EPA Proudly Stops Egyptian Monitor Reuse? Err...

I was aware of the company.  I was aware of the market.  I think the EPA press release, below, is referring to the sentencing of the same St. Louis company "profiled" in the Basel Action Network blog. which I covered in Environmental Malpractice 5.1   The Michigan owned Missouri company was trying to stay in the reuse business... selling used CRT monitors to a hungry bunch of Egyptians.

Michigan Computer Company Owner Sentenced for International Environmental, Counterfeiting Crimes

In the year before the first "Arab Spring" revolt, in Iran, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was already beginning to feel the heat.   Iran's regime would survive, but Mubarak would be the second to face internet impeachment, after Tunisia and before Libya.  In the years running up to that revolt, Mubarak called used CRT monitors "e-waste" and made it illegal to import them if they were more than 5 years after the date of original manufacture.

Keep in mind that CRTs last 20-25 years, and keep in mind that the "original manufacture date" is typically a year before it's even sold at retail.   That means an American would have to buy the 25-year CRT, use it for three years, and then leave time for a collector to inspect it and send it to Egypt.

Discount Computers (and I know of one other doing this in the USA, and two in other countries), was taking the good CRTs which might be 6, 7, or 8 years old, and putting a new label, in Arabic, which said something like "remade on".   This would allow the Egyptian buyer, sometimes with the help of a bribe, to get the working and repairable CRTs into Alexandria and Cairo, where they were sold in shops like the ones I photographed in the blog about innocent "Hurricane Hamdy" (Environmental Malpractice).

Price of the mislabelled monitors?  The Egyptian importer in this story, according to EPA, paid $21 apiece.  That's Twenty-one US dollars... enough to make the mislabelling worth the trouble.

So why does EPA declare this? "By exporting older CRTs with fraudulent manufacture dates, Mark Jeffrey Glover sent a large quantity of older e-waste overseas which was subjected to improper recycling, increasing the potential for environmental and human exposure to hazardous materials. "

Profiling  Anyone?  Is this what we call  "environmental justice?"

Why Hasn't BAN Waived Banner?

CAER, ETBC, and BAN.org have been telling us all that most exports of used equipment to Africa are burned in primitive conditions, exploiting child workers.

So  this story a month ago should have been run up the flagpole, right?

The silence is deafening.

This INTERPOL arrest story was weeks after my "MALPRACTICE" blogs, bemoaning the arrests of Joseph Benson, Medi-com, Semarang and other GOC's.

We only get 200 or so readers per post.

Why didn't BAN, E-Stewards, somebody, run David Higgins INTEROL story up the flagpole?

They know this arrest scoop was over the top.

They know also, I say, their role in the Rosie Geek Parks arrests.

Arrests of e-waste export professional geeks is no longer a "flagpole" moment.  There is significant doubt every time an African fixer is arrested.  It is bubbling up the chain.  Expect David Higgins to hear, soon, that his massive racial profiling arrest is not quite as popular as it was ... in 1951 Alabama.

 #Benson #MediCom #Chiu

If you run an "e-waste export arrest" story, as BAN now knows, you WILL BE TAGGED.  The arrested will get a virtual trial of their peers #@fairtraderecycling

Constructive Fair Trade Recycling Breakthrough

So where do we go from here?
"Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."
-- Mark Twain
"Loyalty to the environment always.  Loyalty to the environmentalists when they deserve it."  ---- Robin Ingenthron 
Below is a letter which I'd like to say I just received from the Basel Action Network and Electronic Takeback Campaign.

