"The majority of refurbished products stem from imports via the ports of Lagos. The interim
results from project component 2, the Nigerian e-Waste Country Assessment, show that 70%
of all the imported used equipment is functional and is sold to consumers after testing. 70%
of the non-functional share can be repaired within the major markets and is also sold to
consumers. 9% of the total imports of used equipment is non-repairable and is directly
passed on to collectors and recyclers."
- Final report of the UNEP SBC, E-waste Africa Project, Lagos & Freiburg, June 2011
Right wing think tank? Protectionist industry study?
"9% of the total imports of used equipment is non-repairable and is directly passed on to collectors and recyclers."
Ok. It's not perfect. 9% of the used electronics purchased by Africans could not be reused or repaired, and that's a lot of waste. But is it bad enough to ban exports?
Take a guess what new item store returns are for product sold in California? 11.9%
That's right, dear readers. According to the National Retail Foundation, store returns of merchandise sold in California is nearly 12%. Now, no doubt some of those returns are "buyers remorse", and the NRF estimates that a certain percent is return fraud. But that's retail, it doesn't include damage in shipping... or static damage discovered before the goods are sold, or are pulled from the shelf because of high returns.
Here are the statistics of the percentage of electronics which are damaged by ELECTROSTATIC charges upon import to the USA. From ESD Association web site:
“Despite a great deal of effort during the past decade, ESD still affects production yields, manufacturing costs, product quality, product reliability, and profitability. Industry experts have estimated average product losses due to static to range from 8-33%. Others estimate the actual cost of ESD damage to the electronics industry as running into the billions of dollars annually. The cost of damaged devices themselves ranges from only a few cents for a simple diode to several hundred dollars for complex hybrids. When associated costs of repair and rework, shipping, labor, and overhead are included, clearly the opportunities exist for significant improvements.”
So damage to new electronics is estimated at 8-33%, and store returns in California are 11.9%. And Ghana and Nigeria studies found loss or damage of used product to be between 9% and 15%.
AND HERE'S the killer. At the Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit at Middlebury College, I learned that brand new product - the ones Africans can afford, cheap stuff from China - fails at a higher rate than used goods! The Ghana and Nigeria study never tested the new product, so there's actually not even a control group... but the Africans who came to the Summit said there's much less risk to buying used American name-brand electronics.
Based on the firehose of disinformation hurled at Africa technicians, the statistics above aren't ever considered. Basel Action Network fabricated, hallucinated, or otherwise made up the only statistic Interpol needed to arrest and seize the goods of 40 African electronics businesses in the past 6 months, 240 tons of affordable computers and televisions purchased by Africans for resale in their cities...
And now, without further adieu, here is today's press release from our friends in Seattle Washington. Click below... hear how Puckett describes the "reuse excuse", those nasty, polluting, toxic African techs. From the source of the "90% of Africa Imports are Primitive", here's a report from the Basel Convention.... which leading up to the Fair Trade Recycling Summit, is leaning our way.