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[greenyes] Re: computertakeback

Regarding the computertakeback initiative, I'm following it with great interest. However I noticed that the Pledge of True Stewardship wording has been changed since 2 years ago on both the BAN and SVTC sites - but also that the new wording on the two sites differs when it comes to export for repair.

There are 3 standards. Annex 9 of the Basel Convention explicitly allows export for repair. The Pledge promises to export only "tested working" equipment. The BAN Pledge text revision seems to at least understand Annex 9 but has added some language about replacement of "hazardous components" (which I might applaud if they also consider byproduct from new manufacturing, which is greater and more toxic, to the same standard).

Basel Convention Wording: This would appear to work well using EPA waste determination -- negative value items are waste, positive value items are commodities. The recent MIT study also follows that tack. The problem is that there is little "bottleneck" -- demand is in the thousands of monitors per day, and it's easy to slip junk ones along for the ride.

SVTC wording: This seems to try to address the TAR problem by screening out bad, or rather, "non-working" monitors. But I must say I find the "working" criteria a bit silly. I have Apple IIs which I could say are "tested working" (which we do NOT export), and 2004 monitors which suffer only from a pinched pins at the end of the cord, an easy fix (we are paid $10 each for them, tested non-working).

BAN Wording: This seems to acknowledge Annex 9 makes export for repair explicitly legal, but tries to address byproducts such as replaced circuit boards. It's true that the largest markets sometimes replace circuit boards, or even rebuild a completely new unit around the CRT tube. As I've told Jim and Sarah, my concern with the elimination of the "SKD" (semi-knock-down) market is that you are eliminating the largest, most skilled, talented, repair operations. That market also repairs and buys monitors in working condition, but frequently employs thousands of technicians, produces new CRT monitors in addition to refurbishing, and makes an economic decision whether the CRT will sell better in its current, perhaps yellowish, plastic housing, or is better removed and placed in a brand new TV/monitor/DVD combo) Those which do not have refurbishing or semi-knock-down capacity or skill are perhaps better following the text of the BAN version, but in my experience are less likely to completely reuse every CRT. The SKD guys can do this blindfolded, and can specifically price out a spec on a CRT based on radius (Apple and Sony are "R4" radius, more difficult to snap into a TV chassis. They can still be used working and can be repaired, but bring a lower price since the SKD is not as easy an option).

I do completely support your aims; we have seen the repair market abused, and many new import members of the WR3A state that as much as 30% of the monitors they import fail their basic criteria for repair.

There appear to be, incidentally, several Pledge signers who export to the same markets and through the same people we do. We are simply being up front about it. We don't want to criticize those signers since we believe selling to that refurbishing market is legal, ethical, and environmentally preferable. But to be told we can't be listed at seems to punish us for telling the truth.

Looking forward to your comments

Robin Ingenthron, president
Good Point Recycling

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