WR3A: Virtual E-Scrap Conference

The California Compromise "e-waste" policy meeting which WR3A is holding at the E-Scrap Conference in New Orleans this September has a lot of confirmations of attendence, and a couple of notable absentees.   In order to make the critical mass, we are now working on getting a v-conference going, perhaps using Skype orWebex or Oovoo to bring "virual participation".  Details coming.

For personal as well as virtual-attendees, we actually have an impressive list, and will probably have to turn people away based on room size.  Some requests to attend have been from people new to the debate, and we have to expect attendees to be fluent in basic concepts:

  • California SB20
  • California ARF
  • Vacuum 
  • Cathode Ray Gun
  • Cancellation
  • Redemption
  • Refurbishment
  • Contract Manufacturing
  • Stewardship
  • Digital Divide
  • Basel Convention
  • CRT Rule
If you are excited or curious about the meeting and will be at the E-Scrap Conference, get in touch with me via the blog and we can see if you can try out to join the august list of September attendees.

We have many notable "E-waste Celebrities" joining in person:  Jim Puckett and Jim Lynch, Willie Cade and Katie Sindig, Ramzy Khahat and WR3A board members, along with some CA SB20 processing companies (those who would prepare CRTs for reuse according to export for reuse standards to be agreed on unanimously by R2 and E-Stewards, for the purpose of CA which applies neither reuse standard.

Among international (demand side) buyers, I was ready to fund E-Scrap conference fees and even flights for others, including Allen Liu and Ow Young Su Fung (executives of the contract manufacturing program with legal import permit in Asia, which has gone through several ISO14001 and ISO9000 and WR3A audits), and the Egyptians who buy refurbished CRTs from the factory for sale to Cairo university students (former med school students who also set up hospitals and health agencies).  We had Paul Jhin, the former USA Peace Corps deputy administrator who has been our contact with Korean experts and the United Nations GAID "digital divide" project, who we hope to supply 20,000 working computers per year out of California if this is reformed.  Ed Brzytwa of USA Trade Office, formerly with Department of Commerce, is an expert in the refurbishing field and "cores" treaties... We could have had a big party.

Unfortunately, neither CalRecycles, California Dept. of Toxic Substance Control, nor outgoing term-out Governor Arnold Schwartznegger has offered any prospect of attending the meeting, and I cannot justify the expense of paying conference fees for 11 people (as I did in Glendale AZ) if the key decision makers are not present.  And I do not have confirmation from Columbian singer Shakira or Governor Arnold (see below).

What I can do is set up a video teleconference for the international attendees and California decision yet-to-makers.  I am exploring this today and tomorrow.  I have already used some of this technology, e.g. with Investors Circle (my company was a finalist for angel capital spending program a year ago).  With this technology, we can bring face to face "meet the exporters" system for Egyptian, Peruvian, Mexican, Malaysian, Indonesian and Taiwanese buyers of CRT display units.

The international buyers WR3A networks with don't want to buy from sham exporters, they REALLY don't!!!  But they see E-Steward companies putting in shredding equipment which destroys the repairable equipment they NEED.   They are coming to the conclusion that they have two choices:  accept "toxics along for the ride" from "sham recyclers" with some good stuff, or lay off their employees and leave their nations barefoot and pregnant until they can afford LCDs - with the money they don't have.

I will also invite the Columbian singer Shakira to attend the conference in New Orleans personally, on behalf of her Barefoot Foundation and "Flagship School" program.  I would like to link this with UNGAID (which is already met with WR3A) and CCDs (California Compromise Dudes).  She brings amazing insight into developing world issues (she has her own foundation on the subject), she understands MY audience of soccer fans in port cities, and she is incredibly attractive.   As long as I am requesting California to take seriously the fact that the state is destroying 9,000 CRTs per DAY with ZERO TESTING and ZERO REUSE and then calculating the fair cost of recycling (SB20 reimbursement) based on the fact they had ZERO REUSE in the past years, they will always calculate that they must pay enough to break the CRT and always make the rule you must break it to be paid.

So we have agreement (in principle) between BAN and ISRI and R2 and WR3A and NRDC that reuse can be done legally and in a fair trade, non-polluting way.  That is major.   We have willing buyers and willing sellers.  We have economists who studied this and agree that breaking good stuff creates a vacuum which suck bad stuff.  There are only two challenges remaining:

1)  Getting one simple definition changed in CA SB20 ("cancellation" definition)
2)  Getting Shakira to open my email and confirm she will attend the meeting in person in New Orleans

After 4 years working on the first, I am not taking bets which is more likely to occur between now and September 29.  But if I can get Shakira to offer a lap dance to Schwartzenegger at the meeting, it will be standing room only, which seems about as likely to resolve as any of this other BS and posturing.

Man, I love love love African guitar.   I was so damn hooked on the stuff, I didn't realize it until I returned from Peace Corps and found myself out desperately seeking a Soukouss Fix.

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Carol Baroudi said...

Robin, Please elaborate on "The international buyers WR3A networks with don't want to buy from sham exporters, they REALLY don't!!! But they see E-Steward companies putting in shredding equipment, and they are coming to the conclusion that they have two choices: accept "toxics along for the ride" or lay off their employees and leave their nations barefoot and pregnant until they can afford LCDs - with the money they don't have."

Where do you see e-Stewards shredding toxins into the mix - strictly against e-stewards standards - please be explicit - I'd like to see this corrected.

Robin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin said...

Carol, I'm afraid you've misunderstood what I've written. E-Steward are not shipping TAR. But if they export "no intact units" rather than test (not required, but most common in practice), then where do importers get what they need? My theme is that more exports are needed than "stewards" are willing to send. Again, I accuse most stewards of NOT exporting. In a way, I think you help to make my point, that communications with importers has been lacking.

George Laing said...

If there is anyone who has to be invited to this conference on e-scrap then it has to be Mike Anane the world renowned Ghanaian e-waste campaigner. I have read a lot about him and also seen videos about his work on e-waste infact there is so much about him on the internet and the work he is doing to combat the illegal shipments and dumping of e-waste in developing countries. He has a wealth of information and knowledge on the subject that will be beneficial to us all. It will be good to have him join the panel. Check out the links below for more about Mike Anane and his e-waste campaign. http://svtoxics.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/mike-anane-interview/





Robin said...


I have met Mike Anane of Ghana, and also the Ghana EPA director, Lambert Faabeluon. I have introduced Faabeluon to Frederique Somda, the former Attorney General of Burkina Faso, who wrote a guest blog here about his 6 month research with WR3A. This particular meeting is about a specific CRT remanufacturing process, at the original CRT assembly factories (where the monitors were made), which BAN.org agrees there can be a process to legally accomplish. This isn't about dumping. The fear that the factory takeback program will be the same thing that Anane photographs in Ghana is what results in California destroying working monitors in a process even BAN says is wasteful and wrong.