H.R. 1580: Electronic Waste Research and Development Act

H.R. 1580

Electronic Waste Research and Development Act

Date
April 22, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 1580 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) on March 18, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1580 authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide grants to consortia and higher education institutions to support research and projects involving the recycling of electronics, such as computers, printers, and copiers. The bill authorizes appropriations of $60 million for this purpose.

This legislation also allows EPA to award grants to institutions of higher education to develop curricula which incorporates environmental design into the development of electronic devices. H.R. 1580 authorizes $15.5 million over three fiscal years for this function.

Finally, H.R. 1580 would establish a database for environmentally friendly alternative materials for use in electronic devices and authorizes $9 million over three years for the database.

 

Background

This bill seeks to reduce the amount of electronic waste through more efficient recycling, better materials selection, and designing products to be easily disassembled. In recent years, the production of electronic devices, including computers, televisions, and cell phones has been increased. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Americans own approximately 24 electronic products per household.

According to EPA estimates, less than 20 percent of electronics are refurbished or recycled, and most products are simply disposed of with regular trash and deposited in landfills. Some electronics also contain chemicals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, which cause environmental and health concerns when dumped in landfills.

 

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that H.R. 1580 would cost $84 million over five years, assuming appropriation of the funds.