FIREHOSE BLOG: Madness vs. Persistent Irrational Belief

How many "E-waste" Experts and E-Waste Studies does it take to show that material like THIS

Is not paid for, shipped and delivered to, places like THESE?

We know who the buyers are.  We know they have no interest in buying the material that shows in photos.   We know the factories are operating in cities overseas which have had TVs and computers for years, and who generate more e-waste on their own than we do per year in the USA (they have less storage space in attics and closets).

Can someone please explain to me the persistent irrational belief by Watchdogs that the municipal material shown in the first photo is being exported in any significant quantity to Africa or Asia?

I mean, we can keep sending links to long studies by IDC, Basel Secretariat, MIT, Memorial University, etc. etc. etc.    But at some point, when we believe that CBS Solly Granatstein and CBS Scott Pelley did "follow the trail", but we can prove they did not "follow the trail", and we ourselves "follow the trail" of CRTs to nice factories who have no interest in even working items over 19"...

This is madness.

The NGO Basel Action Network raises money to "prove" and "certify" the material in the first photo isn't going to people in the second photo.   If you don't pay an extra $$$ to and E-Stewards, you are told, you can't know for sure that the factories who don't want the stuff didn't secretly pay for it and ship it anyway.

The NGO's cash for certification scheme would be a victimless crime, except that the people in the second photo are victims.  They are being arrested, accused.   Even Jane Lindholm of Vermont Edition felt she had to ask about the "toxics released by repair and refurbishment".   There ARE no toxics released by repair and refurbishment and reuse, or practically none.   But once someone follows the logic that resuse businesses don't want the junk, they have to rationalize what the NGOs are concerned about.

And the NGOs are willing to let people believe that people who fix stuff and repair stuff are generating more toxics in that process than people who grind stuff up in tiny dusty pieces.

  • Basel Convention
  • Memorial University
  • MIT

These students, fixers, researchers, investigators, etc. all really did "follow the trail".  And they found the money to transport CRT monitors comes from reuse, and they found no one buying the stuff in the first photo.  

My dad, a journalism professor, said the Lindholm question is known as "have you stopped beating your wife"?  Yes or no?   It's known to cause the interviewee to stumble, if you can catch it on camera or radio, they look or sound like they are covering something up, that they are not answering the question directly.  In Jane's case, it was an innocent question, she really did think there must be something controversial about people who buy the 15% of material worth shipping for reuse.

BAN has said for a decade that 80-90% of the material in the first photo is sent overseas.   If that were true, a cost externalization would be occurring, and it might make sense to pay money to BAN to certify it isn't happening.   But a simple face to face conversation with an overseas buyer quickly assures most people that they aren't ignorant dirty children, they aren't toiling in sweat to save American recyclers money.  It makes no sense, and it's distracting Interpol from ivory poachers, bushmeat hunters, child soldier warlords, drugs, arms trades, etc.

If and Greenpeace just repeat it often enough, like a firehose of false news, eventually people will believe it.  If we can't ship to Africa, it must be because... because... we can't accept that in this day and age, there isn't a good reason.   There must be something wrong with selling used computer monitors to Africans...

Please.   This is madness.

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