Blogger V. Twitter - Recycling News Happens Fast [StormX]

There are two reasons why the number of Good Point Ideas blog posts has declined in the past 24 months.

The first relates to an increase in use of Twitter. As I noted 5 years ago, Twitter is misunderstood as a "squawking box". Sure, there's lots of inane squawking on Twitter. But the most important thing on the Twitter site is in the top right hand... the Search Box.

"Following" a thousand people is pretty impossible. I trim it down with a FairTradeRecycling list of twitter posters I follow more closely. But it is the "saved search term" feature that we need to pay attention to. It allows you to get an early scoop... and if it turns out to be clickbait, it's only 160 characters or whatever.

So ten years ago, the incredible idea below would have been subject of a blog, which would take me 45 minutes to write (and if readers are lucky, another hour to re-edit).  Now I post it bam on Twitter.

Storm Water Trash Catch Nets

I saw this on a repost from an old pal Wim Roskam on Facebook, who in turn found it on Architecture and Designs rather cool Facebook page.  The problem with stormwater carried litter is obvious if you've been to an African city like Accra, Lagos, Dakar or Douala.  The litter on the beaches is depressing and ubiquitous, and no amount of white savior plastic straw abstinence is going to save the sea creatures there.

STORMX is the license holder (image above is from North American licensee The net baggies allow water to run through, but catch the debris... which is the actual culprit of urban flooding - falsely blamed on scrappers of Agbogbloshie 40 months ago. 2015 was the same year that Twitter helped a youtube video of a turtle with a straw stuck in its nose go viral... which led to a LOT of journalist ink going into the plastic straw bans.

10 Things we Know about Basel Action Network's "Earth Eye", and 1 We Don't

  1. We know BAN is not placing GPS trackers into any devices that don't LOOK ready to reuse. Not a single CRT or projection TV (over 50% of ewaste) was tracked by BAN, ever.
  2. We know BAN claims to be "cutting wires" to sabotage the devices, which likely get repaired anyway.
  3. We know that BAN controls distribution of who gets what type of device... 14% of all GPS trackers BAN released in Canada went to one guy who had a lawsuit vs. BAN.
  4. We know BAN has a financial interest in the outcome (through E-Stewards) worth millions of dollars.
  5. We know that BAN's press releases interchange their proposed "Ban Amendment", which has not passed, for Basel Convention international law, which allows export for legitimate recycling and repair.
  6. We know that BAN mysteriously "obfuscated" several end points in Asia, when devices arrived at legitimate reuse and legal recycling centers.
  7. We know that BAN picks specific people to accuse, even in cases when that person exported nothing.
  8. We know that BAN profiles the overseas tech sector and reuse technicians as "primitive" and "informal".
  9. We know that the "developing nations" BAN describes as "primitive" had cities with TV stations and millions of households using electricity a half century ago, and produce most of the "ewaste" at their own dumps.
  10. We know that the first instance of GPS tracking, of TVs sold to Nigerian born TV-repairman Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics, led to false testimony ("80% not reused") by the UK prosecutor, and environmental injustice (imprisonment of Benson).

What I can't figure out is why the press gives this organization any ink.

Follow the money. 

This is the To Kill a Mockingbird moment for the environmental community. You either sat by while this NGO made this happen, or you spoke up to #freejoebenson

The Privilege of Being Offended by Appropriation

Living in Vermont, with a wife teaching at Middlebury, and three college kids, I am very aware of political correctness, privilege, and offense.  The "victimhood jujitsu", where something you say or hear puts you or someone else off-balance. The passive aggression, finding subliminal intent where none was on the sayer's mind.

Not that I hold the conservative view... just addressing the educational tactic of reverse-labelling.

Worn to my first recycling job interview
PC culture may be a good thing or a bad thing. But political correctness may have unintended consequences when it emboldens a type of anti-bully, a Madame LaFarge, to call out privileged people for oblique intent. Indeed, some of the political right of Brietbart give credit to liberal college shaming to emboldening them. Like in jujitsu, the left shifts its body weight to anticipate the right's weakness, and the right re-leverages its body weight to counter.

Like sloshing in a bathtub, this kind of immature discussion makes a mess.

Insecurity about our inherited history can cause us to project insecurity onto others. It bears a lesson most societies have taught us to resist.

Panel Discussion - How to Address 4 Weaknesses as a Business Owner

In a couple of hours, I will be sitting on a panel at the 2018 Electronics Reuse Conference. Topic - How to Address Weaknesses as a Business Owner - was the first to tempt me for 5 years.

Good Point Recycling opened in April 2001.  I bought a used truck with a $15k bathroom improvement budget, and didn't hire the first full time employee for 3 years. The first 3 years, I was mostly doing consulting gigs between truck runs. If your weakness is "talking too much", charge by the hour.

I used to speak at conferences pretty often 20 years ago, 15, 10 years ago. But one of the weaknesses I found that we all have is this - speaking to your peers, to other businesspeople, to competitors, etc, sucks. We are all weak when our audience consists of people who know or think they know as much as we do. If they agree, then they sat in a session to hear the obvious. If they disagree, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."  Generally, don't do it. I generally try to refer invitations to WR3A to Tech Sector people from Mexico, Ghana, Malaysia, etc, who really can tell an American audience something they don't know.

This topic, however, is about weaknesses. About addressing my own weaknesses. So I accepted. It should be an opportunity to self-deprecate and tell some funny stories about near-death experiences.
I'll start by acknowledging my survival. We will have a moment of silence for some late, great, fates.  In alphabetical order, here is a list of companies which I'm pretty sure were at one point part of the 10 largest electronics recyclers in the world (or claimed to so be).

Allied - 2006
DMC - 2006
HMR - 2006
Creative - 2014
CRTR - 2015
Eco International - 2013
EWSI / 2TRG / CLRR - 2016
Intercon Solutions - 2013
MPC - 2015
WeRecycle - 2015