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Move to Ban Used Cell Phone Exports

Moves are underway to try to prevent the exporting of old cell phones, computers, televisions, and other electronic items to developing nations whose recycling programs are primitive at best.  New legislation in the guise of the Responsible Recycling Act has been introduced to the House of Representatives in the United States.  The intention is to create a new category for electronic waste that cannot be exported to developing countries such as India, Nigeria and other nations in a bid to prevent companies based in the US from just shipping their electronic trash overseas where it cannot be dealt with properly.
California Democrat Representative Mike Thompson, who co-sponsored the new bill, says that in these countries electronics are burnt in open pits by workers in order to separate the materials contained within them, while even children are “picking through this stuff and exposing themselves to dangerous chemicals.  It’s just an absolute mess”.
The bill will also have the knock-on effect of creating new jobs in the United States for forcing companies to keep the recycling of such items in their own country.  “There’s a value in used electronic equipment and currently there are small domestic recyclers that process this equipment safely,” Texas Democrat Representative Gene Green, who also sponsored the bill, notes.  “But they have a hard time competing with facilities overseas that have few, if any, environmental and safety standards.”