EWaste Entrepreneur Mad Man Meets Primitive Wire-Burning Robots

i for one welcome primitive robot recycling overlords
Here is an excellent article on OpenForum.com on the Five Essential Characteristics of the Entrepreneural Mind.

1.  Creativity
2.  Suspicion of Predictors
3.  Comfort with Uncertainty
4.  Openness to Experimentation
5.  Functional Humility

Some of these come more naturally to me than others.   But the article helps explain our success with Fair Trade Recycling [FTR].

Making connections is how I bind my Creativity to the rudder of reality.   Seeing people (Geeks of Color) for what they can do rather than for what they cannot do is the Key to numbers #2,- 3, -4.   Number 5 is the most challenging.  For humility... how long will this FTR opportunity last before there's more "new escrap" coming out of China than we can supply from here... and how long will personal computers even be "a thing??

The "Essential Characteristics" is a good paradigm.  This is about creatively solving an "e-waste" problem through more and better trade, seeing a market opportunity, connecting solutions (quality, accountability) with the "ewaste" events in developing world, and having fun.   The other suggested viewing for this post is the Mad Men Series episode "The Fog".  The opportunities, predictors, uncertainty, and experimentation were all around fifty years ago... except the "emerging market" wasn't overseas.  It was women and minorities, markets ignored and impugned right here in our own country, back in 1962.

Suspicion of Predictors:  Look at how self-assigned Watchdogs have characterized the six billion people in converging markets.   They have successfully gotten the Mainstream Press to buy into their Predictor - sell a device to an African or Chinese and beware the "toxic consequences".

Look at how the non-OECD "Geeks" are depicted.  Now remember past marketing campaigns, which tried to marginalize other groups, like women (50% of the world).  Imagine running a "femine trade" marketing campaign in the 1950s.   As an entrepreneur, you might get beat up. But when previously excluded women become accepted decision makers in the market - as Africans and Chinese are bound to be - money which competitors spent on denigrating campaigns will become a liability.  By being open to partnerships with "excluded class" members, you may get an inside track.

Ratio of OECD to non-OECD

Comfort with Uncertainty, Openness to Experimentation:   You must experiment with these markets - sell to them - in order to get admitted into their factories where you can know them, and then you reduce Uncertainty load by load, trade by trade.  How can an entrepreneur stay comfortable going against the "E-Steward" current, ignoring dire predictors of primitive, wire burning, incapable buyers?

The "excluded market" of non-OECD is huge.  Big, like "women" in the 1960s.  The better-off half of non-OECD, about 3 billion people, is getting online at 10 times the rate of growth of OECD nations... but they earn $3,500 per year, one tenth of OECD per capita income.  Like women who were getting increasing purchasing influence in the 1950s, but were yet to be treated as equals, its a market opportunity in the rough.   It seems crazy and rebellious (to your clients, lenders and sponors) to treat Geeks of Color as equals.  But FTR won't have these sneering Madison Avenue Mad Men Ads to be ashamed of  as this market opens up with blistering, lightning speed.  Douala Cameroun became high speed bandwidth this month.   Open the bottle, the genie is knocking...

NYT: Seeing People for what they Can Do

... not just for what they cannot do. 

Today's New York Times has a refreshing take on the story of slums.   It's a very different perspective than the Bloomberg story on cotton farming in Burkina Faso.  "In One Slum, Misery, Work, Politics, and Hope", by Jim Yardley, is worth the read.
In the labyrinthine slum known as Dharavi are 60,000 structures, many of them shanties, and as many as one million people living and working on a triangle of land barely two-thirds the size of Central Park in Manhattan. Dharavi is one of the world’s most infamous slums, a cliché of Indian misery. It is also a churning hive of workshops with an annual economic output estimated to be $600 million to more than $1 billion.

HR 2284: Banning A-Waste and E-waste

Missing children, typical used car sale
It's a modest New Year's proposal.

The most toxic product Americans own in their lifetime is the automobile.

