BAN MIT MoniTour Teardown: Inside the Ewaste Export Controversy

The MIT MoniTour @KCTS-9 Basel Action Network "Expose on Exporting" #trackingewaste is still being reviewed by review researchers, recycling experts, and reporters.  Memorial University has helped plot final landing points for devices.  There are still a large number of items in places that BAN can't quite explain.  [There are data points missing, which we located on Monitour but are not in the table per MUN]

- There are good places overseas (BAN now says "never said there weren't")
- People who never exported are highlighted for political reasons (BAN says it's justified)
- BAN's own math suggests 11% total exports (good or bad end points)
- BAN's conclusion (use E-Stewards) belies BAN's financial interest

As one of the people who never exported the tracked device, but whose clients were assaulted by BAN's innuendo I've got a particular axe to grind.  But the main point is that I have consistently made the same argument before BAN attacked me personally.  Jim Puckett has told a reporter directly what I inferred from the article - that I came up with EcoPark, etc., to cover up my shipment to Mr. Lai's Printer Farm.  It's in print, and it's provably false, and I need another apology.

BAN made a very legitimate point via their GPS tracking study - that despite normal diligence, we should not assume for sure material exported to Asia won't go "sideways" to a scrap metal vendor (any more than we can assume that via E-Stewards).  But Jim Puckett tries to push the point too far, and in so doing damages the names and reputations of state of the art repair geeks overseas, Boston area MIT hippy coops, Vermont ADA employees, and legitimate discussion of environmental policy.

Perhaps Jim yielded to his frustration and inability to control the story in a tidy direction, and now has injured people that shouldn't be injured.  He needlessly involved innocent MIT students, Carlo Ratti, KCTS, and The Body Shop Foundation in a pissing match over environmental justice.  Jim simply needs to say "I'm sorry".   Again.

Watchdog Issues Apology For Personal Attacks in E-Waste Article

Jim documenting CRT glass was not exported as he claimed (AZ)

In some shared correspondence with a reporter pursuing the Scam Report, BAN tries to make it sound like they didn't go after me personally, but the very text of their report shows they did.  Jim makes 3 false statements to the reporter.

1. That WR3A (dba Fair Trade Recycling) is not a real organization
2. That BAN did not edit or restrict my responses
3. That it was necessary to headline us because BAN did not know the exporter in Chicago.

#1 BAN not only knows WR3A is real but entered into a public partnership with WR3A in 2010 to lobby for changes to California SB20 (The California Compromise).  Here is a photo of Sarah Westervelt of BAN with the WR3A Board of Directors in 2008.

I'm still hoping MIT's Ethics Committee and The Body Shop Foundation and KCTS-9 take a look at our data, through the blog and the emails they've been cc'd on.  Does anyone actually believe that BAN's Scam Report focused on Robin Ingenthron, out of all the direct import and export destinations, for any reason other than that I forced them to concede proper recyclers and Eco Park exist?

"Yeah but ROBIN's device didn't end up there!" seems to be the point.  But BAN obscured that data from US, we didn't try to hide anything from BAN.  Had BAN or MIT provided us the information and data (Our data) we demanded in May, I would have known it didn't make it to, or was spilled from, the EcoPark etc.  Jim claims the 2nd data point below "may not be EcoPark" and implies it's a "stray cell phone tower".  Hogwash.  The burden of proof is on BAN.  We showed the Eco Park and this is BAN's data showing the device went there!!  And the 3rd destination point is certainly Tin Shui Wai, a towering cityscape, certainly NOT a "rice paddy" or "Mr. Lai Printer Farm."

Jim may be embarrassed to have called the data points below a "rice paddy", so the best he can do is take down the guy who found these destinations via a tracked device that didn't follow the obscured path.

Fair Trade Recycling declares victory here.  BAN has admitted the $550M State of the Art E-Waste Recycling facility is permitted, and Hong Kong EPD (despite BAN's objections) said they can import under Basel Convention Annex IX B1110 (which I blogged extensively about 10 years ago).  Even if a costly win for my employees and friends, BAN's "profiling" of Hong Kong is cooked.
WEEETRF stands for "Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Treatment and Recycling Facility"
Now BAN has a very valid point is that a certified, modern recycling facility in Asia must be monitored, and its buying agents must be tracked.  It's not one that I must be embarrassed into, in fact it proves why Fair Trade Recycling is necessary.  Chicago exported the printer scrap without our Fair Trade Recycling group ever being involved.  We verified the Hong Kong certified destination was properly recycling focus materials, which is a first step (similar to the CRT Glass Test, which I proposed and BAN embraced in 2004).