Dear Robin, 
Our organization is very unhappy with your characterization of us, in your blog and public addresses.   Basel Action Network is driven by a mission of protecting the world's poor from externalization of toxics and toxic processes.   If a recycling process is going to permanently poison the groundwater, or pose risk to young mothers and children, BAN will not be intimidated.  The Basel Convention is an international treaty which recognizes the risks faced by the poor when the cost of toxics disposal rises, and we have been one of the sole organizations which holds the USA accountable for that standard. 
With that said, we have studied the allegations which you have made, and we are determined to behave as morally and as accurately as possible.    The three specific cases you have raised - of the arrest of Joseph Benson in England, of the seizure of goods from Medi-com of Egypt, and the unfair and defamatory characterization of shipments from Gordon Chiu's company to Semarang, Indonesia, appear to be something our organization should listen to and learn more about.  If it is true that these traders were unfairly profiled, or treated unfairly, based on BAN's characterization of the export market, we want to learn from their experiences, reassess our roles, and grow from it.
Just as your statements have been hurtful to our staff and volunteers, we recognize that statistics BAN has used, irregardless of our intentions, may have created collateral damage or been hurtful to genuine reuse and repair businesses in emerging markets.  We don't know that to be true, but we take the allegation seriously.  If our organization has said anything which has led to the arrest or seizure of goods from a legitimate business in the developing world, our organization will investigate, learn, and if appropriate, make amends. 
The studies you have cited about reuse, and the percentage of waste we filmed which was not imported but generated in these developing countries, raise genuine questions we were not able to consider when we began this campaign.  We are dedicated to the truth, and agree that effective policy must be  supported by facts.  With our combined expertise, we believe that Basel Action Network and Fair Trade Recycling can achieve a better outcome than if we continue with the he-said, she-said dialectic.   Let's improve on the quality of goods shipped, legally and ethically, without either obfuscating or apologizing for genuine pollution, nor mis-characterizing the efforts of entrepreneurs in these developing countries. 
 This would deserve my loyalty:

Yes, this would be a really great letter to receive... it would deserve my loyalty, it would make them genuine environmentalists.   I've been hurt for standing up for innocent friends.  I nearly lost lynchpins in my $3M business.  I've had to defend myself from the assumption that anyone against BAN must be in favor of poisoning children.  The defamation was not just to my friends, it was to my business and its employees.

No.  But in the same vein, BAN, by being in favor of HR2284 and other conservative anti-trade policies, is not "in favor" of racial profiling, or Interpol arresting people who have purchased 90% working equipment.

If BAN could feel secure enough in their position to publicly address the allegations, and to actually consider the possibility that Joseph Benson, Gordon Chiu, and Hamdy Moussa, were innocent... If they would at least take down the "trophies" of press coverage when these men were hanged in a court of environmental tweetery... I could lay down my pen.

I invite them to write a letter from me.  We could each sign one another's letter, and it would be a huge success at the Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit.  They would steal the show.

We have to air the debate publicly try to arrive at a truer mark than "80% of e-waste is exported".  When you get a celebrity journalist to endorse your statistic, it's not totally your fault.  But when you see the stat run like a virus from celeb to celeb, at some point the victory must seem cold if the lives of innocents are trampled.

Such a letter would allow me to respond in kind by recognizing BAN's intentions with the E-Stewards program, without feeling that I was selling out people I genuinely think are innocent of most of the charges attributed to them.   I would see hope that the Watchdogs are willing to admit to the possibility of "collateral damage", to entertain the idea that they've made reckless accusations, and I would be invested in helping them understand this world trade better than they have.

I think Mike Enberg might have the guts to do this, and he'd find why Jim Puckett found me such a  friend 7-8 years ago.  At FTR, we don't know who calls the shots on the West Coast.  We know what keeps them from looking closely at collatoral damage.  If my writing has hurt someone somewhere in the world, I'd want to know the possibility.

Meriam-Webster on "Stewardship":   The conducting, supervising, or managing of something;especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care <stewardship of natural resources>

E-Waste Export Hoax Coming "Home" to Roost

Recycling Today reports on the US International Trade Commission Study - the fifth, I think, to say that between 80% and 90% of used electronics purchased (with money) and shipped (with more money) by Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans were working or repairable.
"Exports accounted for $1 billion in sales of refurbished UEPs and $439 million in recycled material.  According to the study, despite longstanding anecdotal accounts to the contrary, 88 percent of all UEPs exported as repaired/refurbished are sent “tested and working.” Only a small share of U.S. exports, less than 1 percent (0.8 percent), is sent overseas for disposal."
Is it any surprise that BAN.org was this week turning its Watchdog Binoculars onto USA E-waste processors who are speculatively accumulating crushed CRTs?  The NYTimes article barely mentions exports, its focus is all the money that has been paid for DOMESTIC USA recycling which has led to nothing but big piles of toxic glass on the ground.