Filled with toxics, flammables, carcinogens, ewaste, inhalants and pollutants, and capable of violent safety violations, the cars have an agency, the Department of Motor Vehicles, to ensure proper stewardship, from cradle to grave.

Unfortunately, our government has let us down!

Stop the feeding of used antifreeze to poor kids
Automobiles don't last forever.  Americans like buying new automobiles.  Especially middle class and wealthy Americans.  We spend billions getting the latest new wheels.  But what happens with the old cars we discard?

Sadly, wealthy neighborhoods have a dirty little secret.  The used car dealerships and junk car lots are never found on Fifth Avenue.  Old, used cars are passed along to poor people, with all their toxics along for the ride.  Whenever you buy replace your old car, you are complicit in exploitation and environmental crime.

Watchdog groups indicate that eighty percent of used car sales go to people with less money than the people who bought new cars.  All the problems and headaches of the old car inevitably flow to people with less means to deal with the toxic tons of deadly waste.

Wait 15 Seconds, Walk 5 Meters

If you don't like the recycling you see in the non-OECD nations (about 6 billion people), look elsewhere.  "Elsewhere" within the non-OECD is an incredibly sophisticated, layered, textured market.  Wait fifteen seconds, walk five meters, and you will see something or someone completely different.

Cameroon has changed since I lived there in the 80s.   Douala (the port city and economic capital) has just been "wired" by high speed optic, as of December 12... Cameroun's first "smart city".

Aya Heroines Rising
Meanwhile, the level of suspicion raised by anti-export groups has risen to comic book proportions.  There is a huge campaign, backed by nanny-NGOs, planned obsolescence, and heavy shredding investors, dedicated to preserving decade old images of children in puddles of filth.  They want us all to believe there is no convergence, that 6 billion people are moving backward, away from the OECD.

If you actually work with the geeks and the techs, you see that the world is developing in positive ways, faster than believed  possible.  Yes, there are child soldiers, there are terrorists, there are Somali pirates, there is disease, and there is poverty.  But the tide is rising, not falling.  And the seed is the same as in Singapore and Japan - Geeks and Tinkerers, Fixers, and Techs.

Criminalizing Hard Work Done "By Hand"

Society recoils from hard work when toil is presented in a racially charged manner.

reported from the road in Ozark Mountain country.

My kids Posed "Toiling" Cameroon 1985
Hard work was good.  Working with your hands was nothing to be ashamed of in Arkansas and Missouri, where I spent every summer.
But the Western Press increasingly presents anything done "by hand" in the developing world as being an unsafe and sad "state of affairs".  See again the coverage of "fair trade" by Victoria's Secret, headlined "Children Toil With Bare Hands in Burkina Fields."
In the Ozark Mountains, toil was something to enjoy, something to be proud of.   But during the attack on fair trade cotton, "Toil + Manure + 13 years old labor" was a damning equation for Victoria's Secret.  Manure to a farmer is non-toxic fertilizer, but to an American reporter, seems simply odorous.
In Burkina Faso, girls marry at 13.  Most girls that age are lucky to be in school, even part time.   If they are not lucky enough to be in school, there is a short list of careers for them.  If a girl is an orphan or foster child, the choice of careers is shorter and the choices more perilous.  One of two girl students of mine at 9th Grade of CES Ngaoundal in Cameroon, the privileged daughter of the Sous-Prefet, died in childbirth the night before I was to hand out her grading card (she failed my English class).

Illustrated: Africa's E-Waste 10 Step Program

This post was submitted this week without photos.  I'm leaving the original up for low-bandwidth readers (e.g. Ghana).  For high bandwidth, video-streaming, see Motherboard.tv   Primary source see 

1. Demand for electronics in Ghana rises. Meltwater Academy (MEST), internet cafes, Accra Hospital, etc. Rate of internet growth is 10 times the USA’s or Europe’s.
2, Wages in Ghana support electricity but not “brand new” electronics. 30% of electronics imported are new, but 70% are used goods from Europe (mostly) or USA [see 2011 SBC E-Waste Assessment Ghana]
3. Ghana Dealer faces $7,000 shipping cost per 350 TVs or 650 computers. He’s paying $15 out of pocket for every bad one that goes on the container, just for transport. So he doesn’t like junk.
4. Ghana Dealer hires techs in Europe to inspect each piece of electronic purchased and loaded. These people have been labelled “Waste Tourists” and “criminals” by race-profiling Europol reports. In the trade, it’s called “fly and buy”.

