U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
Since its founding in November 2011, CAER has grown to include 83 U.S. companies operating about 153 electronics recycling and disposition facilities operations in 35 states and the District of Columbia. CAER’s steering committee includes representatives from industry leaders Waste Management, Cascade Asset Management, ECS Refining, Electronic Recyclers International, Hesstech, Sims Recycling Solutions and Hugo Neu. More information about Cascade is available at: http://www.cascade-