Jim no doubt feels pressure that his simple stories turn into a jungle of nuance (he repeatedly refers to these counter-arguments as "ad hominem" attacks).  But these are defensive actions on my part.  I'm defending EcoPark, I'm defending SKD factories, I'm defending Africa's Tech Sector, I'm defending Joe Benson.

Me defense of Joe Benson is not a personal attack against Jim Puckett.  Jim simply has to go in public and say what he said to me about Joe Benson.  It's that easy.

Jim called Joe Benson "collateral damage" to my face in private.  On camera, in public, he claimed not to know who Joe Benson is.  He's yet to say anything in public about the unintended consequences of "profiling" exotic places with "rice paddy" and "shantytown" and "child labor" labels.  And it's the shock of a Nigerian TV repairman being put in prison that is the biggest threat to BAN, and that is why he is going after me.

Clean Hands Teaser from Clean_Hands on Vimeo.

MIT Senseable City Lab and its undergraduate students are, themselves, collateral damage in this campaign whether the export market is 80% full or  80% empty. But if they stop and look at this a year from now, when EcoParks in Hong Kong and Taiwan are thriving, they may wonder what made my small Vermont company, 20% of whose employees are ADA (Americans with Disability Act), which tries to help Las Chicas in Mexico and Geeks of Color worldwide, the target of a special 2 page insert in Jim Puckett's report.

It's perhaps BAN's last opportunity to make peace on the issue.  I respect Jim's aspirations and his instinct to nurture, if not his techniques or simplifications.  But if he can't admit he's committed a party foul, then future MIT and TBSF sponsors should be warned.

Here is how they select sites.

Here is where they ring the doorbell and walk a laser printer up and down stairs to deliver to a small non-profit office in greater Boston.

How Did BAN's "deployment" team choose this site? Through a web search for Vermont R2 Recycler?
And here is the Chicago Recycler whose address BAN knows because we emailed about it before the Scam Report was released, and BAN actually has the site address in its own charts in the Scam Report.

And here is where BAN's own trackers found the Hong Kong EcoPark in New Territories and track a device to apparent reuse (certainly not a junkyard) in Hong Kong's modern New Territories city, Tin Shui Wai.  What BAN and MIT Senseable City Lab called "Previously Unknown" destinations may describe Mr. Lai's Printer Farm - but EcoPark might have remained unknown, to Americans, if not for this blog.

Now because I love state of the art recyclers, I identified one and was proud to see BAN admit these are not a "myth".   I did not ship to them, I do not claim to have any relationship to them.  My private letter to MIT referenced that destinations were obscured and gave them as an example of something that might be obscured.

So did BAN go after me because I did something worth attacking?  Is it because I'm hiding something? (they imply I made up EcoPark as a cover up for Mr. Lai's Printer Farm, basically telling a reporter I knew it went to the scrap pile and tried to cover it up)  Or is it because of the information I provide in this blog, and to trade journals, regulators, INTERPOL, and reporters, is inconvenient?  By poisoning the well, do they seek to silence the story of "Hurricane" Joe Benson?

As BAN said to the Chicago reporter 3 years ago (Jim calls it "ancient")

There can be no doubt who Jim means when he says "recyclers don't even care" about the people overseas.  Those people in Chinese "rice paddies" and African "shantytowns".   Jim Puckett is doing what BAN does.   From the Chicago article, here's how BAN described me to the reporter.  Again, in relation to a company I have nothing to do with.

I care, and Jim knows I care.

The fact that I care very, very, very much about the Geeks of color is a threat to Big Shred and to BAN's source of income.  That, perhaps, is why BAN keeps finding a way to mention yours truly, the blog writer, and my clients.   From Chicago Patch article in 2012 ostensibly about Intercon Solutions, here is what BAN said about ME.

Summers [BAN representative] then criticized Ingenthron and Cade for promoting the "myth that there are all these wonderful high-tech facilities in China,' adding more harsh comments about Ingenthron's character.
"They will lie right through their teeth," Summers said. "It's amazing — I've seen it. Robin Ingenthron is known as a really crazy guy — sorry, I don't like dissing folks, but he is a huge outlier."
Summers went on to refer to Ingenthron and XXXX as "green-washers," which are companies that falsely portray themselves as environmentally friendly.

No comments: