While your average environmentalist pontificates on the Boston Globe allegation that CRTs exported to Indonesia are 80% bad vs. the recycler claiming they are 90% good, here is a real story about the real issue in Indonesia.

NPR's Living On Earth reporter Ingrid Lobet visited the forests in Indonesia, and documented not only that cutting down the rain forest eliminates trees that consume carbon, but how it exposes centuries of peat which by itself belches carbon into the atmosphere.

The "burning environmental issue" is the rain forest and coral reefs, which are headed down the path of the Mediterranean shores (Turkey used to have redwood-forest scale timber, and the Adriatic sea was once teeming with life).  Mining lead or tin or copper to make new electronics is not happening much in the developing world - it happens in Indonesia.

Some environmentalists are making the story about the negatives of the most sustainable alternative jobs Indonesians have - reuse and repair and refurbishment and recycling.   Recyclers are not the bad guys.   Let's cut the friendly fire.  Basel Convention explicitly allows the factory refurbishing which is done in Indonesia, the allegation that it is all bad stuff does not hold water (who pays 7000 per container to ship junk?), and the outcome is a ban on exports.

A ban on exports increases mining and destroys rain forests.

Holy moly.  NRDC, Obama, Greenpeace!  Stop with the friendly fire!  Help us raise the standards of recycling through fair trade, allow the reuse and refurbishment to make recycling more affordable, and make recycling the hero that it is - an alternative to mining and forestry.  Here I am in a picture with an E-Steward and a University Recycling Coordinator for California, inside one of the refurbishing factories that indisputably refurbish CRTs that Americans are throwing away.  How can Natural Resources Defense Council not at least step in and explain that the reuse exists, and then oppose it ... heck, I don't know why they oppose it.  Maybe because they got some money from someone who invested a few million in a CRT crusher in the USA.  No... that would be cynical.   Surely not.   Really, it's because they don't believe the factories exist, right?  I sent them a letter last week offering to take NRDC on a tour of the factories, no response yet.

No comments: