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Multiple Studies Show Used Electronics Exports To Third World Mostly Good

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the one-spoiled-teenager's-trash dept.

Earth 93

retroworks writes "Bloomberg News reporter Adam Minter writes in today's Opinion section that several studies show that there's nothing really remarkable or scandalous about exports of used equipment to developing nations. 'Some is recycled; some is repaired and refurbished for reuse; and some is thrown into landfills or incinerators. Almost none of it, however, is "dumped" overseas.' Minter begins with the most recent study (PDF), released by the U.S. International Trade Commission in March 2013. Several other studies from Peru, Nigeria, Ghana and China show there was never an incentive for overseas buyers to pay money to import junk, and that most of the junk filmed by activists in the dumps in those nations was used for years (Nigeria has had TV since the 1970s). 'A 2011 study by the United Nations Environment Program determined that only 9 percent of the used electronics imported by Nigeria — a country that is regularly depicted as a dumping ground for foreign e-waste — didn't work or were unrepairable, and thus bound for a recycler or a dump. The other 91 percent were reusable and bound for consumers who couldn't afford new products.' The one data source Bloomberg cannot find is a data point for the widely reported 'statistic' that 80-90% of used electronics imported by Africans are burned or dumped. In the comment section, two advocates for legislation banning the exports object to the survey methodology of one of the studies. But the source of the original statistic, reported by Greenpeace and Basel Action Network in their fundraising campaigns, remains a mystery."

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Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiting (1)

N3tRunner (164483) | about a year ago | (#43836149)

A lot of those "recycled" parts are remarked and sold on the market as either more expensive or newer parts. Keeping up with counterfeit electronics is becoming more of an issue every day for dealers and manufacturers as the third world sells our trash back to us masquerading as brand new technology.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43836229)

Do you know what you are talking about, sir ?

"Counterfeit electronics" ?

The counterfeit electronics that I know of are things like fake resistors and fake capacitors from China and Vietnam --- and they are all ***BRAND NEW***, not something salvaged from old electronics

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836321)

They may not be salvaged, but I would be really gratefull if it were only resistors and capacitors, which you can get a 1000 for cents. Actually I haven't ever seen a "fake resistor". If they are real, they work as good as the real ones, so I don't care.

The real problem is fake integrated circuits (IC), and it's a major problem at the moment.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836743)

Shit lol and you think this is a problem, actually those fake resistors can be doped and painted with toxic as fuck materials. Including radioactivity.

The Chinese have not changed since sending castrated slaves into the cinnabar mines, and they were probably doing just as bad shit before that.

Well now they have Beijing. And Hong Kong as "fun zones".

I would like my electronics to be certified to last 20 years without falling the fuck apart because they are made with quality parts and craftmanship. I would pay a small premium over the fucking ridiculous sums we pay for them now...

Oh my god the economies of this planet are so fucked up. A reset without loosing the technology would be great, we really need to re-think how we do business...

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#43840803)

"actually those fake resistors can be doped and painted with toxic as fuck materials. Including radioactivity."

Why? I wish you weren't A/C so that you might read this and reply with more details. Why would someone paint radioactive material on a resistor? Or.. why dope a resistor with anything? Certainly carbon isn't an expensive material!

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (2)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | about a year ago | (#43836347)

Do you know what you are talking about, sir ? "Counterfeit electronics" ? The counterfeit electronics that I know of are things like fake resistors and fake capacitors from China and Vietnam --- and they are all ***BRAND NEW***, not something salvaged from old electronics

Read the OP's post again: "remarked and sold on the market as either more expensive or newer parts". That's counterfeit, you think you're buying X when it's actually Y. And if you don't think it's counterfeit, I have a brand new 2013 model Mercedes S550 to sell you (please ignore the fact that it looks like a 1972 280SE).

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (3, Informative)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year ago | (#43836443)

We purchased some dataflash for a project, and they came with paperwork from Atmel, and an independent chip inspection to prove they were genuine.

Unless you had your orders in 48 weeks ahead of time, you could not get a few hundred unless someone had excess inventory because production was scheduled so tightly in the fabs, and demand was so high.

They were sold through certified resellers who provided the lineage and guaranteed they were genuine (for 5 - 10 X the budgetary quotes they gave when we started the design) it was real easy to find counterfeits, but very difficult to find genuine parts!

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

hjf (703092) | about a year ago | (#43837185)

I get my micros from microchipdirect. I can be certain they're not screwing me... right?

