Executed Recycling: Colorado Conviction

Claimed Chinks and Gooks were bad
While I'm still on the topic of Environmental Malpractice, let me make the comment that I've never defended the Colorado firm, Executive Recycling, which was nailed by CBS 60 Minutes.

It's called a "straw man" fallacy.  BAN accuses me of supporting a liar, in order to discredit my defense of the truthful person.  I never defended Richter, I did the opposite.  But I defended people buying the monitors that he didn't send, the ones BAN circled in Hong Kong.

What Brandon Richter of CBS Wasteland did was to claim that Chinese were filthy bad recyclers and that people who used his company would know that he didn't export their stuff to China.  He was on the BAN WAGON.  He advertised that he didn't export to China, and represented China as a primitive place.  He was found guilty of FRAUD.

From the BAN Press release:
“For years this company also deceived the public by falsely advertising an environmentally friendly U.S. recycling business plan.  Instead, it regularly exported obsolete and discarded electronic equipment with toxic materials to third-world countries, and took actions to illegally hide these practices from government officials,” federal prosecutors said.  
Correct.  This is what I objected to as well.  But below, the BAN spin begins...
According to BAN, prosecuting the Executive case was very difficult as the Justice Department had to make its case using fraud, smuggling and other charges since U.S. export laws are "vague and ineffective."  BAN is part of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition and theCoalition for American Electronics Recycling which are pressing Congress to pass theResponsible Electronics Recycling Act which would bring the U.S. into compliance with international Basel Convention decisions forbidding export of hazardous electronic waste to developing counties
The company committed fraud.  The Justice Department didn't have to "settle on" fraud because of vague and ineffective rules.  What is "vague" is that most of the people BAN accuses are innocent, and about 80 percent of e-waste exports are either clean disassembly or reuse and refurbishing.  Innocence does get in the way of prosecution, but I wouldn't describe it as "vagueness".

MOST of the CRTs exported to China by MOST companies were for reuse and refurbishing.  It is allowed under Basel Convention Annex IX, and the WTO Agreements China signed prevent China from legally using environmental laws to stop legitimate refurbishing.  But China's government owns CRT furnaces and doesn't want CRT reuse.
Executive Recycling was caught this time,” said BAN Executive Director Jim Puckett, “but it has been almost impossible for the government to prosecute this kind of very common activity due to a lack of appropriate legislation. If we can pass the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act in Congress we could put a quick halt to the horrors of criminal waste trafficking.
HR2284 may put a halt to toxics along for the ride, but it will stop the ride.   The bill is a planned obsolescence wolf in green clothing.  BAN takes money, lots of money, from the shredder companies and planned obsolescence OEMs who seem to like the bad wrap that BAN gives to the Egyptians, Nigerians, and Chinese importers who carefully selected functional and refurbishable display devices for reuse.

The guy in Colorado was convicted of fraud because he's a liar and committed fraud.  He advertised to Coloradans bringing in their used computers that he would NOT export it to China, and in his interview with CBS he threw gasoline on BAN's torching of the refurbishing markets.   His container clearly contained junk and broken CRTs, toxics along for the ride.  He's a big part of the problem.

Below is how I described him in 60 Minutes Wasted E-Waste Leads.  But the Big Secret Factories which purchase the CRT monitors filmed in Hong Kong remain the biggest part of the story, and one that no one is retelling.   E-Waste Exports Are Good... it's a simplification, but it's fighting fire with fire.

The guilt of a white recycler in Colorado of fraud does not make Joseph Benson of England (and Nigeria), or Hamdy of Egypt, or Gordon of Taiwan/Indonesia, guilty.  The fact that a doctor correctly diagnosed one out of four cases does not make them a good doctor, and does not acquit them of malpractice.

I am not and have never been a defender of dumping junk on poor people.  What I did was to criticize CBS for not covering the full story:
The most hilarious example of this silly campaign is perhaps the 60 Minutes episode on e-waste exports to ChinaCBS circled computer monitors in Hong Kong, then “followed the trail” to Guiyu, where they saw not a single darn computer monitor anywhere. On the way, they passed one of the largest white box refurbishing factories, which I’d given them film of. They found a cesspool in the area of Shenzhen, China (where all the IPhone and Android and Ipads are made) and they told a story that a rinky-dink scrap metal shop was the best available recycling technology, what Scott Pelley calls “a tidy little shop”.
Too bad they missed the fact there were no CRT monitors there, or that most of the junk came not from the U.S. but from rapidly affluent Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.CBS went to the zoo and posed by a visitor’s poodle, never stopping to look at the giraffes and elephants and zebras.
Clip from my Wasted E-waste Leads CBS Blog below, showing I am not a defender of Executive Recycling, and never have been.

In the opening scenes they show computer collection at a one day event in .Denver.  They show people waiting in line and making an effort to do the right thing.
Then, they interview the USA recycler, who actually invokes BAN images of the awful export market, to make people feel good about using his company's services.  This appears to be a gross lack of transparency... the guy is apparently pushing the recyclers overseas under the bus while he himself is shipping containers full of junk.  

My role was that CBS News correspondentsMichael Rey and Nichole Young spent about an hour try to do due diligence to make sure they did not accuse a good operation of bad practices, and I got to text with the producer, Solly Granatstein, on the evening of the broadcast.  I had to say that it looked to me like they caught a real bad guy, and Solly said back "thanks, you've made my day".

CBS showed images of the inside of this guy's containers. ] He would appear to fully flunk the "CRT Glass Test" (something BAN and I worked on together back in the good times).  The junk CRT is the most expensive and, as 60 Minutes identifies, the most regulated and toxic component - and they are clearly visible on the back of the guy's container.  

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