Press Release

Klobuchar, Gillibrand Announce Bipartisan Legislation to Promote Recycling of Electronic Waste Clears Committee

Dec 10, 2009

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced that the
Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act has been passed out of
the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  The bipartisan
legislation would promote research and development programs to improve
electronic equipment recycling and reduce the use of hazardous materials in
electronics.  The bill would provide research grants to address hazardous
electronic waste (e-waste), much of which contains material that should not be
dumped into landfills.  The legislation is also cosponsored by
Senators Collins (R-ME), Durbin (D-IL), Landrieu (D-LA), and Merkley (D-OR).

“Technology continues to advance, but our ways of disposing of electronic
equipment haven’t kept up,” said Senator Klobuchar.  “Many states,
including Minnesota, are leading the way on recycling electronic equipment, but
we need a national solution to ensure that all unwanted electronics are
discarded in a safe and responsible manner.”

“For too long, too many people
have been improperly dumping electronic devices without being aware of the
dangerous effects on our environment,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This
legislation is a win-win for protecting the environment and our families. It
takes the right steps to develop the best methods to change the way we dispose
of outdated and unused electronics, and the hazardous materials they often

Many electronics contain hazardous substances, like lead and cadmium, which can
seep into soil and water.  Yet, only about 15 percent of electronic
devices are recycled in the United States.  The Environmental
Protection Agency reported that in 2006 alone, Americans generated 2.9 million
tons of e-waste.  The volume of e-waste is expected to increase in the
coming years as more Americans get rid of their old televisions in the wake of
the transition to digital television.

The Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act would make
competitively awarded grants available to universities, government labs, and
private industry for research, development and demonstration projects for
electronic device recycling, re-use, and refurbishment, and to aid in the
development of more environmentally-friendly electronic materials.