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year ago | (#43837295)

If they were sending you Atmel dataflash I'd be suspicious:)

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836607)

Except buying used marked as new is a problem with 1st world consultants not generally an issue with 3rd world manufacturers.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (4, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43836639)

Do you know what you are talking about, sir ?

"Counterfeit electronics" ?

The counterfeit electronics that I know of are things like fake resistors and fake capacitors from China and Vietnam --- and they are all ***BRAND NEW***, not something salvaged from old electronics

It's not resistors and Caps you have to worry about. It's IC's. There's no real profit in counterfeiting a .01 cent part. But there are plenty of IC's out there that are well over $50/chip. It's really easy to pass off an amplifier IC that is of inferior design to a much more expensive one if you just mold it in a similar way and then stamp it with the other chips data. By the time you're done putting it in your design, you wont know for days that you've been ripped off.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (3, Insightful)

RoboRay (735839) | about a year ago | (#43837115)

You must not have been around for the Great Motherboard Capacitor Rupturing of 1998, when just about every major motherboard manufacturing company fell victim to the hordes of fake caps being sold around Asia. Well, not fake exactly, but fake in that they were not as specified and only worked for a few months before bursting.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43839559)

They were fake exactly, in that they didn't contain what they were supposed to contain. People who thought they were buying capacitors were actually buying tiny capacitor bombs.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#43840757)

Not really the same thing. Those caps were made by the companies that were marked on them. They were just made wrong because one company stole the electrolyte formula from another but their copy was missing ingredients.

I'm not convinced they haven't just continued making those bad caps though. I have a stack of old motherboards and other pcbs with bad caps in my garage. They were all made well after 1998.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

RoboRay (735839) | about a year ago | (#43840889)

The "stolen formula" was sold and resold among several companies. The end-product (the caps) weren't exactly fake, but the recipe the makers bought to manufacture them was fake. My theory is that the missing ingredients were deliberate... that it was a honeypot by a company that wanted to find out which of (or if) its employees was stealing secrets.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43842429)

Thos are electrics, not electronics.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (4, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | about a year ago | (#43836281)

And greenpeace just making up statistics to support their agenda? Unthinkable!

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (4, Interesting)

Opyros (1153335) | about a year ago | (#43836365)

Well, they don't just make up statistics; they insert alarmist and armageddonist factoids [washingtonpost.com] , too.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836391)

The sad part is that I believed this since everybody reported the same thing. No journalism and fact-checking these days. I guess that's what happens when news turns into entertainment. News designed to produce an emotional response. Drama does this, but at least you know it's fiction.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43836549)

(Environmental) Fanatics saying anything to get people's attention and dollars? Who would have thought.

Don't let your girl read this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836539)

Holy shit man, don't let your girl read these lame fucking comments you post. She'll stop fucking you. Then she'll start fucking guys with more impact, verbally and otherwise.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (3, Interesting)

speedplane (552872) | about a year ago | (#43837153)

This is a huge problem, and I cannot believe counterfeiting was not even mentioned in the ITC report. Fake chips have shown up in military equipment, threatening untold number of lives. Here's a presentation by an Analog Devices rep reporting on the problem (pdf): http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2011/11%20November/Toohey%20Slides%20B%2011-08-11.pdf [senate.gov]

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (2, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43838025)

In case of military stuff, if it prevents weaponry from working, it may just as well SAVE lives.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843373)

you say that when an aegis system freaks out and phalanxes (anti missile chain gun) the hell out of a harbor.

When a system has the ability to take human life, you don't want it to not work, or worse, fail in a destructive manner.

There is being a dove (I myself am a dove), but purposely sabotaging military gear because you want to save lives, and end up costing more lives when it fails at the exact wrong time, is Troll Logic at best, and being an evil douchebag at worst.

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43840419)

Except that what the UNEP study found was the opposite - that developing nations buy the "capacitor plague" machines and (gasp!) fix the capacitor, the same as Americans and Europeans did in the 1970s. http://retroworks.blogspot.com/2010/09/e-waste-capacitor-heroes.html

Re:Mostly good except for electronics counterfeiti (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43842457)

Many times it's the dealers who resell the faulty crap returned buy a previous costumer.

No profit for anyone but the kind hearted (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year ago | (#43836175)

As soon as these 3rd world countries become second world or emerging countries you can bet the quality of electronic imports will drastically plummet as they are flooded with cheap knockoffs or outright junk by criminals out for a quick buck.

