CRT Glass and Stewardship

"All my life's a circle. Sunrise and sundown. Moon rolls through the nightime, til the daybreak comes around. All my life's a circle, I can't tell you why. Seasons spinning 'round again, years keep rolling by." - Harry Chapin

To paraphrase, "All my life's a cycle". Here is news about BAN's complaint about a big pile of CRT Glass in Yuma, AZ. CBS local news keeps covering it as an outrage.

The pile is in Arizona, a mining state, and was originally allowed just as mined lead and mined silica would be allowed, under the General Mining Act of 1872. Admittedly a terrible standard, but the AZ DEQ applied the same standard to recycling (secondary material) and mining (primary lead).

The company, Dlubak Glass, is one of a handful which allowed USA companies to pass the "CRT Glass Test", which we created, and which was endorsed by BAN in 2004. Basically, it says if you are skipping the most expensive recycling process - domestic labor and insurance to process the bad CRT tubes - you are likely the source of the junk CRTs sent overseas.

Our company opened a Mexican maquila operation to demanufacture TVs, coverage below (Las Chicas Bravas). My biggest concern before opening the plant was that the CRT glass not accumulate and be unaccounted for. We do NOT want a letter like this enforcement documentation on Dlubak, as filed by the AZ DEQ.

We have a smelter in Mexico taking the glass, but also were encouraged when Samsung began taking the CRT glass for glass-to-glass recycling. Meanwhile, we sent our own VT CRTs to Electronicycle, which was purchased by ERI of Fresno in 2007. ERI is a big Pledge Signer, E-Steward, etc., so we figured we are well covered under that banner.

ERI sent CRT glass to Samsung (the PO we originally opened) and to Dlubak. BAN decided Samsung cannot wash the glass in Malaysia, complained to the Malaysia EPA, and the Samsung import permit was cancelled. That left Dlubak and Mexico.

Now BAN is criticizing Dlubak, and implicitly, ERI, for accumulating the CRT glass.

They don't want it sent to Samsung to make CRTs out of. They don't want shippable quantities prepared as mined silica in AZ. Now our Mexico smelter is getting nervous, will they be the next company attacked? We may lose our purchase order, which we were going to fill... as a test sample... from Yuma.

Now what? This is going to make CRT recycling even more expensive for municipal governments, which will cause legislation to pass mandating manufacturers take the cost, and pass it back to consumers. As part of the bargain, the manufacturers will incorporate anti-reuse (anti-gray market) provisions and erect protectionist sales rules to keep new TV and PC manufacturers out. The cost will be passed to the American consumer. And the recycling costs will make mining more attractive. Remember mining? The source of lead piles all over the west, which bankrupted Superfund?

Meanwhile, this drives the e-waste export business underground, like the war on drugs. I feel like a parent environmentalist surrounded by too many children environmentalists running around with sharp objects.

Listen, they are signing a song of their own...

"The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good!"
"The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good!"
"The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good!"

(sung to the universal tune, "nyah, nyah, nyah-nyah, nyah"

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