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Re: [GreenYes] Atwater Prison electronic recycling - Modesto Bee Article
I, too, would like to hear Ted's objections to this proposal.  I think Hspie 
(whoever that is!) makes some very cogent points against this idea, none of 
which have to do with prisoner treatment, and all of which concern producer 
responsibility.  I second those comments.  

On the other hand, a perfect economy exists only in theory/ideology, and here 
is an immediate solution to the pressing problem of computer recycling, which 
at the same time can give folks behind bars some useful skills while they 
await release back into society.  Why not embrace it as a short-term 
solution, while simultaneously pursuing our goals of producer accountability? 
 Of course I want Dell and Compaq (and IBM and Apple etc) to take their own 
products back and recycle them under factory conditions, but until we can 
acheive this goal, it seems to me that a patchwork of other stop-gap 
solutions is necessary to keep this crap out of landfills.   The two goals 
aren't mutually exclusive; we can use the prison  idea (and other 
decentralized options) while we pursue company responsibility through other 
channels.

We need deposits on computers, other electronics, white goods and tires!  
They work for beverage containers; they certainly would work for big-ticket 
items.

--Jenny Gitlitz, CRI

In a message dated 1/3/02 12:43:58 PM, hspie@telus.net writes:

<< Atwater/UNICOR raises a cluster of interesting issues that others have 
touched on. Here's my read:
    * Prisoners (and handicapped) providing 'low cost' labour.
    * Companies brokering prisoners' labour for profit.
    * Recycling as a community/government responsibility.
    * Is producer responsibility 'largesse'?
    * Recycling as local economic development.
    * Dells and Compaqs setting up 'centralized infrastructure'
Prisoners (and handicapped) providing 'low cost' labour:
It makes sense that *work* be part of a prisoner's rehabilitation.
The work should be meaningful to optimize the rehabilitation benefits.
However, prisoner labour should not be traded in the marketplace.
It competes unfairly with non-prisoner labour, distorts labour market so 
that demand for prison labour increases (hence incentive to incarcerate 
people).
Prisoner/handicapped labour should be used for *work in public interest*, 
rather than for profit.
What's wrong with making license plates? maybe wildlife rescue? or even 
environmental monitoring?

Companies brokering prisoners' labour for profit
I don't like it: living off the avails
This is a much more fundamental issue than whether UNICOR's services are 
'competitively priced'!

Recycling as *work in the public interest*
Here again is the traditional confusion over whether recycling is an 
activity carried out 'in public interest'.
It is not the public/community that benefits from recycling.
It is the Dells and Compaqs and their consumers who avoid responsibility by 
passing it on to the community.
Recycling, like other environmental requirements, should be part of the 
cost of doing business.
Would you like to Ford/Dell/Compaq use prison labour for its assembly 
lines? Safeway for its checkout lines?
Why should we tolerate using prison labour for recycling?
Recycling should be an extension of  marketing of products, not a public 
clean-up project.
When Dells and Compaqs have to figure out what to do with old computers, 
they will compete to provide best service for lowest cost (once the Green 
Dot monopoly is finally broken...)

Is producer responsibility 'largesse'?
Absolutely not! No more so than compliance with any other 
social/environmental standards.
Largesse is charity. The environment cannot be left as a charity case.
IMHO one of the things wrong with these times is that corporations are 
given the discretion on which environmental responsibility to take: hence, 
they throw PR dollars at America Recycles Day/Keep America Beautiful but 
fight deposit laws and EPR.
If they have this much $ to throw around, they should not complain about 
internalizing environmental/social costs now passed on to public.

Recycling as local economic development.
When it's public sector economic activity, this is false accounting.
Comparable to the growth in GDP that came from clean-up of Exxon Valdez...

Dells and Compaqs setting up 'centralized infrastructure'
If we can tolerate 'centralized infrastructure' (I think you mean 
ownership) for production, distribution and retailing, why are we suddenly 
resisting it for recycling?
IMHO, centralized ownership of any of these market activities is the problem.
If we want to be consistent we will question it in all areas, not just 
recycling.

H.