I was tsk-tskd as going too far when I wrote the article last year, E-Waste Recycling Hoax.   Pleas to #freeJosephBenson never got a retweet.  Everyone (especially CAER) kept to the hymn that 80-90% of USA's CRT televisions and monitors are not being processed, but dumped in China and Africa.  The 85%, or 88%, or 87%, or 90% studies (of what arriving overseas is good for reuse) got no ink.

But now NYTimes says that NGOs are protesting the massive piles of CRT glass from tubes collected in the USA's domestic recycling programs.

 What does this picture say?

It says the Africa export story was indeed a hoax.   But Watchdogs have turned the page, and are poaching game in the USA's home turf.

Well, it's not a complete hoax.  There was some truth to Basel Action Network's export story.  In my passion to defend the Hurricanes (Hamdy, Benson, and Chiu) I don't want to pretend there is not serious room for improvement in e-waste recycling overseas. There are indeed toxic repercussions of burning wires, or using aqua regia acid to get gold.  There were, indeed, toxics along for the ride.  The exporters had the control, and the power, and externalization did result.  The problem is, a boycott took the agents of conscience out of the trade, and gave those with less conscience even greater power to leverage the demand, and sell into it.

Externalization economics had affected some aspects of the trade in used electronics.  Exactly as externalization economics have resulted in mining raw materials in rain forests, just as it led to the "anti-gray-market" seizure of used goods, challenges to first use policy, delayed patent exhaustion, and other wars on the poor.  Tinkering, fixing, and refurbishment isn't perfect.  It can indeed be reformed and made more fair. But tinkering and repair are the go-to game for the poor.   Arresting Africans, seizing their purchases, and putting them in jail just doesn't deserve the air time that it competes for with ivory hunting, sex tourism, and child soldiering.  Arresting the victims isn't my idea of restitution.

BAN's Jim Pucket was this week back in the NY Times, his camera binoculars set on USA CRT processing companies.  Once his darlings, are the domestic CRT processors now the next scourge of e-waste? Will BAN feed on its own, for speculatively accumulating CRT glass he told them to take apart despite the orders from overseas factories that wanted to repair and reuse them?

CAER is Wrong About E-Waste. Nice, Just Wrong.

Coalition For American Electronics Recycling (CAER) writes:

"We believe that currently about 80% of electronics claimed to be recycled in the US are really just “packed and stacked” into shipping containers and exported.  Aggregators of used electronics work through brokers to ship equipment overseas and get paid pennies per pound for this mixed assortment of electronics. We see solicitations from these brokers all the time.
"If this bill [HR2284] passes, we don’t expect it will completely shut off improper exports of used electronics, but we contend it will flip the equation so that 80% of electronics are processed in the US. Based on our experience, we create at least 7 jobs in refurbishment, demanufacturing or material processing for every job involved in packing and stacking electronics for export. This would lead to tremendous growth in the American electronics recycling industry through existing and new businesses.

CAER is full of good companies.  I'm not attacking those companies, I'm defending my friends overseas from their defamatory statements.  Just want to explain why these statements, on their website, are mistaken.

Since new e-waste blogger JHop has thrown his hat in the ring (comment on CAER report blog from January), we now have dialog.

The two paragraphs above are full of misinformation.  Perhaps, with the qualifier, "We believe", they can say whatever they want.  But no one in our business can really believe this.  No E-Waste Broker Fairy is transporting 80% of USA's used electronics in "stack and pack through brokers".

Impossible.  Here's why:

What is the #1 component of E-Waste collected in USA Programs?

TVs.  Big CRT TVs.

