Basel Action Network responds to our Blog : )

Reprinted from E-Scrap News, our industries leading journal. E-Scrap News (below), which had printed one of our blogs as an opinion piece last month ("We shouldn't have to make that choice").

The Basel Action Network (BAN) took issue with many claims made in an opinion piece published in the December's issue of E-Scrap News, authored by Good Point Recycling and American Retroworks owner and CEO, and fervent re-use advocate, Robin Ingenthron, calling them "false and damaging to our integrity." In his Talking Points piece, Ingenthron, who is also the founder of The World Reuse, Repair and Recycling Association (WR3A), raised his concerns about the effect BAN's e-Stewards certification program would have on refurbishment.

BAN refutes claims by Good Point Recycling

BAN's executive director, Jim Puckett, noted that the editorial had several factual inaccuracies, and says Ingenthron admitted to them in a series of communications with BAN. "Mr. Ingenthron admitted to BAN, after publication, that he had not understood the membership of the e-Stewards recyclers he reviewed in his article," says Puckett. "He confused the list of 41 licensed recyclers with the 14 e-Steward Founders that helped fund the program."
At the time of his writing, Ingenthron was not yet aware of the latest clarifications by convention stakeholders with regard to exports of e-waste for repair. "Robin admitted he knew nothing of the Guideline on Transboundary Movement produced by the Mobile Phone Partnership Initiative (MPPI) of the Basel Convention," says Puckett, "and he accused BAN of creating its own interpretation of the Convention."
"The truth is Robin has been trotting out his own very self-serving interpretation of the Basel Convention," Puckett continued, "unaware that the Basel Parties have carefully examined the issue and created guidelines that refute his notion that export for repair is outside of the Convention."
In clarifying the MPPI Guideline negotiations, Puckett says that all of the Basel Parties at the table agreed that whenever an export takes place for repair and hazardous parts are discarded during repair, then they fall under the Convention. BAN incorporated that guidance now adopted by 172 countries into the e-Steward Standard.
In one particularly contentious part of his original Talking Points editorial, Ingenthron accused BAN of being responsible for Malaysia's decision last year to prohibit importation of U.S. CRT glass. Puckett contests that claim, making available a letter which shows that he had instead offered Malaysia a legal way to continue such import, but Malaysia refused to accept it.
"Robin is a re-use crusader and that's responsible and we respect that," says Puckett. "But, at the same time, he refuses to accept the international rules of the road, and that is not responsible and we cannot respect that."
For a complete list of BAN concerns with Robin Ingenthron's Talking Points opinion piece:
More information from Ingenthron's perspective can be found on his blog, Good Point Ideas Blog.

What is good about this? GLASNOST! BAN has successfully tarred USA EPA, UNCTAD, ISRI, and R2 Practices with a broad brush of accusations, including self interest and indifference to the poor.   But it is true that too many of the companies which are "following" BAN principles are just crushing everything up, leaving demand to be filled by a mix of good and bad and indifferent suppliers.

BAN stated that a new "mobile phone partnership" initiative trumps The Basel Convention's own Annex IX.

If that is true, and if this is BAN's chief argument against EPA, R2, ISRI, and UNCTAD, it raises a couple of questions. 

Why did BAN oppose this interpretation of Basel Convention Annex IX before the Mobile Phone Partnership Initiative meeting? 

BAN opposed the Annex IX language, making export for Reuse and Refurbishment of electronic assemblies including CRTs legal, and which recognizes that some Parties to the convention "consider these items to be commodities and not wastes" in writing before the MPPI ever started.

Should the USA or any country ratify a treaty which can be changed afterwards via a working paper by a small group of insiders?   Should our nation be bound by a treaty we sign with makes a rule about something -e.g. repair and refurbishment of CRTs - if that treaty is later changed by a small meeting about cell phones which now "trumps" the treaty language itself?

Why, for the past 8 years, has BAN opposed companies which are removing, crushing, and responsibly recycling two out of three monitors and TVs if their chief argument is "hot off the presses" (a meeting about cell phones)? 

Environmentalism meets McCarthyism? Or the Dennis Moore sketch from Monty Python?

When McCarthy tried to go on the attack once more, Welch stepped in again and famously rebuked:

"Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild...Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

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