HR2595 Texas E-waste Export Ban

The bill, filed by Representative Greene of Texas and Thompson of California, could be a lot worse. BAN is lobbying to make it worse (are they allowed to lobby? I thought 501-c3s could not?)

The problem with the bill is the same as the problem with the new Dell policy, and BAN's e-steward policy. They explicitly go after repair and reuse. They go above and beyond the text of the Basel Convention, which explicitly recognizes that repair and reuse are not considered wastes in many countries, and which explicitly allow techs in developing countries to buy and upgrade computers.

Environmentalists are getting duped into taking sides in a war between major brand OEMs and the "white box" market. The factories which assembled monitors and PCs on behalf of OEM brands ten years ago have gotten into the refurbishing business. They are saving by reusing parts like power supplies. Did you know some people still ask for floppy disk drives (often because they have stacks of backup documents on floppies)?

If you are buying a PC with an FDD, it is probably a refurbished FDD, rebuilt and retested in a factory in Kunming, China. They don't make those any more, but the factory found a niche market buying and refurbishing used floppe A: drives. This bill may ban us from shipping to them.

It also puts USA companies in the uncomfortable position of a "silent veto" from a protectionist country. If a country wants to put a tariff or ban on commodities from the USA, normally the USA can challenge that through the WTO. Under this bill, we cannot ship certain products unless the country we are exporting to says "yes". If they don't say yes, and we ship there, the USA government hits us with criminal penalties.

There are a lot of ways to improve the trade of used electronics, and there are certainly a lot of sham recyclers abusing that trade. But the factories that made the CRT monitor on your desk are the factories trying to buy the monitor back. There is not a Dell CRT monitor factory. It was always subbed out. If the company was good enough to assemble the monitor, maybe they are good enough to re-assemble it.

I really like the techs in Senegal, Egypt, Cameroon, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, India, Pakistan and Mexico. I think they kick ass. I think that they are chomping at the bit to improve their standards and practices. I think they are so good they are going to become like Korea and Taiwan, which rode the tide of refurbishment and assembly to become major manufacturing societies. The portrayal of these importers as shirtless wire burners is insulting, paternalistic, white man burden crap.

We need to export MORE computers, not less, so they have the option not to buy from the jerks who don't test and remove the bad apples.

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