Show me a "stack and pack" operation exporting a significant number of TVs.   There is NO WAY that you can achieve 80% of USA E-waste "stack and pack" without the massive deportation of used televsions.  EPA says we are generating 50,000 used TVs per day.   That's about 100 containerloads per day... 80% is 80 sea containerloads per day, of JUST TVs.

No one at recycle.net, Alibaba.com, Exporters.com.sg, etc. is "packing or stacking" a significant number of USA's TVs.   I know of 2-3 used television buyers, but they are not buying 80% of USA e-waste, and they are pretty small operations and very particular of the TVs they buy.  The ones in Africa generally want very small TVs only (like the ones in Gentleman Jim's photo of Joseph Benson's containers), or very nice (e.g. hotel-takeout) TVs like the ones shrinkwrapped in the Greenpeace video.   AND NOW THEY CAN BUY THOSE USED CRT TVs FROM ASIA!  The USA isn't even a major export player anymore.

Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit Update

Earth Week Event:  Fair Trade Recycling (of "e-Waste") Summit in Vermont

copyright robin ingenthron
There is considerable interest in our April 16 Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit, a free conference paid for by Middlebury College, Memorial University, and WR3A.   In fact, we are out of seats already.

The good news is that the Summit will be broadcast via Live Streaming throughout the day.  We are preparing a number of videos to fill the gaps between sessions.

I'll post a list of speakers and presenters and panelists this week.  We are immensely honored at the number of Guests who have chosen to attend in person rather than via the Skype options offered to the presenters.

Fair Trade Recycling Summit Nations Represented (confirmed participation to date)
  • Angola * Burkina Faso * Canada * China * Egypt * Holland  * Indonesia
  • Malaysia * Mexico *  Peru *  Switzerland * USA

Eerie Quiet on the Interpol E-Waste Report

Is it just me?

Interpol, the International Police Agency, issued a press release on a sweeping number of arrests of African used electronics traders.   As one of the first bloggers to react to the report, I expected another round of back-slapping by the anti-e-waste juggernauts.

I posted the Interpol press advisory without much commentary, in their own words, two weeks ago.

It seems quiet.

Vermont Ilsley Public Library: Vermont Child E-Waste Tinkerers

Today (Friday March 15, 2013) is an "In-Service Day" in Addison County, and the Middlebury public schools are closed.   One of those days that's not a holiday for parents, and we schedule little things like tonsillectomy (my son, 8:00AM), or trips to the dentist (my 16 year old twins) if we are thinking far enough ahead.

If you are in Middlebury Vermont today, and you didn't plan that far ahead, here's another opportunity.  Good Point Recycling and the Ilsley Public Library are putting on a Special Event for Kids.  In the spirit of the "maker movement", "yankee ingenuity", and can-do tinkerer blessing, we will exploit ... 'err.. hold on, I'm getting an urgent call from our PR office.

Imagination Vacation:  Tinkering With Technology

Imagination Vacation: Tinkering with Technology
March 15, 2013 10:30 am
March 15, 2013 12:00 pm
March 1, 2013
Community meeting room
Ilsley Public Library,Middlebury
This hands-on workshop allows school-age children the freedom to explore the art and science of  ”how stuff works” in the spirit of the popular “maker movement.”  Library staff and re-use experts from Good Point Recycling will help you use hand tools to explore the mechanics of a variety of technologies from computers to telephones.  Bring your own hand tools, such as screwdrivers and pliers if you have them.  Adults and welcome too.

HTC Android Boot-Loop, Constant Restart

The white screen... buzz.  Blackness.  Then it starts up again... The white screen... buzz. Blackness.

Look Ma, No Phone!
It's know and "boot-loop", an ongoing chain.  I had it last night with my HTC Evo 4G.   After an hour and a half of taking the battery out and putting it back, taking the SD card out and putting it back, leaving the SD card out, etc., and being unable to even get into the boot menu (pressing the power button on top simultaneously with the volume button) for a few dozen minutes, I was frustrated.  No, it wasn't rooted or any of the other Sprint excuses, except that the memory was probably too full (more common when I cannot remove bloatware like NFL and SprintZone and the awful dreaded infamous "Nova" program that comes pre-loaded and cannot be ditched).  Most of the apps I'd moved to the SD card when I could, but sometimes it's just one little additional app, or app upgrade, that tips the boat over.