5. Containerload of “ewaste” arrives in Accra. Customs agents in Ghana a) Don’t know what they are looking at, and b) hear reports by Watchdogs that 80% of “e-waste” imports are bad. A “gift” gets the container through customs (usually computers for inspector), or a “value added tax”. Add $3K to get the container from port to point of distribution.

6. Gently used product is delivered to retail stores and markets in Ghana, many owned by repair technicians who do further upgrades and preventive maintenance. 85% of the goods, according toSBC Report, are working or repaired. Ghana has 15,000 electronics repair technicians.

7. Retail consumers and shoppers in Accra often carry in an old computer for “trade in”. The repair/resale market treats these like used car trade ins, accepting them for discount or less. Some provide parts for other repairs, but most reuse is truly exhausted.
Add caption
8. Scrappers from Agbobbloshie come with cash to buy the accumulated retail consumer trade-in junk from the retail shops. Most of the goods they take to Agbogbloshie were imported back in the 1990s, and used for 15 years… not taken straight from port.
9. USA Non-profit takes photos of poor kids burning 25-year old electronics at Agbogbloshie.   NGO says that “80%-90%” of the exports from Europe are burned, creating pollution.  Fake statistic is picked up by a reputable paper (e.g. USA Today) and recycled over and over as a "reference".
10. USA Shredding companies and planned obsolescence manufacturers pay non-profit handsomely to promote legislation banning export, or creating non-tariff barriers to export (e.g. San Jose CA), hoping more new sales and more scrap results.
Outcome: If Ghana is forced to buy brand new PCs, in 15 years those will still be brought for trade in, and Agbogbloshie will remain. But for most African consumers, a $700 computer would be impossible, it would force children out of schools and into the fields, and undermine organizations like MEST.
Fair trade recycling is when USA suppliers offer better used product and discounts in return for responsible take-back and recycling of trade-ins and residue. The USA Exporter remains a steward, a partner of the African buyer, providing money and technical assistance to keep recycling safe.
The best and most effective recycling processes are hand labor, a decent job in Africa. Recycling creates clean jobs. And in a decade, Ghana could be like Singapore, a nations which developed buying and repairing and tinkering and making shanzhai white box affordable electronics for wider distribution, or contract manufacturing to assemble and sell new product. Or at MEST Meltwater Academy, they may become coders, write software, and create Apps for Africans.
But there are also alternatives to electronics repair, resale, support, software coding, and de-manufacturing. Kids in Africa can also pick cotton. They can become child soldiers, trap endangered species, mine tantalum and coltan, pump petroleum, become sex workers, or join the military. It’s important that e-Waste Watchdogs stop recycling and repair if these other jobs are to continue.
Environmentalists are good. But we need to know what we are talking about, not just make it up as we go along. Repair and reuse of technology isn’t perfect, but in Africa, recycling and repair jobs are not on the top of the bad list for Peace Corps students to wind up in.

How E-Waste Exports Works in 500 Words or Less

(Sample photos and links to be provided next post.  This is a low-bandwidth version.)

Demand in Ghana rises.  Meltwater Academy (MEST), internet cafes, Accra Hospital, etc.

Wages support electricity but not "brand new" electronics.   30% imported is new, 70% used goods from Europe (mostly) or USA [see SBC E-Waste Assessment Ghana 2011 below]

Ghana Buyer faces $7,000 shipping cost per 350 TVs or 650 computers.  The cost of every junk or BAD one on the load is more than $15.  He's paying $15 out of pocket every bad one that goes on the container.

Time Out: Big Picture Environmentalism

I'm on my way to vacation, followed by a trip to our fair trade recycling plant in Sonora, Mexico, then a presentation at the CES in Las Vegas.    I'll probably write more than ever on the road.  But even my haiku is too long.

