A comment left by Jim Puckett of BAN (see comments below for full text) states;
"the "tested, working" way, is not BAN's way, but the correct interpretation of the Basel Convention and "tested, and working" requirements are now being put forth in the new WEEE directive in Europe, in Australian law and will be quickly spreading around the world."
We need to dissect this into two separate discussions, the legal interpretation, and the environmental and social outcome. I'm prepared to argue either way that repair and refurbishment has to be nurtured and supported.
Legally, I have posted the explicit language of the Basel Convention Annex IX several times before, it does not say "tested working" anywhere, and if that is what was meant, why on earth does the convention language specifically say that repair and refurbishment are legal, and that some countries consider the repairable items "commodities and not wastes"? And why then is BAN having to lobby states in the EU and Australia to adapt their "interpretation" if it is so obvious? Jim's own quote above specifically acknowledges that BAN is working on the EU and Australia to adapt a "tested working" standard and acknowledges that this is an "interpretation" of the Convention. The language in section B1110, if it meant tested working prior to export, seems a long way to go about saying "tested working" if that's what is meant.
But we will accept Jim Puckett's affirmation that this is subject to interpretation. Which then is the better interpretation from a social and environmental point of view?
Environmentally, here's the thing: 22.5% of the equipment is repairable and reuseable - that's from domestic municipal sources. If E-Stewards actually wind up testing and shipping 22.5% as working product, I'll embrace it. If the Stewards adapt tested working as a standard, but to not actually hire Americans to repair and test the equipment, and they only wind up shipping off-lease working equipment and shred up all the municipal equipment, then they failed.
There is a slice of humanity, about 3 billion people, earning about $3000 per year, who are gaining internet access at a rate 10 times the rate in the USA.
Probably not by buying new computers. This is about getting them the computers they can afford. I am looking for ways make sure that computers exported for repair have a lower residue rate than tested working shipmnets (no one I know shipping tested working is actually doing the inventory at the receiving end the way we are doing with the factory refurbishing operations). Through proper reuse, repair and refurbishment, we will lower the cost of recycling, reward the "yankee ingenuity" of the developing world, and meet the insatiable demand for internet. If BAN's eSteward standard meets that same demand with working product, we'll learn how they are doing it and join. But if the USA companies meet the standard by grinding everything up in to metals and plastics, refusing to either repair themselves or to allow qualified overseas factories to repair it, then I'm out.
Rare footage of Craig Lorch (Total Reclaim) performing a favorite tune of mine?