Ted should weigh in too, if he is able to, but the Computer TakeBack Campaign platform opposes prison labor because we want the infrastructure for electronics recycling to promote local economic development – one of the historic benefits of recycling. In the same vein, though we want brand owners and manufacturers to take full responsibility for the life cycle of their products, we’d prefer that the Dells and Compaqs of the world not control some centralized infrastructure but rather use their largesse to promote a more decentralized infrastructure with attendant local economic development benefits.
Additionally – and I speak only for myself here – moving industrial operations to America’s prison system legitimates the backwards policies of “three-strikes” and “mandatory minimum sentencing” because we can then give “those people” jobs. Why not keep out of prison in work programs many of those whose crimes may not warrant incarceration, providing them job training in local economic development opportunities that are sustainably recycling our tidal wave of high tech trash (probably at lower labor costs, if they are trainees in a criminal justice program)?
I read the article about the new computer recycling facility at the Federal prison, and checked out the UNICOR web site as well. While admittedly short on statistical data, I assume since the project is not yet operational, the premise seems reasonable.
I agree we need guidelines for sustainable recycling practices (and decorative clocks will probably not be high on that list), but labor costs are one of the biggest drawbacks to disassembly and sorting of electronics, right? And prison labor … (pausing to collect thoughts) may be the best solution to that particular economic problem. UNICOR provides a lot of support to the Federal government and as far as I know their products and services are competitively priced and of reasonable quality. The government is obligated to use the services of disabled persons as well as prison labor, which helps keep costs down (and etc.).
Which aspect of the project did you find alarming? Is there more information available than that one rather short article?
Other comments or opinions out there?
Here is an article about a new maximum
security Federal Prison opening in California that some see as the "final
solution" to computer recycling. I find it rather alarming!
Another reason why we must develop guidelines for sustainable recycling