Another Recycling Blog Discovery: India Girl

Yet ANOTHER blogger find.   India In Images has photos from an arist/photographer, a person without an incentive or an axe to grind.

I hope that independent bloggers will find each other and share the good side of the recycling story... or at least an honest side which does not earn $$$ from pictures of stereotypes.  What I am certain of, based on my many travels, is that the folks here would rather sort "waste" from rich people than sort "waste" from poor people.  Rich people throw nice stuff away, and the bad stuff recycles the same as raw materials from poor people.  Kindly pocket your white guilt, let's move on with "fair trade recycling"

Nothin in this world will stop me worrying about that girl

E-Waste Field Bloggers Play Atticus Finch

The truth about reuse and recycling is starting to come out everywhere.  Lisa P. Jackson in Ethiopia, Atlantic Monthly series, Meltwater Academy in Ghana, my own contribution to Motherboard.   The Ghana research released by StEP, the papers published by Eric and Ramzy at ASU.   Adam Minter of ShanghaiScrap and I have discovered each other.  NPR, PBS, AP.  Charles Brennick of, another RPCV, is corresponding regularly.   {copy and paste any of these into "search" at right}

Clearly Fair Use Image taken off by NGO?  What are they afraid of??
Like the "Arab Spring", the truth about Geeks of Color is catching up fast on the "McCarthy Campaign against e-waste".

People are pushing back against the labels, against the "crime" of "Recycling while Poor".  We feel traction.  We are all Fair Trade Recycling.

Yesterday I discovered a new window, TechTravels blog (wordpress).  It's mostly photos from Asia, very similar to the pictures I took in Guangzhou, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. on my first visits to "Geeks of Color".  It's done by an artist, not a tech writer, but the pictures tell a thousand words.   It's an OUTSTANDING rebuttal to the "Guiyu" story.

About TechTravels

This blog deals with some of unintended effects of the collision between culture and technology. These pages will be dedicated in particular to the repair, mod and hack ecosystems that have sprung up around consumer electronics in developing countries.
As an interaction designer and one of the principal founders of Blendid, David Kousemaker researches this topic from a designer/maker perspective.

On the "Product Stewardship" guest blog a couple of months ago, Sarah from posted a blog with pictures of dirty looking cell phone repair shops.  I wondered, what are they doing there?  What's bad?  I wanted to ask whether this was another example of the crime of "recycling while poor"... but since she had photos and had been there and I hadn't, I kept my mouth shut.
Ok, where's the lighter fluid? NGO Censorship

Now look at these photos from TechTravels, same cell phone recycling... but much more detail, many more photos, and TECHNICIANS instead of unwashed children.  Suddenly, you see something incredibly different.  Seems BAN may have done the same thing telling the story of cell phone recycling which they did to CBS 60 Minutes, steering them off the real trail to a place without a computer monitor in sight.

I discovered TechTravels via this Nokia blog... itself another contributor to "the rest of the story."  The comments left below that blog are interesting in and among themselves.  Interestingly, a few people think, like I do, that this is cool and sustainable.  Others seem predjudiced to believe that having painstakingly separated these chips (which are reused as components in new assemblies), that surely these poor Chinese just burn them again.

This funny video (originally below, removed because of autoplay issue) shows how a lot of people feel when they learn the truth about "e-waste" recycling in China.  But follow the Nokia blog above, first... much more important a story.

Children's Crusade vs. Terminator? Product Stewardship in Parallel Markets

Won't stop terminating secondary market
R2 Solutions just named its R2 Technical Advisory Council, a new name for something which had been referred to as "R2 Governing Council".  It sounds like a demotion, but that may be a good thing.  

