"E-Waste" Curveball: Criminalizing by Speed Limit

R2, Responsible Recyclers' Standard, is a 55 MPH speed limit on the highway, 30 MPH city.  It's good enough.

E-Stewards is a stricter standard.   35 MPH highway, 10 MPH city.   E-Steward advocates argue that the problems of pollution and export mean that 55 MPH is not strict enough.  Any standard which is stricter must be better.

Lowering the speed limit will produce more speeders.  Maybe this is how BAN plans to establish that 80% of exports are illegal and polluting - by establishing a standard which only 20% of recyclers can meet.  The outcome of that will be a very small, elite group of recyclers whose primary promotional strategy is to denigrate the competition.

Denigrating and insulting and **^%-mouthing competitors comes naturally to most sales strategists in the early stages of a rapidly emerging market.  But people outgrow this.  Exaggerated, hyperbolic coverage will wear the audience down.

In Vermont, the regulators are trying to have it both ways.  They post that by law you must meet the strictest 30 MPH limit on reuse, but that you can propose an argument that your 55 MPH speed limit is at least as safe as a 30 MPH speed limit.  I've tried to get Vermont to give us until 2012 to prepare such an argument, as it's tricky for our business when the competition says that kids lives are at stake.

Does a 55 MPH standard mean I don't love kids?  Does it mean that I'm callous to the safety of children on crosswalks?  The advocates of the 35 MPH speed limit allege so already - I'm not anxious to rush into a 30 day comment period with someone who already said in an editorial that "fair trade" "poisons people".   They say I don't love my kids, and they say it every day, over and over and over, telling everybody they meet, that I don't love my kids because I think 55 MPH speed limit is safe enough for society.    I got tired of that about 3 years ago.

Eventually, the public also tires of the name-calling and loses interest in the topic.  If both sides are suspected political rhetoric, and overstating their case, a consensus will develop to hire a 3rd party, often a government agency, to study and set the standards.  There will still be some debate, but the pendulum will wobble less dramatically... perhaps between 55 and 65 MPH, not between 35 and 90.

Electronics "ewaste" recycling debate is at this stage now.  The public has general opinions, but the average person has no idea that the same Chinese factory is assembling products for 5 competing brands, and battling for the opinions of the uninformed only works at key election times and voting times (one of the ways referenda create blips of bad policy).   Unless BAN can get the 35 MPH E-Stewards Standard onto a ballot, and amass a campaign to convince people that it MUST be ILLEGAL to RESELL your LAPTOP if it holds only  79% of its original new-in-box battery charge, then the pendulum will continue to slow with the friction of data, dialogue, debate and dialectic.

Because I stood up, here's the message.  Stand up to E-Stewards, and we'll have our 30 MPH standard made law in your state. If they succeed, there's only one solution.  It's called US I-87.

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