If there were an Abstract for prospective readers of this blog, it might be:
The author [Robin Ingenthron] is a former environmental regulator with a degree in international relations, and experience in "third world" and "second world" development programs.  Using MBA skills and a business as a background, he writes about how environmentalism can make more efficient choices, trimming policies which do not benefit the earth ecology, with particular emphasis on environmental protocals which have been "hijacked" or influenced by greed.   

Bloomberg News Sucks Covering Victoria's Secret

Bloomberg:  Children Toil With Bare Hands in Burkina Fields

Bloomberg reporter Cam Newton gets attention for his story slamming "fair trade" cotton.   He reports that "Victoria's Secret" uses "fairtrade cotton" and that a 13 year old girl worked for 6 months in the fields.   Slate attempts to put the story in a little more perspective (organic cotton means that weeds are pulled by hand, the girl is not a "slave")... but still, "Tsk-Tsk" is the word.

View outside my best friends home in Cameroon 1986
I work with fair trade and attempts to organize and improve life in Africa.   Specifically, I had Burkina Faso refugee in my home for 6 months, and lived in DR Congo and Cameroon.   The Slate correction to this story needs to be amplified.   Women are typically/frequently married at 13 in Burkina Faso, and for a foster child to be forbidden to work means... I guess bad news for foster children.  Because the farm went "organic" and used manure rather than chemical fertilizers, the farmer let his foster daughter carry the manure to the fields and put it on the crops.   Bloomberg says "gotcha"... thirteen year olds should be in school.

So what does Cam Newton leave us with?  Companies like Victoria's Secret will see that "no good deed goes unpunished", and the neighboring Burkina Faso fields which are not participating at all in Fair Trade will be happy they used chemical fertilizers and never got involved with "do-gooders".

This "gotcha" journalism, man-bites-dog story, attacking people who are trying to make a difference, deserves no praise.  Bloomberg is the profiteer in this story.  The reporter gets interviewed on NPR (J School 101:  Reporter Becomes Part of the Story) like some kind of a Scott Pelly Jr.  Melissa Block speaks to him as if he had done something brave, not asking a single difficult question.  I've visited the cotton plantations in the Sahel, and know how brave it ain't.  This is not war-time footage, this is not child soldiering, or toxic mining. This is black faces growing crops.

"Sparse mud walled hut home to Burkina Child Worker".  How very brave of the reporter to visit.  We are so grateful.   Listen, I lived in a house like that, and all my friends (African friends) did too.   And to suggest that we should not buy cotton from people because they are poor is beneath contempt.  If we just DON'T buy fair trade cotton, I'm not sure Clarisse will live in a ranch house, go on to college and leapfrog the whole situation...

Responsible Recycler's R2 Pledge Haiku

We need an audit
To prove we don't dump e-waste   
Recycle fairly.

Ultimately, the test of whether E-Stewards or R2 Certified Recyclers is the right guarantee will not depend on photos of children burning waste.  It will not depend a company's unwillingness to pay huge fees to a political group which defames the best and brightest nerds in the business.
ethical ewaste 
my dirty little secret
we traded with geeks.

e-Waste Poster Child Telethon from Disney

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tomorrow (Monday) is our R2 Audit.  So I've invited a guest writer while I prepare the inspection paperwork.

Fair use, this is a 1970 postage stamp
"Hello, My name is Mowgli, and I am the spokesperson for the Poster Child Workers Union [PCWU].  You know me from my work in Hollywood's "Jungle Book".  But did you also know I was nearly used as a "poster child" for several charitable campaigns?  My creative boss at Disney frowned on that kind of thing.  Last I remember, Uncle Walt allowed my image to be used on an Italian Lira postal stamp - back in 1970 (see left).

"However, there are millions of boys and girls like me, in the developing world, who have no Disney lawyers to protect us from unauthorized use of our images.  For the most part, we don't mind so long as the photographer is trying to accomplish something good.   If my sister is in line receiving food or medicine from CARE, Save The Children, Oxfam, or Unicef, she's hardly in a position to complain, right?

