What do you do with your old electronics?
For too many Americans, the answer involves dumping our computers, televisions and mobile phones in the trash. Our e-waste piles up in landfills and gets burned in incinerators, despite the fact that most electronics contain toxic substances that can seep into groundwater or emit poisonous fumes.
Even if you think you're getting rid of your electronics responsibly through an electronics recycler, there's no guarantee your goods are being disposed of properly.
Most electronics "recyclers" here in the U.S. don't really recycle at all. Instead, they ship containers full of our e-waste to developing countries like China, India, and Nigeria.
Our electronics end up piled high in dumps, where some of the world's poorest people -- including many poor children -- disassemble them to remove chips for reuse and extract precious metals for profit. The workers use unsafe methods like acid stripping and burning, both of which release dangerous toxins into the air, and they do this work without protective equipment.
We need to stop dumping our electronics into overflowing U.S. dumps, but passing our trash onto developing nations and unprotected workers isn't the way to do it.
In 2010, Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced H.R. 6252, a bill that would have made it illegal for U.S. electronics recyclers to send toxic e-waste to developing nations. The bill didn't make it out of committee in the 111th Congress, so we need to take action now to get the new Congress to reconsider.
Take action today and tell your representatives and the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committe and the Senate Energy and Natural Resouces Commitee it's time to pass a law that ends the export of e-waste to developing nations for good.