Goodwill Industries, Rockville, Md., has testified before the House Science and Technology Committee urging Congress to assist in the development of a recycling and reuse infrastructure for unwanted electronics. With an increasing amount of e-waste donations to local Goodwill agencies throughout the country, company officials say they are feeling the financial strain associated with the collection and environmentally safe disposal of e-waste donations.
According to the company, a survey of Goodwill agencies found that 23 million pounds of e-waste – the equivalent of roughly 821,000 computers – were donated to Goodwill alone in 2004.
“There are costs, responsibilities and liabilities associated with serving as a collector,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries, in a press release. “As much as 30 percent of electronics donated to Goodwill are unusable, and disposing of these products in an environmentally responsible way diverts significant resources from Goodwill’s job training programs.”
In addition to developing an infrastructure, the company is asking Congress to support incentives to manufacturers for product design changes, as well as to issue tax credits to manufacturers for partnering with social agencies.