"One group that has been using our images a lot is now being confronted by the PCWU union.   It's a 'watchdog' group which was taking our photos doing recycling work.   We thought recycling is good.  This is better than being a child soldier, a tantalum mine worker, a sex slave, or working in a textile mill.  Sure, our lives are tough, but if you were me, wouldn't you rather be recycling than doing something worse?  I mean, don't white boy scouts earn merit badges for recycling?

"Now, the official union position is that we can be bought.   Ok, that's so blunt...  But true.  We'll gag and writhe for a peso. But after the photographer leaves, what then?  Oy veh!  It turns out, no pay for the photo, and worse...! Their campaign wants to shut us down entirely!

Fact Check on E-Waste Recycling: 11 POINTS

Do exports of electronics need to be handled with care?  Yes. Should electronics recyclers be certified?  Absolutely.   Professional recycling companies are proud to have the bar raised, and for standards for reuse and recycling to be level.  With that said, should the Green-Thompson Bill banning "ewaste exports" be passed?  Here are the facts.

1.  Are 80% of USA's "EWASTE" exported to non-OECD Nations?

Non-OECD nations represent 83% of the world population.  While there has never been a source for the "80%" export statistic, it is logical that 83% of the buyers in the world could represent 80% of the market for USA goods.

2.  Are most USA electronics scrapped in primitive recycling yards, creating pollution?

No.  The largest importers by volume of items like computer monitors and desktops are the contract manufacturing factories which originally made them.  Most of these are located in, or owned by, Taiwan based companies such as Foxconn, Proview, Wistron, and BenQ.   They take back items under warranty for repair, but also take back non-warranty items if they can be refurbished for reuse.  The other big overseas markets are for raw materials - plastic, copper, aluminum, zinc, lead, steel, etc.  Those are the same markets for everyone, and whether the used electronics are shredded first, or not, does not change the recycling outcome.

3.  Do most of the European and USA electronics shipped to Africa wind up burned in primitive conditions?

No.  In depth research provides concrete evidence that 85% of the exports to Ghana (the site filmed by BAN.org and Greenpeace) are reused.  Only 30% of the electronics imported to Ghana are brand new.   African buyers station inspectors to carefully screen items they are buying in the country of export in order to make sure shipping costs (80% of the cost of the item) are not spent on junk.  The percentage of product not reused is similar to the percentage of store returns at Wal-Mart in the USA.

4.  Are e-Waste reuse and recycling operations a significant source of pollution?

No.   By far most of the pollution in Asia, Africa, and Latin America comes from the mining of raw materials to make brand new electronics.  In comparison, the percentage of toxics released by repair and elective upgrades is practically not even measurable.

5.  Will a ban on e-Waste exports help poor people?

No.  The proposed bans on e-waste exports will harm poor people.  The emerging democracies in Africa and the Middle East have made connections via internet.  The cost of new display devices (monitors) is more than a month's pay, out of reach for most Egyptians, Libyans, Syrians, etc.  The alternatives to recycling jobs are mining for metals like tin, tantalum, and tungsten in rain forests, and mining for lead in Kabwe.  No reputable professional has ever said reuse or recycling is worse than mining... even those who would ban recycling concede the mining in Africa and China is far worse.

6.  Do a significant number of USA recyclers mix "toxic along for the ride" with exports?

According to interviews with importers and technicians in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, bans on export in California, Oregon and Washington resulted in a "sellers market" for used electronics, and quality has decreased whenever good people refuse to trade or ban trade with geeks in developing markets.  While the quality of loads went down, the cost of shipping (especially to South America and Africa) generally makes it impossible to ship more than 30% junk.

7.  Where do the electronics shown in photos at dumps like Guiyu and Agbogbloshie come from?

By all accounts, most of the scrap shown in primitive recycling yards in China comes from China, and most of the scrap in the dumps in Ghana has been used productively for years in Ghana.  Photos by organizations like Greenpeace clearly show (in their own footage) nice black televisions taken out of sea containers, and show very old white computers, in small numbers, at the dump.  Greenpeace commits fraud if they say that the sea containers are unloaded at Abbogbloshie, BAN commits fraud if they say that sea containers sent to China are unloaded at Guiyu.

