Good Point Recycling continues to partner with Retroworks de Mexico, both in cross training and shipping. Because the SEMARNAT has not yet re-approved our permit to recycle the CRT glass in Mexico, we must re-transit the intact CRTs back to the USA for final recycling... this has made us more careful to send refurbishable, repairable and working equipment from Vermont, which RDM can use as a good unit to exchange for a clunker generated by Mexicans in Mexico.
The EPA Border 2012 program was going to give us $84,750 for this project, but it got put on ice. Communication with EPA has been awkward. I'd like to get someone to look at the diagram of how the work can still be done legally without Mexico smelter being the final destination, but everyone is afraid to be caught nodding, as e-waste at the agency has been kind of transferred to a new "environmental justice" department... I kind of have faith the RPCVs in that department are going to see the light, that we WANT fair trade programs to be developing in poor areas, and that the export of relatively nicer stuff in return NOT for top dollar but in return for environmental efforts and improved standards is the best idea out there. Damn, it's the ONLY idea out there besides boycott-and-pretend-we-are-repairing-in-USA, and telling the poor people in Mexico to 'leapfrog' us. "Because we no longer distribute computers for your internet cafes, you will more quickly get laptops". Oh sure, that follows. Cowardly ass covering is not my style, I'm going to get my hands dirty and be a "Recycler Without Borders".
Anyway, here in the trenches of Vermont, our friends are working hard and playing hard. In the second half of this slide show are some of the fun weekends we have had, bringing Mariano, Panchito, and Dominita to Boston, Cambridge, Stowe, Quechee Gorge, and wrapping up at the Bristol-Lincoln waterfalls. Mariano and I played a hilarious prank on Domi and Panchito today - I had emptied my pockets and was standing fully clothed with my back to the cliff over the water, and Mariano, camera in hand, was motioning me with his other hand, "back farther"... until I screamed and fell backwards off the bluff into the 9' deep pool under the waterfall. Poor Domi didn't see it was a setup and was imploring Mariano to jump in and rescue me. We laughed so hard all the way home. And kept laughing spontaneously through dinner.
This is fair trade. These Mexicans are our friends, and they are just as good, and at some things better at what they do, as the gringo staff. This partnership with a women's coop, in charge of all the activity in Mexico, is nothing but good and legal for everyone. The grant would have been really nice. EPA? Talk to me baby. Our paperwork with the smelter was set back when our attorney, Marco Antonio Armendariz, was assassinated (a crime covered by NPR). But with the maquila re-transiting the intact Crts back to the USA for processing, we could have still held the one-day events in Mexico and handed out the refurbished computers which our partner CCLAC has ready. BAN would like us to make Retroworks de Mexico an E-Steward, we'd like to get R2 certified... but our credit card interest has been jacked up over 20% because of the recession.
The Mexico smelter will be awesome when it begins using CRT cullet to replace the 220 tons per day of leaded cullet it now mines from mountainsides, but that would indeed be final recycling of the CRT in Mexico, something we cannot again legally do. But we ARE permitted to test and repair TVs and computers, and we ARE permitted to demanufacture them to return the CRT to the USA. The Mexico Ibarrola or customs office does not consider those CRTs to have been imported. And to our credit, when we DID have the permit from the USA to end-of-life the CRT glass, we did NOT break any of it while completing the legal paperwork for Mexico. We have been wearing suspenders and a belt.
This is mostly the fault of the person who shot our lawyer, for who knows what reason, and the fault of communications between EPA and Mexico SEMARNAT being so bad that we cannot distinguish between re-transit to USA and recycling / final disposal. The Border 2012 guy even wrote that he saw a picture of Ms. Vicki and she wasn't repairing, she was demanufacturing. She demans the bad ones we collect in Mexico, we have 30 employees, only 5 are in the video... the refurbishing people (mostly plugging in and gee, it works) are not in that film! And you never called me to ask, I just get an apparent rejection email...
I know the history of the Border2012 grant program. This could have been one of the best stories EPA has ever had to tell. PBS, NPR Marketplace, Living on Earth, Sacramento Bee, and AP have all been down and checked it out; we were a finalist for Investors Circle. BAN's biggest donor, Joshua Mailman, even called to check out whether we were investable. This is the real McCoy. I'm trying to do the right thing here, both by people and by the environment. I cannot pull the plug on these ladies, but financing this e-waste thing is getting pretty near impossible.
Sorry to be a crybaby. Enjoy the slides. We sort out the working TVs by type and upgrade small hotels owned by people from India who cannot afford LCDs in the hotel rooms. The Vermonters and Mexicans and Indians and Malaysians and Egyptians are going to get together.
Beads. Pottery. Rings.