How Little We Recyclers Even Care What Happens

Wow.  What a powerful emotional connection - to no one. Because embargoing trade proves how much you care. Don't exchange with anyone, Bodhisattva.   I thought I'd share the opening salvo of logic from KCTS9's "The Circuit: Tracking America's Electronic Waste".

Sure.  If I send work to the Chicas Bravas Womens Co-op at Retroworks de Mexico, the fact that the electronics crossed the border means I don't care about them.  I don't care about the people I send my children to visit, I don't care about the people whose godson comes live with me for a year.

I don't care about the former Attorney General from Burkina Faso, who I housed for months while a contract was put on his life by President Blaise Compere.  I don't care about the Egyptians, who hosted my family and stayed at my house, because I sold them computers.  I must not care about the investors who are trying to build a $45M state of the art printer recycling factory in Hong Kong, to supply Apple, Sony, and LG with recycled content for new devices.  I surely don't care about the technicians in Ghana who fed and housed me for 3 weeks, or the scrap men at Agbogbloshie who still WhatsApp or call me once a week.

I must not care about the hundreds of workers who were losing their jobs at CRT manufacturing plants in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand, when equipment manufacturers stopped ordering new CRTs be made.  I don't care, because I helped them find thousands and thousands of CRTs, used only 4 years of their 20 year life, which they remanufactured to make affordable displays for millions of people in emerging markets.

We sponsor travel for interns from Bangladesh, Canada, France, Mexico and the Netherlands to visit our partners and study Fair Trade Recycling, so they can research and advise us how to care even less about... people like us.

We don't care about them because we provide them the only possible internet, teledensity, phones, etc. that they can afford. We film interviewed every technician we sold to in Senegal because we just didn't care.

I sure don't care about Yadji, or Jinex, or Su Fung, or Liu, or Vicki, or Rudi, or Wahab, or Hamdi...

I don't care about Hurricane Joe Benson.  I don't care about Las Chicas Bravas.

That's it Jim.  If I really cared about those people, I wouldn't destroy 90% of the used electronics my company receives.  If I really care about these people, I'd shred 100% of it, put it all in the shredder, and not trade with any of them.  If I had cared enough, I never would have even met them or eaten with them or learned their names.  My kids wouldn't be translating for them.  They wouldn't be making a living setting up reuse shops and recycling facilities, and I could maybe find a job like yours, asking for donations to pose smugly and impugn other people, show piles of garbage in Hong Kong and Agbogbloshie and never tell anyone how many people in those countries owned TVs and electronics 35 years ago, never explain that they have electricity and traffic jams and produce the same waste Americans do.  I'd make my money from getting paid by people to say they are good because they throw that laser printer that Essam and Muhammed fixed right in the shredder, turned into little pieces... to be sorted at workers tables in China.

Instead of selecting the devices they say their market wants and are easiest to fix, we should insist they buy things they don't want, and can't afford.

That's how we show we care - not by portraying these colleagues as engineers, valedictorians and geniuses, but as child workers, primitives, hopeless third world victims who stupidly use their own money to buy millions of dollars of America's used electronics.  And used shirts, and used shoes.  Hey, you should go after Goodwill and Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul and Planet Aid - if you put tracking devices on their donations, you'll find they don't care either.  Oh yeah, been there, done that, right.

It's not just the disagreement in policy that bothers me about this NGO.  It's not just their use of childrens photos to raise millions of dollars, none of which goes to anyone in the country photographed (though that does irk).  It's not all about the misattribution of point source pollution, or the false descriptions of Basel Convention language.

You describe us all so well.



And you describe me to young people at colleges, and to garden clubs, and to journalists as just an exporter, insane, crazy, obsessed, profiteering, lying... You're absolutely right, White Savior.

If we had really cared enough, 3 billion people earning $3,000 per year would have gotten on the internet and access to mass media by buying brand new electronics.  Yep.

Checkyourprivilege dude.

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