8.  Is modern shredding technology superior to hand disassembly?

Hand dis-assembly is certainly superior to shredding by machine.  Hand disassembly recovers products like batteries, rare earth magnets, chips, reuseable parts, and can separate high grade copper from low grade.   Burning wires is bad but is actually rare, most of the wires shown in Africa have been sorted for reuse, and most of the wires in China are graded in modern chopping and washing systems.   Shredding technology is only used in nations who cannot find labor to hand disassemble.  Hand disassembly creates more value and more jobs and more affordable computers.

9.  What is the alternative to legislation banning "e-Waste" exports?

Fair Trade Recycling agreements require exporters to clearly label and identify electronics shipped (not simply to load junk into a container), and to have the buyer agree on a price which demonstrates the Cost of Goods Sold cannot support simple scrap dumping.  The exporters must allow importers to hold back a portion of payment (e.g. 20%) to use to cover the cost of properly recycling bad units and parts by hand.

10.  Do reused and refurbished goods produce bad jobs and pollution?

The only source which makes this claim, BAN.org, receives nearly 100% of its funding from Original Equipment Manufacturers who are opposed to secondary markets (like an Auto Manufacturer contributing to a campaign against used car sales), or high capital shredding companies which have trouble competing with reuse and hand-dis-assembly operations.  Under the E-Steward label, companies which agree not to deal with refurbishers overseas pay thousands of dollars and a percent of their gross revenues to the non-profits which use pictures of African and Asian children to market against reuse and hand disassembly.

Not a penny of the donations goes to the children in the photos.  Their images are used to market a campaign to take their parents jobs away.

11.  Does International Law ban the export of computers for repair, refurbishing, and reuse?

No.  International law (Basel Convention) explicitly says these activities are not waste treatment.  Laws have been proposed to outlaw the reuse export practices, but have not been passed.

This is not a renunciation of efforts to improve recycling.  Certification and improvement of reuse and recycling exports is good. But most African, Latino, and Asian buyers do not resemble the exaggerated pictures distributed by some non-profits.   Please look into Fair Trade Recycling, and Responsible Recyclers practices.  It makes a lot more sense than export bans and subsidies to destroy working computers.

Veolia, EPSI... Mercury Export Consequences

Product Stewardship Policy Question:  Which is worse, Mercury Recycling (required) or TV export for Repair (proposed to be prohibited)?

John Fialka's WSJ seminal reporting (2006) on the "mercury recycling" trade revealed that not all environmental laws result in environmental justice.   There are some things that shouldn't be recycled.    If recycling mercury from lamps and thermostats recovers mercury, and mercury has been eliminated as an ingredient in new products, here's what to expect:
A) mercury sales to primitive, toxic, conflict gold-mining operations in Congo
B) billions of dollars of 
mercury recycling costs in the USA  
Description of where the mercury is sold, and how it is used:
While most of the gold is produced by major corporations, tens of thousands of people work independently in smaller, artisan operations, in some cases illegal. In Ghana, for instance, the galamseys are estimated to number 20,000 to 50,000.[7] In neighboring francophone countries, such workers are called orpailleurs. In Brazil, such workers are called garimpeiros.
The high risk of such ventures was seen in the collapse of an illegal mine at DompoaseAshanti Region, Ghana, on 12 November 2009, when 18 workers were killed, including 13 women. Many women work at such mines as porters. It was the worst mining disaster in Ghanaian history.[7]
In order to maximize gold extraction, mercury is often used to amalgamate with the metal. The gold is produced by boiling away the mercury from the amalgam, a hazardous process due to toxicity of mercury vapour. Mercury is effective in extracting very small gold particles, but should be reclaimed, instead, in an effective and safe process.   (wikipedia 2010.12.09)
The EU and USA responded by banning export of hg mercury as a commodity.  The USA ban on exports begins in 2013.  This is an export ban I really like, and Basel Secretariat should focus on this "recycling export" WAY more than it should focus on electively upgraded parts during used computer repair.

