Has Robin Turned into an Apologist for Bad E-waste?

During the past 10 years, my posts and articles have gone from mainly critical of "toxics along for the ride", aimed at villain "sham" recyclers, to being mainly defensive of the Technicians overseas who are having their businesses attacked inappropriately by well-intentioned environmentalists.

I've directed most of my fire lately at people in leadership positions, who should really know better than to describe contract manufacturing factories as polluters.  But I'm not happy being so critical of an environmental movement which, for the most part, has the finest possible intentions.  And we all agree that shipping junk to people who don't want it and cannot deal with it is a bad, bad thing.

I'm not against interracial marriage.  I'm against abusive relationships.  To the degree people are marrying someone from a lower caste in order to take advantage of weakness, I'm against that.  I just don't think you ban marriage outside of race, class, or nationality as a response to anecdotes of spousal abuse.

My company domestically recycles - tears down, scraps - more than 75% of the product we collect.  And we are hurt when competitors who export junk underbid us, or fail to pay the piper for the cost of properly recycling that junk.  Why aren't we getting along better with environmetalists?

It's a sad state of affairs, really. As I fly to Los Angeles, the ISRI convention, I don't know for sure what I'll learn.  I do believe in fair trade recycling, I do believe that it would be easier to pay geeks overseas to more carefully recycle the junk than it will be to teach USA shredders to repair fans on laptops.  My company may have to give up, drastically reduce our exports for reuse, stop paying Mexican Chicas to do proper dismantling of junk TVs. 

All because VPIRG doesn't have the time to understand what we are doing, and BAN wouldn't return messages or stop their hostile descriptions of geeks at "SKD" factories.  I just keep hoping the Economist or Fareed Zakaria or Tom Friedman - someone who will understand the "Motherboard" article, will come rescue us.  CBS could come do a follow up.   Or Fox or WSJ could do an expose on 60 Minutes not following up.

Americans resemble the brooms from the socerers apprentice, filing in and demanding working and repairable computers be destroyed.  Recycling jobs are good jobs in Africa, and tech repair jobs are great jobs.  All we have to do is take responsibility and pay fair terms so that they don't cut corners.  I feel like the first preacher in my home state of Arkansas to perform an interracial marriage.

1 comment:

Adam Minter said...
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