As the world’s leading market for electronic products, the United States generates large quantities of used electronic products (UEPs) each year. UEPs are collected from consumers and businesses and evaluated for their value. They are classified as working electronic products and parts to be refurbished and resold, or as non-working goods to be recycled into scrap materials. Both working products and scrap materials may be resold in the United States or exported.
These functions are performed by a diverse group of organizations including waste collectors, recyclers, original equipment manufacturers, retailers, brokers, and professional service firms such as equipment leasing companies and information technology (IT) asset management firms.
The UEP supply chain is a complicated network of domestic sales and exports, which are likely to occur along each step in the chain. In 2011, total domestic sales of UEPs were valued at $19.2 billion, compared to U.S. UEP exports of $1.45 billion. This report, prepared at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, estimates and describes (1) the type, volume, value, and foreign markets of significance for U.S. exports of UEPs; (2) the characteristics of UEPs exported from the United States; (3) the forms, activities, and characteristics of domestic enterprises exporting these products; (4) the forms and activities, with respect to UEPs, of enterprises receiving U.S. shipments; (5) the relative share of U.S. sales of UEPs that are exported; and (6) the factors affecting trade in UEPs. UEPs covered by this investigation include consumer and IT equipment such as audio and visual equipment, computers and peripheral equipment, digital imaging equipment, cell phones and other telecommunication equipment, and component parts of these products.