But since the population of these nations don't have a buck, the products that are being imported are good because they are from charitable organizations who are operating altruistically.

Re:No profit for anyone but the kind hearted (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836263)

They are going to join the soviet union?

Re:No profit for anyone but the kind hearted (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#43836299)

In Soviet Russia electronics import you.

Re:No profit for anyone but the kind hearted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836689)

Hey, you could have made it rhyme!

But since the population of these nations don't have a buck, the products that are being imported are good because they are from charitable organizations who give a ...

Fundraising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836215)

Shh, you might cost a lot of non-profits a lot of money. If you can't convince the morons in big cities that something is a disaster, then you can't survive off the guilt of others.

No wai! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836271)

Greenpeace making up statistics? That's nearly 100% untrue!

Re:No wai! (2, Insightful)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#43836289)

Greenpeace trying to make the lives of humans worse in the name of a nonexistant environment-related issue.
How ironic that an organization with such a name hides a pitch black heart filled with evil intent.

Re:No wai! (3, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about a year ago | (#43836533)

The whole thing is very sad, when there are plenty of actually horrible things happening in the environment that don't need to be made up. Fake, or overblown, disasters simply weary the world for when the real thing comes along.

Re:No wai! (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#43836809)

Yup, Greenpeace, aka a bunch of whiny rich kids who are so desperate to have something to scream about in their otherwise sheltered lives, is doing a huge disservice to the environmental movement as a whole. Somewhat ironic that a lot of the rich kids are benefitting off of the destruction of the environment, but critical thinking isn't really their strong suit.

Re:No wai! (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#43837337)

You know that this is an opinion piece in Bloomberg, a business rag. The USITC is there to promote trade and adjudicate certain trade disagreements, mostly imports. I don't see that it has any jurisdiction to really go to foreign countries to see how products exported from the US are used.

One can immediately be suspicous of an article that differentiates 'dumping' from being put in a landfill. Also, while there may be no incentive for another country to import junk, there is a lot of incentive for the US to export junk. Containers are sitting there unused at the ports, and it is probably only a few thousand dollars to send a container to the coast of Africa from the Gulf Coast. Once the container is there, any regulatory headaches concerning disposing of the computer equipment will be gone. The cargo ship can auction off the container for additional profit, and the purchase can sell what he can, and incinerate the rest, polluting the air with toxic heavy metals.

I am not saying this is what happens, but since we are treating opinion as news, who cares?

Re:No wai! (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43838049)

A lot of this electronic scrap is indeed SOLD to overseas customers. Otherwise there is not much incentive, unless dumping on a US landfill costs more than shipping it overseas, dealing with import on the other side, and having it dumped there. If shipping lines would have to auction off every single container of scrap they get, they'd very quickly stop accepting such cargo.

However the situation is indeed that overseas companies pay for the scrap. And often much more than the shipping cost. That's why there are so many commercial businesses collecting old equipment: it's got value. And at the destination country it will be refurbished and sold as product if anyhow possible, with valuable material recovery (mostly metals, including precious metals) the second option, and dumping when there is really no value left the final option.

Re:No wai! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43840461)

In at least half states it is illegal to dump electronics. The restriction can range for state funded efforts to reuse or recycle electronics to requirements that manufacturer show a minimum percentage of electronics do not end up in the landfill. Given this, any kind of dumping in the US can be significantly more expensive. As far as selling goes, this can be done just like storage locker sales. The buyer of a container is assuming that over time enough can be refurbished and sold to generate a profit. The OEM doesn't care because lifetime management is an expense to be minimized. If equipment had value, like aluminum cans, there would be no need for laws preventing the dumping. The free market would take of it.

Re:No wai! (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43842559)

Against my principles to reply to an AC but this one actually has a constructive comment. So here we go.

The problem is not so much the value of the products (it has a positive value), but the collection. That's too expensive, as products have to be collected from households. A computer here, a TV there, and before you know it you drive all over town to get a full truck. That's just very expensive, and makes the process uneconomical (because the dumping is free, and cleaning up of the pollution after the act is never added in the cost - the dumper doesn't have to pay that, after all).

The moment it is collected, it's got good value. No huge sums, a couple thousand US dollars for a 40' container load. More than enough to make it interesting as merchandise. And of course if you buy a load of old computers, you expect a certain percentage of broken or otherwise useless stuff. However even that has value, thanks to the gold and other valuable materials that are used in electronics.