Time to Refuel: Taking a Break from Pissing Matches

Giving Peace a Chance to Breath, Fair Trade Recycling muzzles fearless leader...

Lie down and rest
Hi everyone. We've hired a professional PR person to help make the Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit a success. He's banned me from using certain "emotionally charged" phrases like "Geeks of Color", and from pushing as hard in defense of the technicians who are "presumed" to be "primitive exporters". So this is my last such use of these terms (until after the Summit, at least).

Some of you will remember the early days of World Reuse, Repair and Recycling Association, when we tried the "California Compromise" and publishing articles in tandem with BAN. Part of me feels that when I went a bit unchained (after the triple takeout of Egypt, Nigeria, and Indonesia importers in a very rough 2009-10), that's when we got attention from reporters, got the grants, etc.

Used "E-Waste" Exports: United States International Trade Commission.

Report from United States International Trade Commission.

Report on Export of Used Electronic Products. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

The U.S. International Trade Commission announces the release of

Used Electronic Products: An Examination of U.S. Exports

USITC Publication 4379
Investigation No. 332-528 

"End Uses of Working U.S. UEP Exports

"An estimated 60 percent of U.S. UEP exports (by value) were exported in tested, working condition in 2011. While it is not always clear whether whole goods shipped to developing countries are intended for resale or recycling, available information suggests that they are most likely resold in working condition where possible, because most working UEPs (particularly more recent models) have a higher resale value than the recoverable materials they contain. According to one study, for example, nearly 90 percent of used personal computers being imported into Peru are resold rather than dismantled for recycling or raw materials, largely because their sales value intact surpassed that of their component materials.11 Similarly, in Ghana, 90 percent of UEP imports in 2009 were either in working condition (70 percent) or repairable to be resold (20 percent) (box 5.1).12 Thus, the end use for most working and repairable personal computers, cell phones, and other UEPs that are exported is initially a secondhand market."

(Note: The other 40% includes separated scrap and formal recycling)


U.S. sales of used electronic products (UEP) in 2011 were valued at $19.2 billion, and U.S. exports of such products in 2011 made up 7 percent of total U.S. UEP sales, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its new publication.
Completed at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the report is based on data collected through a nationwide survey of 5,200 refurbishers, recyclers, brokers, information technology asset managers, and other UEP handlers. The report covers the year 2011 and focuses on audio and visual equipment, computers and peripheral equipment, digital imaging devices, telecommunication equipment, and component parts of these products. The Commission's findings include:
·         UEPs are collected from consumers and businesses, sorted by value, then either refurbished and resold as working electronic equipment or disassembled into working parts or scrap commodities (metals, plastics, and glass) that are resold as manufacturing inputs in the United States and abroad.

·         The top five destinations for U.S. UEP exports in 2011 were Asia-Pacific countries (primarily Korea and Japan), Mexico, India, Hong Kong, and China, accounting for 74 percent of exports. Just over half of U.S. UEP exports were shipped to countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

·         Whole equipment for reuse accounted for the largest share of U.S. exports by value in 2011, and tested and working products represented the majority of U.S. exports of whole UEPs.

·         Refurbishing and repair enterprises accounted for the largest share of U.S. exporters of UEPs by value, followed by enterprises involved in wholesaling, brokering, or retailing.

·         Measured by end-use of the products, commodity materials intended for smelting or refining accounted for the largest share of U.S. exports by weight (43 percent) in 2011.

·         U.S. regulations in place in 25 states generally reduce exports by requiring electronics manufacturers to collect used products for recycling. Industry certification programs also likely serve to limit U.S. exports of UEPs. In contrast, limited U.S. capacity to process UEPs in two segments of the industry: cathode ray tube (CRT) glass and final smelting – create incentives to export CRT monitors, CRT glass, and circuit boards destined for smelting to retrieve precious metals.

