Fair Trade Recycling Launching Ewaste Offset - Countdown in Ghana 2018

Ghana's Tech Sector abandons Environmental NGO "Missionary Position" on imports, launches shipments of junk back to OECD, ton for ton, to offset imports for reuse.

Emmanuel Nyaletey gave an excellent 30 minute presentation to IERC 2018 in Salzburg, Austria 2 weeks ago, where he documented the growth and use and consumption of household electronics since construction of the Okosombo (Volta) dam in the early 1960s (and 4 subsequent dams have failed to keep up with demand since then - see draft presentation on google).

Rather than treat Africa's Tech Sector as "competition for strategic metals", Fair Trade Recycling proposed to organize Africa's Tech Sector to send back one ton of decades-old e-scrap for every ton of equipment they buy for import.

We are now 2 weeks into our interviews with Tech Sector repairers in Ghana, who are enthusiastic about sending decades old waste back rather than "prove" they have the skills to use, sell, or fix the "Stuff" that they buy. We have learned perhaps the most from surviving mentors (original TV repair trainers) from the 1970s and 80s, who shed light on the market for 'home used' electronics, and how it has evolved over 50 years.

5 years of CRTs (imported 10-30 yrs ago) abandoned at Tamale TV Shop

IERC Slide January 18, 2018

"Third week of "E-waste Offset" Launch. 

So it has been a very busy 3 weeks. Emmanuel Nyaletey makes announcement at IERC in Austria, WR3A signs up Ghana based "formal sector" export licensees to oversee re-export, Ghana "Tech Sector" Repair Association opens door on massive "abandoned repair" CRT problem. Spain's Camacho needs to confirm offer they will receive at the very reasonable quoted cost. We will begin "selling" ewaste offset loads to EU to USA, Asian, and EU exporters selling to the Tech Sector, they can sponsor 1 ton for every ton they export."

If you are currently exporting used electronics or clean scrap to rapidly emerging markets, and want to sponsor the cost of a sea container OUT of Africa for every container you export, the estimated cost is $3000.  And the Africa Tech Sector and members of Fair Trade Recycling will write a letter to thank you, personally.

This is so much easier and more rational than trying to decide how much time Africa's Tech Sector should have to sell something off their shelf, or what types of repair "involve replacement of a part" (Recall this was Jim Puckett of BAN's obnoxious and cringeworthy objection from 2010, when confronted with Basel Convention language explicitly allowing export for repair Annex 9 B1110).  Telling Africans they are not fit to replace a power cord is, well, the hallmark of NGO "Environmental Missionaries" (my new coined term today).  PACE and E-Stewards are trying to explain repair from a "Missionary Position", and simply don't know what the heck they are talking about and are making it up as they go along.

This Ewaste Offset, by contrast, is real and measurable, and could be scaled like the Carbon Trading program pioneered in Europe (our inspiration).

"As Galileo or Copernicus might have noted, the Circular Economy is a good thing, but it does not revolve around us" - Robin Ingenthron IERC 2017

* Oh, if you are here for the obligatory tour of Agbogbloshie, we did that, too. Below, Nyaletey interviews Awal Muhammed, 25, the "star" of MTV, BBC, Al Jazeera, Guardian, RT, etc. clips (holding burning tires over his head, etc). We stand by our estimate that Agbogbloshie gets less than 10 tons of used electronics per day, and that the vast majority of that comes by hand cart collecting from Accra city (pop ~3M) households and businesses. About 25 young men burn wire and tires from automobile harnesses as well as "condemned" electronics after the 3rdhand tech market at Agbogbloshie determines them unsalvageable. (Most of the smoke and fire is from the tires).

PS - On a personal note, the smartest thing I ever did at Massachusetts DEP, while running the recycling program there 1992-99, was interview and lunch with scrap and recycling entrepreneurs in their 70s, 80s, and 90s about the history of Massachusetts scrap recycling markets. Waste consultants "experts" coming to save West Africa would do well to do the same.  (Dagna Rams, a Polish researcher, just yesterday ran across a former employee of Ghana's Sanyo Television Assembly Plant, built in Tema in the 1960s to provide TVs in anticipation of the new electric grid in greater Accra).

From Facebook Fair Trade Recycling (e-waste reform) group posting:

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