Alluvial mining is basically the ONLY market demand for the mercury.  When it is banned... expect mercury recycling companies in the USA and Europe (like Veolia) to have a tough year.

Spotlight: Pakistan Computer Association

From your keyboard to God's eyes.  Munawar Iqbal, the President of the Pakistan Computer Association, successfully defends against and reverses the "ban on used computer imports" initially attempted by Pakistan Government.

Bravo to Pakistan Computer Association for successfully, thoughtfully, overturning the image of "primitive wire burning" be documenting the baby being thrown out with the bathwater.  This should be the position of other democracies, such as Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia.  Recognize your geeks, embrace them, they are your future.

Read the PAC statement by Hina Mahgul Rind

KARACHI: The Computer importers, dealers, and representative body of IT education institutes have rejected the proposed ban on import of used computers and paraphernalia, asserting that it will deprive IT institutes and students from acquiring cheap equipment.

The chief executive of local computer assembling firm said that they don’t have any issue with import of used computers as the market was divided into various segment with each catering to its targeted clientele.

The Pakistan Computer Association (PCA) General Secretary Arshad Janjua while talking to The News said that PCA rejected the proposed ban on the import of used computers and IT accessories being considered at ministry of information technology, which he claimed, was on behest of some vested interest groups.

Janjua said that the reason given to ban import of used computers that it is an environmental hazard and it is adding more pollution in the environment.

There are thousands of things, which are dangerous to health and environment and generating pollution but nothing is being done to control them.

Only to ban the import of used computers is a conspiracy of some vested interest group only to benefit the multinational companies dealing in new computers. The move would take computers out of the range of students and affect livelihood of thousands of vendors dealing in used computers.

Wandering Environmental Justice: Mining Cost of Non-Toxic E-Waste

Hurray for non-toxic metals which replace lead solder under ROHS?

Who cares about gorillas and conflict metal mines, when wealthy nations landfill toxicity is at stake.

Three T's
What is truly sad is that environmentalists my age began recycling before anyone thought it was a "waste" material... we did it to slow energy use and mining.  We rode the "avoided disposal cost" wagon right off the cliff.   Join the push-back against tin solder, tantalum, and tungsten (and I'd add gold and silver) in electronics.  Or at least recycle them, make it closed loop.

Stopping Africans from repairing and recycling computers (with clean tools and incentives under fair trade) means 15,000 Ghana repairworkers lose their jobs.   Should they go dig up tantalum so we can make brand new cell phones for them?  Is this Basel Brand of Environmental Justice?

I know I've been harsh this month.  But this is bloody important, and it's been ten years of the same poster children pushing shredders which don't even recover these rare earth metals.  Hand disassembly, saving the chips themselves, is the highest, highest form of recycling.  Stop taking pictures of kids at landfills and start taking pictures of good recycling operations, s'ils vous plaites.

Organizations - Advocacy Organizations
This is a group for those who want to Tell Cell Phone Companies To Stop using tantalum, tungsten, and tin for cells because using these products they finance armed conflict and atrocities in Congo. Companies need to take two steps to provide credible assurance that they are conflict-free:First, trace their minerals back to their specific mines of origin. This will help them determine if they are p...See More
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Open: All content is public.



Legion Jericho Guinn Valor (Abilene, TX)

Tell Cell Companies To Stop using tantalum, tungsten, and tin for cells

Aly Jones
Tell Cell Phone Companies To Stop using tantalum, tungsten, and tin for cells because using these products they finance armed conflict and atrocities in Congo. Companies need to take two steps to provide credible assurance that they are conflict-free:First, trace their minerals back to their specifi

March 19 at 5:02pm ·  ·  · 

Alyssa Perry

 I hope that this page is able to accomplish the mission. Cell phone companies need to stop using tantalum, tungsten, and tin for cells because using these products they finance armed conflict and atrocities in Congo.

March 19 at 2:44pm ·  ·