In February, the House of Representatives passed the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act of 2022 (America COMPETES Act). The bill was first proposed on grounds of national security, but stirred controversy within the industry over its extensive e-scrap export restrictions. In efforts to prevent counterfeit electronics from reentering supply chains and potentially affecting U.S. military hardware, section 30612 of the America COMPETES Act would restrict the export of used electronics from the United States.
Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., have recently reintroduced the Secure E-Waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA Act), legislation that has previously been introduced and failed multiple times to make it to Congress since 2015. The reintroduction comes after the Senate passed its own version of the America COMPETES Act omitting the e-scrap export restrictions, in an attempt to get the text back on the radar. Both the Senate’s and the House’s version of the bill are set for conference in order to devise a compromise.
Those in the IT asset disposition industry focus on keeping as much electronic waste as possible out of landfills to prevent potential environmental pollution. Restricting e-scrap exports would prevent used electronics from shipping to other countries, which would only increase the amount of e-waste sent to landfills.
As an alternative, many in the industry have suggested that the solution lies in establishing secure supply chains and testing chips before putting them into products. This would not only protect military hardware from counterfeit components, but would also help preserve a sustainable, flourishing industry that focuses on positive environmental and economic impact.