Vermont Apple-to-Orange Software Validates CRT Recycling

(This is part of an April Fool's blog tradition, and I hope no one took it personally)

Small Northeast State Solves E-Waste Recycling Glut Profitably, with New Validation Procedures

[Middlebury, VT  April 1 2014]  It turns out there are two ways to solve the E-Waste Recycling Crisis.    In a stunning turn of developments, Vermont has validated a brand new way to recycle CRTs.

1.  Charge manufacturers more (42 cents per pound rather than 28)
2.  Demand less (allow land application)
3.  Profit!

Suppose there are two ways to do something.  One way takes a lot of labor hours, and then costs a lot to transport and treat the material.   The other way takes fewer hours of labor, but creates a mixed mess that is even more extremely expensive to transport and treat the material.  Normally, this is called "getting what you paid for".

But with an online thesaurus tool, Vermont "recyclers" are now "solving" this "e-waste" "problem".
Inequation disproved in 6 month study
"We were as stumped as the next state with the need to change our award winning state recycling program," said Vermont ANR Commissioner David Mears.   "But we made lemonade."

John Obfusca of Cali Waste Systems described the new development.  "One of our guys, at the end of the shift, just goes 'Hey, what if we just don't recycle it, but we call it something kinda alternativey?'  It turns out, you just have to name the process right to get it approved."

Diverting waste from a landfill into another landfill?  Land cover that fits the defination (per RFP) of "no land application"?   There's an app for that.

The right words didn't come easily.

"Wind cover", the application of clay to the top of a landfill to keep litter from blowing, didn't sound like a terrific way to apply toxic lead material.   "Alternative daily cover", however, sounded plausible.   Then the process of shredding had to be redefined.  "A proprietary process" left enough room for maneuver.

A 1980's white goods processing method can be adapted to manage today's electronic waste, using online dictionaries and thesaurus.

Old white goods shredder = "new ewaste process"
Contaminated mess = "domestic management"
Dumping in landfill = "not exporting"

Bass-o-Matic at Scale
The new process costs the state of Vermont about $400,000 per year more than the job-intensive process of actually recycling CRT tubes in a way that makes them marketable.  Vermont passes that bill to manufacturers.  But none of that money has to be wasted on jobs.   It all goes to the bottom line.

Kudzucowski and Cali Waste spent countless seconds searching online thesauruses for creative solutions to the cost of CRT recycling.

Apple and Google issued software patches for Siri and Android voice recognition within hours of the new E-Waste rules announced by Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.  In a demonstration, Mears spoke into the application, his voiced terms translated automatically into nuanced text.

"Shredding" said Mears into the iPhone.  "Recycling Procedure," replied the app.

Dumping = "Proprietary process"
Clean Product Inventory = "Speculative accumulation"
Illegal under RCRA = "Not ideal"

By reversing the settings, accepted methods could also be made to sound worse.  "We found a way to create doubt about actual recycling," said Cathy Jamieson.   "Who knows what URT, Total Reclaim, CLRR, TDM, NuLife and Dlubak are going to do with CRT glass years and years from now?  If we don't know the distant future, it's uncertain.   Millions of dollars invested in actual, real CRT glass recycling inventory, can be labelled "speculative".   By putting the CRT glass directly in a municipal landfill, we completely remove the "speculation", creating certain profit for landfills."

"Who knows if the actual CRT recyclers will be in business, once landfilling does become accepted?  With a twist, Vermont may create a domino effect, reducing incentives for those investments, and turning the tide of e-waste diversion back to MSW landfills."

"I think we may have dodged a bullet." says Mears.  "A very, very, very slow-moving bullet.   Kind of like a gently rolling tumbleweed bullet, inching slowly towards us, on the ground, from miles away.  But if the prediction that CRT recyclers may fail is true, we can get ahead of that trend, and maybe even make that happen."  An idea born 3 years ago in Vermont, the "Waste O Matic", has solved its biggest problem, with word search-and-replace software.
Validation 3.0

processed e-waste
There is more word processing to be done, and Vermont regulators are up to the task.   Kudzucowski's process cannot be called "recycling", Jamieson said.   But if fewer outlets for recycling the material exist, we can tell reporters "it will have to do.'"

Sponsorship = "third party study"
Leaded silicate mixed with barium silica (mixed CRT glass) =  "a proprietary chemical blend"
Cheating = "controversial innovation"

"A third party app uses a Latin term, 'per se'".   Not recycling per se is much more acceptable than simply landfilling recyclables," said Mr. Obfusca.

Dumping = "Not recycling, per se"
Layoffs = "Not creating jobs, per se"
Don't Ask Where = "repurposing"
Not approvable = "approved"

R2 Solutions Board of Directors voted unanimously not to accept the new definitions, maintaining that recycling is recycling and putting stuff in a landfill isn't recycling.  EPA concurs.  But there may be other environmental groups ready to validate the Kudzucowski procedure.

Basel Action Network's Jim Puckett hinted that validation comes at a price.

"We could 'approve' this, at a last 'resort'," said Jim Puckett, speaking from his latest resort hotel in the Bahamas, via a skype translator running verion 3.0 of the new software.   "But they will need to pay for 'certification' of the Peoria landfill site for the dumping to be 'converted' into a 'validated process'."

card may be traded or sold
Puckett explained the value proposition of validation.  "You can't just put it in a landfill and call it "not recycling per se".  You need to firmly say what it's not something.  Not X - it's not dumping toxic waste on children.  Bid rigging, for example, does not dump e-waste on poor children in Africa."

"See how much better 'bid rigging' sounds?"

Apples are not bananas, and oranges are not bananas.  Therefore, apples can be equated to oranges, using rhetoric.

BAN offers Vermont not just validation, but invalidation as well. "Not certified to E-Steward standards" impugns the competition, without describing it at all.  "Vermont will need organizations like E-Stewards to validate their friends, and to invalidate their enemies," said Puckett.   E-Stewards stands ready to convince people that it's not a lazy shredding process, but the material - television screens - which is itself non-recyclable.

UnRecycling Costs

Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources will provide the un-market de-development costs of 42 cents per pound for the CRT television "unrecycling", more than the 34 cents paid under the Independent Plan for actual leaded glass recycling.  "That's the cost of unrecycling market development," says Mears.

According to today's, the Agency actually believes that Vermont's 265,000 pounds of electronics (past months, under our competitors contract) created some kind of a world glut in leaded CRT glass, justifying Vermont to be the first to pay someone to landfill something under a recycling contract.

In six months, Cali Waste collected 135 tons from Vermont.   If that's all CRT glass, it would be 11.25% of one day supply at one primary smelter.  Eleven percent of one day's requirements, collected in just six months, would take almost three whole hours to properly recycle.

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