Part 2: How (too) Quietly The E-Waste Big Lies Are Buried.

 Ok, here's a short but important point about the Basel Convention, and the press releases (like today's from Basel Action Network) that seek to expand it to cover normal non-toxic secondary raw materials like plastic, ROHS compliant circuit boards, and even secondhand reuse.


"Non-OECD" meant one thing in 1960 when the (all white country) OECD was assembled (Japan was an afterthought).  "Non-OECD" meant a completely different thing in the mid-1980s when the Basel Convention sought to keep pollution abatement costs / regulations in OECD nations from being subverted through international dumping (like the Trafigura toxic waste scandal of 2006).

"Non-OECD" is, today, a caricature of 72% of the whole world. It's a post-colonial era systemic system of flow control that has been used by Western Nations to try to keep their Big Shred companies from competing against what is now the MAJORITY of manufacturing capacity.

How (too) Quietly The E-Waste Big Lies Are Buried.

(please help)

Our group Fair Trade Recycling has given everything we can to stop the systematic, colonialist, racist laws which benefit the raw material hungry smelters at the expense of the savvy technicians in the emerging markets. Personally, I've taken a lot of flack for naming names (like "80%" J.P."fishing as a boy" M.A., and P.L. - after talking to them). I researched and exposed how GPS tracking device "studies" were rigged in 2015...  trying to prove the false claim of 80%, the NGO and MIT Sustainable City Lab avoided tracking a single CRT television, which represented over 50% of the e-waste at the time. 

I don't have time to edit this, and fewer than 50 people will have time to read it. But the Big Ewaste Lie has not been buried, and is beginning to stink, and threatens a pandemic of bad law based on flawed, uneducated, systemically racist environmental policy. The students researching environmental studies today will report the history of waste colonialism in future theses, reports, and podcasts.

The trade press helped a bit to cover and correct the story, but is still largely unwilling to correct a false headline that put people like Joseph "Hurricane" Benson in jail.  Just this week, Resource Recycling reprinted false claims - which they certainly knew to be false - because they were repeated at a European conference

In the same EScrap News which repeated the false claims - described to me by head editor Dan Lief as one of some "different opinions" rather than as disproven falsehoods - there is a story by Colin Staub about the consequences. I like the teams at Resource Recycling, Recycling Today, Recycling International, Scrap Magazine, WasteDive, Waste360, etc. I go way back with recycling intellectual titans like Chaz Miller, Jim O'Keefe, Jerry Powell, Manfred Beck, DeAnne Toto, Rachel H. Pollak, Brian Taylor, and even folks who left the scene (e.g. Waste Age's Amanda Smith-Teutsch). We certainly don't want to bite the hands that feed our press releases.

But there's a crime occurring, and it keeps happening. There is a lot of money around #blackwashing.

#Greenwashing is well defined, when a polluting industry (e.g. extraction) launches a "pilot project" or "campaign" or far-off "goals". What #blackwashing refers to is the subtle inference that people paying more for something that industry wants are suspect, have a higher hurdle, or must prove a negative. Joseph "Hurricane" Benson was asked to disprove what the UK prosecutor referred to as "common knowledge" that the majority of what he purchased would go to African landfills.

#Distraction From Extraction #4: Negativity Bias in Affective Picture Processing

Another blog descended from a morning tweet. As the global poor emerge in modest economic power, the "elective upgrade" of secondhand goods will result in lower repair rates. There are billions more discarded flip flop shoes in African streets and gutters today than when I lived there 30 years ago. But that just means the raw materials are building up in countries with lower wages - which, like repair and reuse markets of decades ago, represents an OPPORTUNITY for Recycling.

Like the repair export trade, that starts with undoing false, biased, and stereotypical imagery. The opportunity here is for the extraction industries to fund the cleanup in the place it is cheapest to do so.

Been researching, meditating on, blogging about, intellectually debating, dialectically testing, and discovering truths about reuse and repair since 1977.
Elective upgrade (buy a new broom, donate the old one) works when world population is growing unsustainably.

Flashback to 2015.  WR3A issued a press release that Agbogbloshie was largely a "hoax" (as far as a significant percentage of waste there being dumped by rich countries, it being a "pristine fishing village" twenty years earlier, it ever having received a sea container, it being remotely significantly close to "largest e-waste dump", or the scrap sector workers there being remotely involved in anything but collecting scrap metal, or the burning waste being significantly electronics rather than automobile wire and tires, or separation of copper from aluminum "by hand" being less environmentally sustainable than Big Shred in OECD nations.... etc).

Reuse advocate calls Agbogbloshie ‘a hoax’

That 2015 resulted not only in an Op-Ed from the NGO describing me a denier and apologist, but a targeted GPS tracker delivered to a non-public location, hidden inside a $150 laser printer (another sold that week on ebay).  And readers may recall that a year after, I was named, my clients were named, and shamed, in the NGO and MIT collaborative "Monitour". 

Fortunately, thanks to the 2013 Fair Trade Recycling Grant project ($469K project involving Memorial University, University of Southern California, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Peru), and a wealth of World Bank and IMF data on the history of the electric grid in Ghana, the outcome was a documentary in defense of the Geeks of Color and three books confirming my hypothesis. (J Lepawsky, A Minter, J Goldstein)

The question remains, how did Michael "Fishing as a Boy" Anane ever attract PBS Frontline, INTERPOL, German photojournalists, UNEP, and 1990s glam rockers to hype up a local auto scrapyard in a random African City as being the biggest e-waste story on earth for the next 5 years? His very claim completely discredited him, and any background check revealed the newspaper he claimed to work for does not exist. I interviewed Anane in person on 2 occasions, and when asked the source of his information, he cited the discredited NGO that promoted him to "expert". Complete boondoggle

Did you know this is an African's universal power supply for lightboard backlight remanufacturing?

Or did you think it was "e-waste"? If so, why?

DistractionFromExtraction 3: It's what we eat, not what we poop

Restaurant Industry A sells Endangered Species Platter.

Restaurant Industry B sells beef cattle.

Restaurant Industry C sells shark fin soup.

Restaurant Industry D sells foix gras and veal cutlet.

Restaurant Industry E sells organic beets.

Restaurant Industry F sells termite soup.

I like termites. They are a great source of sustainable protein, and they clear dead plant matter from forest and fawna. But I don't want them in the walls and basement of my house. The point being, I don't care about their excrement, I care about their source of consumption.


Imagine those restaurant industries form a Restaurant Industry lobby.  And now activist environmentalists have journalists asking about the ethics on the menu...

Suddenly the industry lobby funds a massive campaign for restaurant consumers to properly manage their poop the day after they paid for the meal.  And a crying Indian ad surfaces to show just how badly some consumers manage their poop.

#DistractionFromExtraction 2: It's The Extraction. Period.

We should be judged by future generations.

And we will be. I live in a kind of skin and mentality that puts me in front of those to-be great-great-grandchildren, who will read about us, watch documentaries about us, and talk about what we did here on earth, during our lives.

Let us not be bad ancestors 

A super intelligence knows that every page and word in a book exists at once. The current page, occupied by the Anthropocenes (A. Minter, 2016, "How We Think About Recycling Is In Need of Repair"), is behaving as if future generations won't matter, that pages of extinction, ocean pollution, warming will be somehow made up for by the relative increase in wealth in emerging markets (#Gapminder). That has merits, but only if everybody learns to respect science, and learns to care.

Relative intelligence unites conservatives and liberals, and puts conservation back into "Conserve"-ative, and non-cancelling liberal thought back into "Liberal". Example -