One of the themes of this blog is how righteous ferver - yes, including environmental and social righteousness - can be harnessed like water to turn the mill of of planned obsolescence.   Four points in today's longish blog:

1) Patent Exhaustion Doctrine is Settled Law under ferocious attack
2) Product Stewardship, E-Stewards, and other Watchdogs may not realize their role
3) The unintended consequences on the Parallel Market and environmental sustainability
4) Why Manufacturers should agree with me: Consequences on emerging markets
    If you are a serious environmentalist or scholar, this is worth the read.  If you are here for the music, our first "original" piece (copied from Neil Young) is the post just below... awesome work by Vermont's "Mellow Yellow" cover band in support of the Techs in Egypt.  If you're getting tired of reading about Usama Bin Laden, read both.

    Revolution 2.0 Egypt, Vermont, CSNY

    The link here is too crucial to be written in too many words.

    This is positive if sad feedback to my friends Mohammed, Omar, Hamdy and Essam and their families in Egypt.  I shared the facebook feedback they sent to me to a Vermont film-maker, Ken French.  Ken has a band that covers Neil Young / CSNY songs, and the vibe from Tahir Square was reborn in Burlington Vermont (backstop Middlebury).

    Ken French has been an OUTSTANDING videographer, highly HIGHLY recommended.  The best videos from our Video Link owe thanks to Ken.

    More important than our e-waste politics or ewaste pollution posturing ... reuse creates.  End-of-Life Stewardship laws (so far) destroy.  I hope future environmentalists won't be dissuaded by dialectic. It's healthy, and environmentalists should be keen to see a lot more of that going on.

    EXCERPT From "GOOD" - Bin Laden was an Endangered Species

    A Class of Geography Students Found Bin Laden's Hideout Long Before the CIA

    Believe it or not, two years ago, a class of UCLA undergrads pretty accurately predicted the location where Osama Bin Laden was hiding out.
    The students, working under UCLA geography professors Thomas Gillespie and John Agnew, created a probabilistic model that, as Science Insider reports, said there was "an 88.9% chance that bin Laden was hiding out in a city less than 300 km from his last known location in Tora Bora: a region that included Abbottabad, Pakistan."
    Here's the kicker, though. Gillespie's focus isn't national security or intelligence. He works on ecosystems, and sometimes needs to find where endangered species live using satellite images and remote sensing. He introduced the Bin Laden search as an exercise so his students could practice these techniques. The students used a geographical theory called "island biogeography" to home in on what turned out to be Bin Laden's real hideout.
    Now that his work is being celebrated by the intelligence community, will Gillespie be working with the FBI to track down more of our most wanted? Nope. "Right now, I’m working on the dry forests of Hawaii where 45% of the trees are on the endangered species list. I’m far more interested in getting trees off the endangered species list."

    Read More and Discuss

    Seeing People for what They CAN do

    One of my favorite compliments to Good Point Recycling came from a job counseling service.  We had managed to take on several trainees with long-term unemployment issues.  It has not worked out in every case, but our record was much better than anyone else in the county.  Glenda said we were unique in our ability to imagine people at work, to find a job that the person was able to do... "Good Point has an ability to see people for what they CAN do, not only for what they CANNOT do.  That's rare."

    Multi-Tasking ..."What about me, Papa?"
    This applies to Las Chicas Bravas, our women's coop ewaste "maquiladora" partner in Mexico.  It applies to our trading partners in Africa, Latin America, Mid-east, and Asia.

    I need to remind myself not to close my eyes to the Watchdogs ability.  I had a eureka moment, a leap of faith which said that the California Compromise could be a way we could work together, using California CRT refuribishing to demonstrate to everyone how talented and environmentally sound the Geeks of Color can be when dealt with in a Fair Trade manner.

    Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, Sustainability Warrior

    • As a high school student (Fayetteville, AR 1980) I wrote a letter to Senator Bumpers about reform of the General Mining Act of 1872. I went on to college, but returned from Peace Corps and became active in mining and recycling. Years later, I was informed by someone in a mining reform NGO that Senator Bumpers was a bit of a crusader in mining reform and sustainable mineral policy. I'm now nearing 50, and would kind of like to thank him, and also to know whether my high school letter was written by someone oblivious to the fact the Senator was already on board, or whether my letter... possibly... resulted in representation beyond my wildest imagination. - Robin Ingenthron