·         In developing countries, demand for UEPs exported from the United States is strong, but the Basel Convention and some country regulations may limit such exports, since many developing countries agree not to import nonworking UEPs from OECD member countries.

View the report at: http://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub4379.pdf

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Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit

Fair Trade Recycling
P. O. Box 1010
Middlebury, Vermont 05753

February 28, 2013

Subject: Invitation
Middlebury College E-Waste Summit
Middlebury, Vermont, United States,
April, 16, 2013

            Fair Trade Recycling (a tradename of the World Reuse, Repair and Recycling Association) is a consortium of concerned environmental and development professionals whose goal is to achieve the best possible standards for trade in used goods for reuse and recycling.   The Association is pleased to invite you to attend the first Fair Trade Recycling Summit.

The Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit will be held in Middlebury College  on April, 16, 2013.  It will involve both a rigorous academic discussion of the concept of environmental policy in emerging markets, and a hands on tour of a large New England electronics recycling facility.  Live streaming of the conference will be provided online by Middlebury College.

         When are exports externalizing environmental costs from wealthy to poor nations?
            When are boycotts of developing nations a guise for protectionism, or planned obsolescence?
            What parts of the emerging entrepreneurial market are key to “tinkerer blessing” economics?
            What are the real alternatives for refurbishing and recycling workers in importing nations?
            Can the market provide “alter globalization” alternatives to the current “e-waste” management?

These and other questions will be debated by experts in the development of “e-waste” markets and policies.  Two Middlebury College Courses on will challenge importers, regulators, activists, and exporters with challenging questions on both environmental policy and international politics.   The international group will exchange information, develop a sustainable information network, and provide students at Middlebury College with different points of view on the issues discussed.

            A limited number of seats at the two College classes (to be streamed and recorded) will be available to renewed members of the Fair Trade Recycling association.   Tours of the Vermont recycling operation in Middelbury, with workshops held by importers from countries like Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Malaysia, Mexico, and Peru, will be available for a $95 donation to WR3A.org. 

The Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit is Available to All Middlebury College Students, and to WR3A Members by Invitation.

AGENDA  Tuesday April 16, 2013

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE (“Academic Track”) 

Two classes held in the morning and the afternoon in Middlebury College with presentations by internationally recognized figures in the field. A third Forum will be held for Middlebury College Students and Community interested in debate over Export of used goods.

11:00-12:15 “Externalization of Opportunity or Harm?” Dr. John Isham. R.A.J. Hall (maximum of participants: 70)

12:15 - 1:15 Lunch Discussion

1:45-3:00 “Environmental Policy in Developing World” Dr. Nadia Horning. Orchard room (maximum of participants: 50)

3:20 pm “Meet the E-Waste Exporters: Balancing Bans & Free Trade?” Panel Discussion moderated by Dr. Josh Lepawsky. Orchard room


As seating at Middlebury College will be limited (online participation details to follow), a second "hands on" track will be offered at American Retroworks Inc., a Vermont E-waste processor.

Meet the people at each processing station, and meet export buyers from 4 continents, face to face, to discuss what they want, need, and need to avoid.

Memo from Rich: Mine it, Don't Reuse It.


3 / 6 / 2013

To:      Third World
From:  Management

Subj:   Reusing "waste" materials from OECD Bosses

Dear Third World:

Your relationship is very important to us.  Please take note of the following memo to reduce need for escalation of conflict resolution in reuse, repair and recycling chains.

It has come to our attention that you are recycling raw materials sourced, as "waste", from our rich nations.  This was acceptable in the past, but we have new management directives for you, based on recent status updates.

Evidently, some nations importing raw materials are salvaging manufactured goods and repairing them for direct reuse and resale.  This began with Japan Victrola Corporation (JVC) ninety years ago, and led to JVC's reuse of victrola systems from RCA, which eventually led to full scale development of the nation of Japan, and eventually, an increased sense of Japanese self-autonomy, descending into World War II.

While we greatly value the mining and refined content of the new products we sell, and accept recycled content as a "green" innovation, we must draw the line at reuse and refurbishment of our product.