At 10:41 AM 01/03/2002 -0600, David Wood wrote:

>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)?
>
>
>
>David Wood
>
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-greenyes@grrn.org [mailto:owner-greenyes@grrn.org] On Behalf 
>Of Steen, Terri - Contractor
>Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2002 8:37 AM
>To: 'Ted Smith'; greenyes@grrn.org
>Subject: RE: [GreenYes] Atwater Prison electronic recycling - Modesto Bee 
>Article
>
>
>
>Hi Ted,
>
>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?
>
>
>
>Terri
>
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Ted Smith [mailto:tsmith@svtc.org]
>Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 1:44 PM
>To: greenyes@grrn.org
>Subject: [GreenYes] Atwater Prison electronic recycling - Modesto Bee Article
>
>
>
>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 practices.
>
>Ted Smith
>
><http://www.modbee.com/local/story/1376902p-1446273c.html>http://www.modbee.c

om/local/story/1376902p-1446273c.html 
>
>



Atwater/UNICOR raises a cluster of interesting issues that others have
touched on. Here's my read:
<ul>
<li>Prisoners (and handicapped) providing 'low cost' labour.
<li>Companies brokering prisoners' labour for profit.
<li>Recycling as a community/government responsibility.
<li>Is producer responsibility 'largesse'?
<li>Recycling as local economic development.
<li>Dells and Compaqs setting up 'centralized infrastructure'
</ul>Prisoners (and handicapped) providing 'low cost' labour:
It makes sense that *work* be part of a prisoner's
rehabilitation.
The work should be meaningful to optimize the rehabilitation
benefits.
However, prisoner labour should not be traded in the marketplace.
It competes unfairly with non-prisoner labour, distorts labour market so
that demand for prison labour increases (hence incentive to incarcerate
people).
Prisoner/handicapped labour should be used for *work in public interest*,
rather than for profit.
What's wrong with making license plates? maybe wildlife rescue? or even
environmental monitoring?

Companies brokering prisoners' labour for profit
I don't like it: living off the avails
This is a much more fundamental issue than whether UNICOR's services are
'competitively priced'!

Recycling as *work in the public interest*
Here again is the traditional confusion over whether recycling is an
activity carried out 'in public interest'.
It is not the public/community that benefits from recycling.
It is the Dells and Compaqs and their consumers who avoid responsibility
by passing it on to the community.
Recycling, like other environmental requirements, should be part of the
cost of doing business.
Would you like to Ford/Dell/Compaq use prison labour for its assembly
lines? Safeway for its checkout lines?
Why should we tolerate using prison labour for recycling?
Recycling should be an extension of  marketing of products, not a
public clean-up project.
When Dells and Compaqs have to figure out what to do with old computers,
they will compete to provide best service for lowest cost (once the Green
Dot monopoly is finally broken...)

Is producer responsibility 'largesse'?
Absolutely not! No more so than compliance with any other
social/environmental standards.
Largesse is charity. The environment cannot be left as a charity
case.
IMHO one of the things wrong with these times is that corporations are
given the discretion on which environmental responsibility to take:
hence, they throw PR dollars at America Recycles Day/Keep America
Beautiful but fight deposit laws and EPR.
If they have this much $ to throw around, they should not complain about
internalizing environmental/social costs now passed on to public.

Recycling as local economic development.
When it's public sector economic activity, this is false
accounting.
Comparable to the growth in GDP that came from clean-up of Exxon
Valdez...

Dells and Compaqs setting up 'centralized infrastructure'
If we can tolerate 'centralized infrastructure' (I think you mean
ownership) for production, distribution and retailing, why are we
suddenly resisting it for recycling?
IMHO, centralized ownership of any of these market activities is the
problem.
If we want to be consistent we will question it in all areas, not just
recycling.

H.



At 10:41 AM 01/03/2002 -0600, David Wood wrote:

<blockquote type=cite class=cite cite>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)?

 

David Wood

 

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-greenyes@grrn.org
[<A HREF="mailto:owner-greenyes@grrn.org";>mailto:owner-greenyes@grrn.org</A>]
On Behalf Of Steen, Terri - Contractor
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2002 8:37 AM
To: 'Ted Smith'; greenyes@grrn.org
Subject: RE: [GreenYes] Atwater Prison electronic recycling -
Modesto Bee Article

 

Hi Ted,

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?

 

Terri   

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Smith
[<A HREF="mailto:tsmith@svtc.org";>mailto:tsmith@svtc.org</A>]
Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 1:44 PM
To: greenyes@grrn.org
Subject: [GreenYes] Atwater Prison electronic recycling - Modesto
Bee Article

 

Here is an article about a new
maximum security Federal Prison opening in California that some see as
the &quot;final solution&quot; to computer recycling.  I find it
rather alarming!  Another reason why we must develop guidelines for
sustainable recycling practices.

Ted Smith

<A HREF="http://www.modbee.com/local/story/1376902p-1446273c.html";>
http://www.modbee.com/local/story/1376902p-1446273c.html</A>


</blockquote>


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Jennifer Gitlitz
Senior Research Associate, Container Recycling Institute
Home office:
1010 Pleasant St.
Worcester, MA 01602
Phone: (508) 793-8516
eFax: (520) 833-0460
e-mail: jengitlitz@aol.com
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