June 24, 2005

Wyden Amendment to Energy Bill Promotes E-Waste Recycling

Measure accepted into bill will help businesses buy proper equipmentto process toxic electronic waste, reduce landfill dumping

Washington, DC - An amendment written by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and accepted into the Senate energy bill will give American recyclers a tax credit to help buy equipment that can be used to recycle electronic waste. The Wyden amendment adds electronic waste to the list of qualified recyclable materials covered under the recycling equipment tax credit in the tax title of the energy bill. That provision would allow businesses to claim a credit of as much as 15 percent of the cost of equipment used to process recyclables such as newsprint, plastic and aluminum - and now, electronic waste. "American homes and businesses are only going to discard more and more electronics in the coming years, so the time to build an infrastructure to recycle all this e-waste is now," said Wyden. "Helping recyclers get the equipment they need is the first step toward a national e-recycling effort." Harmful e-waste is a large and growing problem in the United States, with some experts estimating that more than 150 million tons of electronic equipment were disposed of in 2004 alone. The personal and office electronics that are routinely dumped in landfills contain a number of toxins including lead, mercury and cadmium. Buying the heavy-duty shredders needed to process e-waste for recycling is often cost prohibitive for recycling businesses. By making the equipment more affordable, the Wyden amendment will enable recycling and keep more televisions, computer monitors and central processing units out of U.S. landfills. Wyden and U.S. Senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.) have sponsored legislation in this Congress, the Electronic Waste Recycling and Promotion and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, to provide additional incentives to create the first-ever nationwide electronic waste recycling infrastructure. More information on the Wyden-Talent bill can be found at http://wyden.senate.gov/media/2005/03032005_ewaste.html