Based on past precedents, reuse and repair of products made in first world countries has sometimes led to reduced purchases of our goods in "good enough" markets.  Self sufficiency, through repair and reuse, will break the chain of our relationships with mining and resource rich nations in the third world.

In order to preserve the important relationships rich countries have engendered with consumer nations, we have taken unilateral steps to seize used goods purchased by Africans and other emerging markets, shipped from ports in the European Union and other OECD nations.

Please, respect the relationships we have developed.   The role of the developed nations is to brand and resell to your nations at an added value which allows us to source raw materials from your mines.  Self sufficiency, through reuse and repair, sets a dangerous example which will threaten the growth of our super rich original equipment manufacturing (who outsource assembly to you as well) corporations.


First World Management

Interpol's Sending Africa "Back to Eden"

INTERPOL targets foreign trade Between Europe, Africa (Lyons, France)

"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice" - Senator Barry Goldwater
Back-wards To Eden.  
I am well aware that white people using the word "racist" are vulnerable to being ignored.  We just don't get it, my African friends and me.  40 businesses arrested, goods seized.  USA laws proposed to outlaw trade between us.   Study after study shows that the African entrepreneurs have no financial incentive to pay for the import of junk.   Studies show that the "e-waste dumps" filmed by do-gooders from IFIXIT to Pieter Hugo depict mainly African electronics, used by Africans for years, sometimes "traded in" for newer used models, sometimes collected from the streets by scrap dealers (the same as rag pickers and newspaper drives collected recyclables from the alleys of New York, Philadephia, or Boston).

Anyone who has lived in Africa knows that a family without formal education dreams of a handful of jobs for their kids.  Agriculture (e.g., Fair Trade Coffee picked "by hand"), the army, and working for a multinational like Exxon or Nike, those are considered the "good" jobs.

Poaching elephant tusks, gorilla hands, bushmeat hunting, sex tourism, drug smuggling, and using toxic mercury to delve the rivers for gold... those are the jobs I'd want my kids to avoid.

Of all these jobs, of all the resource-curse jobs, the globalist sweat shop jobs, the finite material mining, the pollution, of all these ways for Africans to earn income, David Higgins of Interpol in Lyons, France, has elevated one of them to criminality.

Reuse and repair of used electronics.   That's the bad one.

There's a new idea circulating in Europe for Africa's future.   "Back to Eden".

Here's the thing.

used outfit:  confiscate
I need TWO HANDS to count the number of my friends who have lost 30-60% of their life savings, who have been arrested, or whose goods have been labelled as "toxic", despite the fact that these people cherry pick like all hell, and all of them refuse 90% of the material that comes through our door.

Yet I have never, ever, been questioned on the 90% of junk, toxic, crap, obsolete material that I ship to white people.

So please someone, explain this "Eden" solution to me.  I'm listening.



Interpol is still at it.  They seized 240 tons of used electronics, and announced it is "Waste", seized it.

Has Interpol tested the equipment?

Or is it enough, based on Interpols stunning, possibly racist report of 2009, that the goods were exported by Africans who live in Europe, who paid for the material, which showed "organization", and therefore "organized crime".

Meet the kind of people Interpol is arresting.

INTERPOL operation targets illegal trade of e-waste in Europe, Africa

The first INTERPOL operation targeting the illegal trade of electronic waste saw the seizure of more than 240 tonnes of electronic equipment and electrical goods and the launch of criminal investigations against some 40 companies involved in all aspects of the illicit trade.

Held in November and December 2012, Operation Enigma saw the participation of police, customs, port authorities and environmental and maritime law enforcement agencies in seven European and African countries. The operation aimed to identify and disrupt the illegal collection, recycling, export, import and shipping of discarded electronic products such as computers, televisions and other electronic devices, before they are dumped in landfills or other sites where they can cause severe environmental harm.

Checks were conducted at major ports in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in Europe, a region considered to be a common source of electronic waste being shipped internationally, and in Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria in Africa, a region considered to be a destination for this waste. Almost one-third of the checks resulted in the discovery of illegal electronic waste. 

