Yesterday I wrote about the discovery that a "bad" exporter, one with no CRT glass recycling, was sending "man and van" operations to cherry pick our clients. He's a "Seventy Percenter", he gets away with exports because 70% of the stuff is acceptable, and he sends so much of it that the importers cannot afford to cut him off unless some good guys replace his supply. If it's more than 30% bad, the waste cannot pay for the transport. But Recycler C, we'll call him, is a Cherry Picker with a plan.
I should have mentioned that the Recycler C man-and-van cherry picking was going on primarily at the accounts of the "no intact unit" recycler, Recycler A, the one we were delivering CRT tubes to, the one which called our Recycler B operation "China Dick" because we exported some of our product (the good stuff, described yesterday). Since Recycler A had no experience exporting any monitors, he didn't care that the monitors he was collecting were all junk (after Recycler C's man-and-van had cherry picked them). He would never have noticed, like we did, that the units he was getting were all Apple, Sun, trinitron, non-refurbishable, since he never made an effort to sort those "e-waste" units out. All he does is recycle ewaste, so he doesn't know reuse is missing from his supply.
He probably thought we were all collecting the same junk CRTs he was seeing. He probably looks down his nose at our company, since we were exporting "some" of them, but thought we were not quite as bad as Recycler C's Scrappy Man and Van Man, who was exporting all of them. He probably really thinks he's better than either of us because he exports none of them.
Recycler C, Scrappy Man and Van Man, probably thinks he is smarter than the rest of us because he gets to export all of his monitors, by collecting the good ones from Recycler A accounts (without recycler A noticing) and from my accounts (which I definitely notice).
There is a fourth type of recycler, Recycler D, who goes only after off-lease equipment. All fairly new stuff. No fur on his meat, we say. He can export most of it because he doesn't get much non-working and non-repairable stuff. He can go to ENORMOUS lengths to recycle, with "suspender and a belt" the few bad CRTs he winds up with. He can afford a billion dollar insurance policy. If he never manages collections from a municipality, he will have fewer junk TVs. First in line to be R2 certified, NAID certified, etc. A healer of the healthy.
Recycler D - If you avoid accepting junk, you can export "acceptably clean" loads
Recycler A - If you let a cherry picker pick good units upstream, you will be convinced nothing is exportable
Recycler C - If you buy good material and mix it in, you can dilute to an "acceptably clean" load
These are the competitors to a Recycler B, like Good Point Recycling. We are not bad mouthing others, really. They all occupy a niche. For us, since we are in a rural area, it's important that we get every single client in order to cover our overhead. We make sure every single client sends us every single unit. But arguably, in a big city, you are doing just fine with Recycler A crushing up bad stuff and Recycler C cherry picking the good stuff.. And before you say that Recycler C is a bad guy, consider that he is rescuing good units from the Recycler A meat grinder. Recycler D is standing on the sidelines of the "management" of the bad stuff.
In none of these scenarios is anyone doing what BAN describes, shipping 75% or 80% toxic ewaste along for the ride. That load could not pay for its own transport, and there is no niche for anyone in that business... with one possible exception.
One rumor going around was that a large recycler / exporter had gotten ahold of some submarine tracking equipment, mixed it under e-scrap, and sold it for $400k. That would float a lot of junk. Harley Davidsons and Mercedes are more reliable anecdotes. If you put a million dollar item in the sea container, you can pay for a lot of e-tech e-junk e-waste confetti to drape over it. The FBI and UN enforcement agencies are looking for this guy, who isn't really a recycler at all. He's an arms dealer, drug dealer, counterfeiter, using recycling as a cover.
China is trying to resolve this "Recycler F" problem by going to rules requiring uniform loads. If the import is all one material, it solves two problems - less opportunity to mix in waste and (much, much more importantly) fewer nice things that come in without tariff.