e-Waste Prediction: e-Watch for the e-words "Up To"

The study by Pradesh/Manhart, the study by Williams/Kahhat, WR3A's data, the study by the UN (showing most informal sector e-scrap is "domestically generated", not imported, in developing countries), and some upcoming research from MIT, is all closing in on one basic fact.

It is a Myth that 80% of USA used electronics exports are junk.

Since we have repeatedly asked for the source of the oft-printed 80% statistic, and have found only circular references (BAN citing a journalist in Ghana, the journalist citing BAN), we think this stat needs a fork stuck in it, it's done.

What I predict is that BAN and ETBC will begin to insert the words "up to" in front of the 80% statistic.  I'm sure there's been a load that was 80% junk, so that would be a correct statement.   Let's just remember, you saw it here first.

I'll try to follow up and post some links to the studies above, but am on my way to NYC in a truck... starting NOW.


Adam Minter said...

Robin -

Glad you are blogging this. I looked into it a few years ago, and my conclusion was that the source of the bogus 80% number is BAN's 2002 study and film, "Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia." It claimed the percentage by citing "very knowledgeable and informed industry sources." Who are those sources? According to endnote #41, those sources are: "Telephone Interview with Mike Magliaro, Life-Cycle Business Partners."

That's all. That's it. One guy. Does he work the industry? Yes. Is he in a position to make that kind of claim? No way.

Elaine Magliaro said...

I'd like to know how Adam can be sure that Mike Magliaro was not in a position to "make that kind of claim." Lauren Roman, an industry expert--like Mike--collaborated with him on that estimate.