The operation saw many coordinated actions between the participating countries. For example, Belgian authorities seized and returned to the Netherlands some 100 tonnes of illegal e-waste. This information was shared with the Intelligence and Investigation Service of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, the Dutch Police and the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Operation Enigma also uncovered evidence of new concealment methods used by individuals and companies implicated in the illegal trade of electronic waste. This information will help the international law enforcement community work towards the elimination of these illegal activities.

“Following INTERPOL's Operation Haz in 2009 and 2010, which targeted the illegal transportation of hazardous material, Operation Enigma is a new example of INTERPOL's continued efforts to fight all types of transnational pollution crime,” said David Higgins, Manager of the INTERPOL Environmental Crime Programme. “When it comes to electronic waste, the destination countries bear a disproportionate burden, and we aim to support them as they develop the necessary means to deal with it.”

“Addressing the illegal trade of electronic waste calls for substantial cooperation between exporting and destination countries. Operation Enigma showed the international community that there is substantial will among the member countries to cooperate in order to keep ahead of this modern threat to our environment and global security,” added Marco Araújo de Lima, Operations Manager of the Environmental Crime Programme.

Operation Enigma falls under the Environmental Crime Programme's soon-to-be-launched Project Eden, which aims to support countries as they tackle the illegal transnational trafficking of hazardous waste through multi-agency interventions and intelligence-led practices.

Best regards / Cordialement / Atentamente / مع التحية

INTERPOL Environmental Crime Programme
INTERPOL General Secretariat
200, Quai Charles de Gaulle
69006 Lyon - France

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Corrective and Preventative Action (CAPA)

Our company just went into an environmental "Surveillance Audit" for R2.  Some advice for people who are getting certified, or thinking about getting certified...

The temptation is to think that on the second audit, you've done this before.  You got the initial certification, you think that's the hard part.  No.   Joining the Army is the easy part.  Staying in the Army is the hard part.

When you think about it, there aren't too many economic incentives to keep someone out of a certification, whether it's E-Stewards, or R2, or ISO, etc.  What the company is signing up for is a process.  It's like joining a church, it's not about your past sins, it's about your commitment to being better.

What happened prior to our Surveillance Audit was that I took two trips to the Southwest (things are heating up at Retroworks de Mexico, despite the snow down there) and left people I trust in charge.  They have earned my confidence, as in confidence to do what I've trained everyone is our culture to do.

Efficiency, Good Work, Value, Accountability.  Get 'Er Done, combined with Know-How.

In that vein, everybody at the plant was motivated, without me telling them so, to make the place ship-shape.  We were proud of our company, and open to the audit with open arms.  A special clean up crew was assigned room by room to make sure everything was swept up and ship shape.

Well, we do "batch work" a few times a year.   Like we let the projection tubes build up until there will be enough of them to actually fill barrels with ethyl glycol.  If you do them as they come in, a few per day, you tie up more floor space with 1/8 full barrels which are actually more susceptible to spills than the projection tubes they were stored in.  So it makes sense, operationally, to store up 30 gaylords of the projection tubes when things are busy in the summer, and to keep people employed in the winter by draining them in a batch.

LCDs are similar.  In the first batch, you test working.  In the second batch, of the ones not working, you examine for capacitors and other "easily" repairable problems (for those in the know).  In the third batch, you leave for last the de-manufacturing of the busted-up-beyond-hope LCDs that need demanufacturing.

You are proud of the quality of your reuse.  We are led to believe, and it's true, that a lot of companies will sell the LCDs "as is" in a mixed lot.  Economically, you can "externalize" the cost of the LCD demanufacturing if you use the reuse value of the working and repairable to make the other LCDs tag along, as "toxics along for the ride".   So we haven't been doing that, we are proud to be tackling the hardest part of the work during the R2 winter surveillance audit.

So you've got a couple of people doing something new, something they aren't as experienced in, in the "batch work".  And you have a crew of eager clean up guys, circling around, trying to make the place look neat and orderly before the auditor arrives.


That was the thin ice.