Good: Fair Trade Recycling

It's easier to teach someone in a poor country to recycle electronics properly than it is to teach someone in a rich country to repair and reuse electronics they already threw away.

Fair Trade Recycling.

Seeing people for what they can do, not for what they cannot do.

Today's Blog Readers (24 hours, no self-views)

Today's Audience





All time
So far...  China Egypt, Ghana, France, South Africa, Brazil, Israel, Australia were in the top ten last week.
The pages read are most interesting, skip to bottom.  It's interesting to see which articles are 
repeatedly accessed or passed by link in different nations.  Certification is popular as a search term
in the USA, topics about metals more read in China, technical topics in Africa.
2011 Jan 5 14:00 – 2011 Jan 6 13:00
Pageviews by Countries

Multiple Choice Analogy: (Puts The Lotion On The Skin)

Please describe what the video below best represents:

A) OEMs giving more and more new "ewaste" products to consumers?
B) Environmental Watchdog NGOs placing demands on electronics reuse export markets?
3) State government "certification" requirements of "e-waste" recyclers?
D) Exporters selling "e-waste" to foreign recycling staff?
4) None of the above, just a sick and funny video
5) Other (please submit comment).
G) This is obviously a reference to me, and I am DEEPLY OFFENDED by it!!!

I just howled when I saw this.  Had to use it somewhere, but it was a little too wicked to stick to one entity.  Almost as funny as the Tropic Thunder videos, though they are more California-esque.  I originally thought of it when trying to come up with an analogy for "exhausted doctrine".

Patent exhaustion doctrine and personal property rights and Basel

"Quanta, Wistron."

The Jeopardy question:   Which companies makes most Laptops,  Notebooks, and Tablets?

These Taiwanese companies make stuff as contract manufacturers, which Americans recognize by other brand names.  For Quanta (biggest competitor to Foxconn), the devices they manufacture include:
Acer, Alienware, Apple Inc., Cisco, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, Gericom, Casper, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, LG, Maxdata, MPC, Sharp Corporation, Siemens AG, Sony, Sun Microsystems, and Toshiba.
Also noteable for Quanta is the company's role as the "one laptop per child" manufacturer.  These are examples of the companies described in the Harvard Business Review article, "The Battle for China's Good Enough Market."   When a company excels at making a  product which is good enough for a person of modest means (3B3K), they become good at "scale", which will eventually lead to, well, Japan or South Korean economies.  What Honda, Toyota and Datsun did with autos which were "good enough" in the 1970s is happening today with electronics manufacturing.

But perhaps the most important contribution by the Taiwanese company is neither affordable manufacturing, sustainable takeback, nor even one-laptop per child.  In 2008, lawyers for Quanta stood up to massive opposition by monied interests and won a unanimous decision by the USA Supreme Court protecting property owners from "patent" rights, which some people want to extend to working and repairable product... a move I call "obsolescence in hindsight".  The court stood firm on the USA's definition of patent exhaustion doctrine, resisting efforts to extend patents to control personal property in other nations.

E-Waste Barnacles exceed 7,500 in December


Before bragging 7500/mo page reads, we need to recall an old journalism proverb which I first heard from my father (a Journalism professor) and later heard from Andrea Carneiro, then Mass DEP Public Relations guru.  They say about every story which appears in the newspaper:
  • Half the people who got the paper didn't even see the story {IT}.
  • Half the people who saw the story didn't read IT.
  • Half the people who read the story didn't finish IT.
  • Half the people who finished the story didn't understand IT.
  • Half the people who understood  the story didn't agree with IT.

This little proverb helps to explain why pros don't get too excited by headlines, and don't over-react when a critical story appears.

New York Times Sustainable Tech Column

Getting Over Our Two-Year Itch By DAVID POGUE Published: December 31, 2010

     This morning's New York Times article observes the 2-year lifecycle of the cell phone and documents suggestions collected via "twitter" to reduce the consumption cycle.     I can see two possibilities.  Either Radio Shack, Sprint, Gazelle and HP (named for their takeback programs) will create their own refurbishing factories, probably overseas, or entrepreneurs overseas (like WR3A member factories) will collect directly.


First Day of Vermont E-Waste Disposal Ban

Happy New Year.

As of today, it is illegal to dispose of "e-waste" in Vermont.  Of course, most of you haven't been disposing of it anyway.  Vermont already had one of the highest recycling rates per capita in the USA for "e-waste".  Some counties have already had waste bans for several years, and most people here prefer to recycle (or donate their computer for repair and reuse).

In 6 months, the state will take over much of the management of the electronics from the private sector.

To qualify as a vendor for the state program, we are doing the R2 paperwork for our reuse friends and partners overseas.  It's very expensive, but worthwhile.  We need to qualify these overseas companies in order to provide peace of mind to our clients, especially original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) whose programs we manage in Rhode Island, Maine, and New York.

Oddly, when it comes to our home state of Vermont, these R2 certifications of overseas reuse partners are not worth doing.  That's because, in the current draft of the Vermont "E-Waste" Program proposal document, it's like California - anything which is reused is dis-included from the collection fees.  That means that you are collecting material, in a truckload, not knowing what is reusable, and must then track back the weight of anything you sell for refurbishment.  Interestingly, the state law S.77 does not require this, it was created by ANR.  Since non-local reuse is allowed under S.77,  it's probably a big opening for independent plans.

So in other words, the state of Vermont requires us to certify R2 downstream markets if we reuse, but does not allow us to bill for that, only to bill for destruction.   If you did want to bid to be the official state operator, and you want to keep your reuse markets, say in Egypt and Indonesia, here is how it would work: