Contrary to popular opinion, the U.S. electronics industry is not exporting broken or obsolete electronics products on a large scale, according to a study prepared by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
The study, available here found that about 17% percent of used electronic products are being exported from the U.S., a direct rebuttal of the widely-quoted myth that 80 percent of electronics collected for recycling in the U.S. are dumped overseas.
Andrea Boren of the U.S. ITC discussed the government’s findings at ISRI’s Convention and Expo April 11.
“The reports that you’ve heard over the past few years citing 80 percent of electronics are exported and dumped into developing countries has no relationship to the facts that are in this report,” said John Powers of ISRI.
The report values the entire U.S. electronics recycling market at $20.65 billion.
Of the 17 percent percent of electronics exported by American companies, “Whole equipment for reuse accounted for the largest share of U.S. exports by value in 2011, and tested and working products represented the majority of U.S. exports of whole (Used Electronic Products),” according to the report.
Boren responded to criticism that the government agency may have been misled or the material under reported, saying the agency is confident the report prepared at the federal government’s request is the best information available.
“We were aware of the challenges (in preparing the study) from the onset, and the ITC has expertise in conducting these surveys of industry and we did not see any anomalies in our results,” Boren said.
ISRI’s Electronics Division, which met before the start of the convention, welcomed rhe findings of the report.
“We are quite pleased with the results of this finding,” said Eric Harris, Associate Counsel and Director of Government and International Affairs. “It the most comprehensive, exhaustive study to date on the export of used electronic products leaving the U.S. marketplace.”
For ISRI’s summary of the report, click here.