Short Post: Smelters and Financial Assurance.

Want to try something new.  Brief brilliant posts. Easy to read.

I've got totally bogged down by and MIT. I have pages and pages of unposted blogs defending me and my clients.  Let me just say Jim's a disgusting bigot and I can prove it if you doubt it, contact me.  I have 267 of his emails.

Totally quick brilliant blog post starts now.
Primary copper, zinc and lead smelters can use CRT cullet instead of feldspar, galena, angelsite.
See my article on why they don't (Time out of Mined)
If the smelters are making a rational decision not to use the CRT cullet as fluxing agent (because of the multimillion, even billion dollar fines history with EPA over Superfund sites), then they need smaller secondary smelters, like NuLife, to manage it.
NuLife and other micro-smelters, which turn CRT glass into lead feedstock, need affordable closure plans.
So the primary smelters - Doe Run, Teck Cominco, Glencore, Southern Copper, Penoles, etc. - which individually could accept 200 tons per day of CRT glass but don't want to - should offer to take NuLife material under a closure plan.  A one time clean out situation, they take 60 days of recycled cullet.
EPA would never bother them, they'd be bailing EPA out of an undesirable closure situation.
The smelters would be paid for the "insurance" value.  They get say $20,000 per year just to SAY they WOULD take it if the closure was invoked.

The NuLife micro-smelter can make a significant contribution to USA's e-waste problem.  This is totally a smidge compared to the mining and primary smelting business, but EPA and environmentalists are obsessed with it.
To find out why, you have to read some of the 1,867 older longer blogs.  It's guilt, liability, psychology stuff.

BAN can free my genius to create more solutions if they stop being absolute pricks to people like Joe Benson, Li Tong Group, Net Peripheral, and my clients in Boston.  

DEBUT - Fair Trade Recycling Offset - Recycled Content Jewelry from Computer Scrap

[10/6/2016]  Just a little celebration.  We just made our first "Fair Trade Recycling Offset" transaction.

We sold about $10,000 worth of computers to Chendiba Enterprises, who have a Vermont based tech testing all the displays and PCs at our plant before he buys them for export.  He's our "Joe Benson".

Normally, we take a deposit of 80% when the computers leave Vermont ($8,000 say), and wait for the computers to be received and reconciled in Ghana.  Then the next containerload is $10,000 - $2000 for the reconciled shipment #1, and another 80% / $8k deposit for shipment #1.

This week, we told our Ghana buyer to take $100 out of the $2,000 reconciliation and give it to the father of one of the Chendiba Techs (who I met and filmed in 2015).  He is a retired high school teacher who kept his own father's tradition of small scale metal smelting.  He made our Fair Trade Recycling bracelets in 2015.

PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN? Brownwashing Hong Kong Moon Shot, NGO #Ewaste Mistake of Decade

As multiple reporters recited from the press releases from MIT Senseable City and Basel Action Network this year, we heard descriptions of Hong Kong's New Territories, Yuen Long, and Tin Shui Wai in particular, which were familiar to people who went to high school 2-3 decades ago.
"Rice Paddy".  "Primitive".  "Child Labor."
But they missed the largest, most modern E-Waste processing facility ever seen on earth.  This is an example of "brownwashing", the equal and opposite of "greenwashing".

WEEETRF stands for "Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Treatment and Recycling Facility"

MIT's central claim is that the GPS Tracking Devices revealed "Previously Unknown" things about the used electronics trade.   And they found "mistakes made" by R2 and E-Steward certified companies.

But the biggest "previously unknown" is still unreported.

Two years ago, the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department (EPA) launched a "moon shot."  And Basel Action Network didn't just miss it.  THEY HID IT.  #brownwashing

But they had to say something about it... something in small print.  Actually this just describes the $45M investment at LTG, they didn't actually mention the $550M WEEETRF next door.

How is this NOT THE PBS HEADLINE?  NGO went to huge lengths to hide the largest e-waste recycling facility on the planet, led everyone to a puny junkyard as "representative of hundreds of similar dumps" (really?) in Hong Kong ... a statement they have to make because there's no significant truck traffic, nothing approximating the volumes BAN says are going there (the Agbogbloshie problem).  But they track stuff to the WEEETRF and to end users of repaired devices in Tin Shui Wai, and when I call them out... they attack ME?

Previously Unknown, or Continuously Unknown?

Geography Baiting 6: Granular Images of Recycling in Asia

My response to BAN's report "Scam Recycling" is not a criticism of tracking technology as a methodology.  And I'm not a critic of MIT or the Basel Convention.

Basel Action Network, using funding from The Body Shop Foundation, successfully added a lot of granularity to the discussion about exports of used electronics internationally.  The Data is interesting.   A peer review process, using scientific method, could have produced a great report, and could have protected the privacy of unwitting and unwilling test subjects in all the countries involved.  And to the degree that data is released rather than "obscured", it can be assessed by professionals like myself, and academics, and policy can evolve.

And that's happening. Josh Lepawsky of MUN's Geography department has repopulated many of the data points that were obscured on BAN/Monitour (though not all - Foshan is missing, as is EcoPark).

Is BAN playing games with the data?  If so, MIT Ethics office should recognize that its students (remember we have the names of the ones who placed a device in Somerville) are pawns.

I'm a critic of one thing.  Environmental Malpractice.  For a decade, this blog has attempted to offer an "anti-defamation" defense vs. Basel Action Network's game of tokenism, profiling, geography-baiting, race-baiting, and slander.  The people I'm most concerned about today are the Chinese printer technicians who make repair and reuse of laser printers as commonplace in China as automobile repair in the USA.  Or, put another way, as common as repair of laser printers was in the USA in 1995.  Because of the history economy printer cartridges - which cost as much as ball point pens to make, but sell for over $20 - printers are a specialty business which has been under attack since I first visited China's Nanhai/Foshan district in 2002, the year BAN visited Guiyu and Adam Minter arrived in Shanghai.

It's extremely difficult for Fair Trade Recycling to defend a printer economy which is kept in the "informal" sector by forces which defy Americans understanding of reuse economies.  Fifteen years ago, I assumed that anyone paying double the price of scrap for laser printers, but who refuses to buy inkjet printers, knew what they were doing, and had to be in the reuse parts business.  When I visited those markets, I was uneasy. They were very small, dirty shops.  Sometimes the work was outdoors. But you saw clearly that the sandaled brown and yellow people were sorting the printers by size and brand.  I found out that the reuse markets for certain LaserJet 4s had more to do with industrial machine repair (using the same memory cards) than it had to do with Laser printing.  And I found out about, and Arizona Cartridge Manufacturers, and Jazz Camera.

I also found out that these markets are virtually untraceable and impossibly unaccountable. If I met a printer scrap buyer in person, and managed to communicate in Chinese, I learned that from his perspective scrap was "liquid". If he found the same printer I sold him closer to him, he felt he'd fulfilled his obligations and what happened to my physical printer was irrelevant.  From his perspective, it was as if I was trying to track the serial numbers on a hundred dollar bill I'd used to transfer money by Paypal.