Used Electronic Products: An Examination of U.S Exports

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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.

Call for Abstracts — Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference

Call for Abstracts: Due end of Monday, April 15th, 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Savings Time.
Submit online

Selection criteria
The Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference brings together a range of academics, practitioners, and policy-makers from a variety of fields engaged in energy and climate efforts to provide the latest and most relevant behavioral research, best practices, and methodologies.

The BECC 2013 Organizing Committee is seeking abstract submissions from a wide variety of disciplines and sectors, including, but not limited to:


  • applied anthropology
  • social psychology
  • behavioral economics
  • organizational behavior
  • political science
  • communications
  • cognitive sciences.

Sectors / Issue Areas:

  • buildings (residential and commercial)
  • technology design and usage
  • transportation
  • urban design
  • sustainable consumption (e.g., food, water, and waste).

Abstracts should be no more than 500 words in length and offer new research findings and/or documented examples of behavior change pilots, programs, or trials.

Abstracts should not be a discussion topic, a marketing presentation, or a review or summary of already established work.

NEW! Accepting Abstracts for Papers
New this year is the option to submit an abstract for a full paper written for presentation at BECC. The conference will highlight sessions whose participants have submitted full drafts for review by their discussant. There will be a (non-peer-reviewed) publishing option available for those who wish to make their paper available on our website in lieu of journal submission.

Submissions will be judged on:

  • Relevance to conference themes
  • Clarity of thought
  • Data / documented results
  • Creativity
  • Fit in conference program
  • Other criteria

Please Note: We keep our registration fee quite affordable to encourage robust attendance. However to achieve this goal all presenters are expected to register for the conference and to pay conference registration fees.

Call: BECC’s “Energy Line” at 888-332-8258. If you leave a message, please reference BECC Conference.


Manufacturing sector energy use and energy intensity down since 2002

Press release from the Energy Information Administration.

Total energy consumption in the manufacturing sector decreased by 17 percent from 2002 to 2010, according to data released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Manufacturing gross output decreased by only 3 percent over the same period. Taken together, these data indicate a significant decline in the amount of energy used per unit of gross manufacturing output. The significant decline in energy intensity reflects both improvements in energy efficiency and changes in the manufacturing output mix. Consumption of every fuel used for manufacturing declined over this period.

The manufacturing sector comprised over 11 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010. The manufacturing base in the United States is broad, producing items as varied as the food we eat to the clothes we wear. Manufacturing includes energy-intensive industries (those that use relatively large amounts of energy) such as petroleum refining, chemicals, aluminum, iron and steel, paper, wood products, and food, as well as less energy-intensive industries such as textiles, leather, apparel, furniture, machinery, and electrical equipment.

Energy for manufacturing can be consumed in two ways: as a fuel or as a feedstock (material input to a final product). Energy consumed as a fuel includes all energy used for heat and power. Energy used as feedstock is the use of energy sources for raw material input or for any purpose other than the production of heat or power.

U.S. manufacturing used over 14 quadrillion Btu of energy as a fuel in 2010, a decrease of 13 percent from the 2002 level. Fuel consumption in the five most energy-intensive subsectors accounted for 81 percent of fuel use in manufacturing. Two energy-intensive subsectors (petroleum and coal products, and food) showed 3.5 percent increases in their fuel consumption from 2002 to 2010.

Feedstock energy use in U.S. manufacturing accounts for more than 6 percent of all energy consumed in the country. Although nearly all manufacturers use energy as a fuel, 99 percent of feedstock energy use occurs in only three manufacturing subsectors: primary metals, chemicals, and petroleum and coal products.

Although overall manufacturing output declined by 3 percent between 2002 and 2010, some manufacturing industries grew over the period. The gross output for the petroleum and coal products subsector grew by about 3 percent, while the gross output for the food subsector increased by 5 percent. However, during this same period the number of employees in both subsectors fell, the petroleum and coal products subsector by 6,000 employees, and the food subsector by 115,000 employees. The reduction in employment, along with an increase in gross output signals an increase in labor productivity in these two subsectors.

These data, among others, are drawn from the detailed results of EIA’s 2010 Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS). The 2010 MECS is EIA’s eighth survey of the manufacturing sector and covers the U.S. and four Census regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West). Previous surveys were conducted for 1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006, respectively. Future MECS are planned for every four years. Data collection for the 2014 MECS will begin in 2015.

New tool enables companies to zero in on sustainable supply chain

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The rising problem of illegal logging is responsible for much of the world’s loss of forests. Now, an important technology platform may help bring that to an end.

Global Forest Watch 2.0 will bring near-real-time mapping and social networking together to quickly spot where deforestation is taking place and alert networks to take action before it’s too late.

The system combines satellite data with remote sensing technology to bring high-resolution maps online in near real-time. It will also draw from crowd-sourced data, including from local communities.

To be launched this spring, Forest 2.0 is developed by a partnership convened by the World Resources Institute, which includes the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and businesses and NGOs from around the world.

Nike moves faster to clean up its supply chain

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Nike has joined an innovative partnership that can more quickly clean up its supply chain by giving the company easy access to sustainable materials and chemicals.

Through Switzerland-based Bluesign Technologies — which has created a tool for improving supply chains in the textile industry — Nike’s suppliers will have access to online tools that help them find the most sustainable materials available.

Why disruptive sustainability is the new leadership framework

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

At the recent GreenBIz Forum 2013 in New York, there was an informative and energetic panel discussion, “The Power of Wall Street in Promoting Sustainability,” with Erika Karp, head of UBS Global Research and Matt Arnold, head of environmental affairs at JP Morgan Chase.

In trying to forge the link between sustainability and business drivers like revenue and ROI, Karp said “It’s not easy to prove this case … but they [Julie Hudson of UBS London and her team of ESG analysts] have figured out how to use traditional business analysis, Michael Porter of Harvard ‘Five Forces’ analysis, to talk about what [are] the most material issues, risks and opportunities, facing an industry and even facing a company … and when you have a framework, this is how you make things systematic.”

Using traditional business analysis to elucidate the bottom-line benefits of sustainability seems logical. After all, to show the relevance and applicability of sustainability to business metrics you need to speak the traditional language of business, and the keepers of that language are found in places like Harvard Business School and personified by people like Porter. Logical as that seems, is traditional business analysis really the correct approach? As corporate responsibility and ESG professionals plead their case for relevance using the language of business strategy, Porter, the chief architect of that language, is changing the vocabulary — and even more broadly, he is building an entirely new framework.

Why water is a business issue

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

[Editor’s note: In honor of World Water Day today, GreenBiz is launching Liquid Assets, a monthly column that will explore water as a business issue and the ways in which companies can manage water-related risks in an increasingly constrained world.]

Water has emerged as a prominent business and public sector issue in recent years, driven by the lack of access to clean water and sanitation, interruptions in business operations and food production, climate change and more disclosure of water risks.

A growing number of government agencies, investors, NGOs and other stakeholders are also releasing reports on water risks and the associated business opportunities. We’re also seeing more water accounting and water risk evaluation tools being developed by several NGOs.

My goal in forthcoming columns is to provide additional insight into why water is a business issue and discuss approaches to mitigating water-related risks and new business opportunities in “water tech.” More importantly, the focus will be on how water is connected to other resource issues, such as energy and agriculture, and integrated (systems thinking) approaches to addressing risks.