|Test in VT, Refurbish in Asia, Sell w/ warranty in Egypt|
I think we've answered the same question about a half dozen times. For the record, before I repeat my answer (in GREEN below), here are the four questions I asked back but did not get a response to yet, but may.. eventually.
(To imagine the conversation a little better, first watch the John Cleese and Manuel duet, from BBC's Fawlty Towers, at bottom)
- What happens if I shred this computer? Will the African get a new one eventually?
- What eventually happens when a brand new computer is donated to the poor country? Should new computers be banned too?
- What happens if people in the poor countries cannot get online? Will they sooner have a recycling infrastructure ten years from now?
- Would the USA live by the standard that you cannot sell technology (think of plasma TVs) until there is a recycling system in place for them? Doesn't supply always precede the recycling investment?
Now, here is OUR ANSWER. In the countries we sell working and reuseable CRTs to, we pay our partners to properly recycle any accidental breakage. And the partners now take back an old junker for every piece they resell for reuse. It's a "Monitors for Clunkers" program, and it resulted in a proper end market where none would have existed had Fair Trade Recycling been stopped.
When people get online, they get information. Like that it is safe to reuse umbilical cord fluids after birth... one of the projects underway at the hospitals our partners provide repaired computers to in Africa. Getting this information out is going to save lives, banning the partner from putting hospitals online until there is a recycling infrastructure... not to put too fine a point on it... has a life or death effect..
So what happens to working used computers "Eventually"? Like John Cleese, I could spend the rest of my life having this conversation.
But it's true these don't last forever. We need to use the reuse value, while it is still there, as an incentive to get the demanufacturing and recycling started within these emerging markets. It is BECAUSE they don't last forever, and won't have value much longer, that we need to use the trade NOW to create the infrastructure the developing world needs. It is AS important that our answer in green means we are setting up e-waste recycling programs INSIDE the developing countries. Watch Attero Recycling of Bombay... but also imagine the strong ladies of Retroworks de Mexico, who did a stellar job without even electricity.
As Cleese's Basel Fawlty says, "Please, Please try to understand before one of us dies..."