Re:No wai! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43839229)

The author of this piece has written extensively on scrap in developing countries, principally China, for years. His blog is http://shanghaiscrap.com/ [shanghaiscrap.com] and while infrequently updated now, has him covering scrap 'hands on' for years.

Not quite a 'news jock' more someone that investigates and reports their investigations.

73.4% of statistics are made up on the spot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836309)

Hmm, Greenpeace caught out inventing arbitrary statistics without basis to support their line of argument again ? Who would have thought it would be possible at all ?

Re:73.4% of statistics are made up on the spot (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about a year ago | (#43836871)

66.6% of the above post was made up.

Re:73.4% of statistics are made up on the spot (1)

jc42 (318812) | about a year ago | (#43837109)

Then there was Stephen Wright's famous study showing that 82.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Greenpeace (1, Informative)

emilper (826945) | about a year ago | (#43836311)

not so long ago Greenpeace found, in the cooling water of a nuclear reactor in a less than waspish country, so much tritium that had it been separated and sold, the GDP of the said country would have doubled overnight .. or the price of tritium would have falled to the price of good bourbon.

When GP or WWF or some other of their partners shout "disaster" it is because they want more money. They don't give a f....... for the real issues.

Re:Greenpeace (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year ago | (#43836593)

That is not true. Geenpeace does care about the environment. I fear they are at the ends justify the means point. They have to make money to do the work they feel is so important so they must raise it.The people that will give the most are the ones that are most extreme and most scared so you feed the base to get the funds to do your "good works". The problem is at some point the extremists take over and believe the FUD, and enjoy the money and the glory of fighting the uncompromising good fight...
 

Re:Greenpeace (3, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43836927)

not so long ago Greenpeace found, in the cooling water of a nuclear reactor in a less than waspish country, so much tritium that had it been separated and sold, the GDP of the said country would have doubled overnight ..

Really? Then how come neither Google nor Greenpeace's own website has any mention of this? There are plenty of Greenpeace articles complaining that Canada has the worst tritium contamination in the world, but I don't think Canada is either non-waspish nor low GDP. There is also an article about tritium contamination in India [greenpeace.org] , but that was a case of deliberate sabotage. So could you please explain what you are talking about, and maybe provide an actual citation?

Re:Greenpeace (1)

emilper (826945) | about a year ago | (#43838915)

Cernavoda, not India nor Canada, though it's a Canadian design

Re:Greenpeace (2)

emilper (826945) | about a year ago | (#43838933)

it's not on their site because their accusations were ridiculous

Re:Greenpeace (2)

Krigl (1025293) | about a year ago | (#43839767)

Here [google.com] .

Also, absence of anything on Greenpeace's pages should be outright disregarded beforehand as a proof of anything. We're talking about organisation which threw it's founding member down the memory hole: Patrick Moore [archive.org] of the original Don't Make A Wave Committee is missing [greenpeace.org] now, though still listed as a crewmember of the ship. I vaguely remember he used to be completely vaporised from the pages but not sure and don't have time for Wayback Machine magic.

It's called "Poverty Porn" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836333)

Rich do-gooder takes pictures of poor person in less developed nation, raises funds. None of the funds go to the poor kids. In Africa, they have a different word for it... "Parasites of the Poor". The NGO made up a statistic from whole cloth and raised millions, not a dime goes to the kids in their landfill photos.

imports? (1)

korgitser (1809018) | about a year ago | (#43836367)

This story talks about junk imports (implied sale to end-user), a topic I never heard before. IIRC the problem with the 3rd world and electronics is that they get sent a lot of junk as "humanitarian aid", since shipping is way cheaper than recycling and as a byproduct even creates good PR.

Also reminds me of an audit in a Brazilian? port that found multiple shipping containers full of medical waste from an unknown English hospital. The waste was just sent to be forgotten there as an alternative to costly hazardous waste recycling.

Re:imports? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43836573)

Medical waste is not nearly as hazardous as people think it is, for a start.

Re:imports? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43839577)

Medical waste is not nearly as hazardous as people think it is, for a start.

That depends on what it is. Contaminated sharps? Not a big deal after a year or so. Bits of human bodies? Might still be a big issue, if there's enough of them.

Re:imports? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43910543)

Human bodies have always been a morality issue, and in the case of medical waste, a legal issue. Contrary to popular belief, human bodies do not "transmit disease" directly. Of course I don't recommend you get on all fours and start drinking any rainwater washing off of one that's been out in the sun a few days. But they stink. They upset people. Therefore vast amounts of precious, limited human resources are always wasted during disaster situation dealing with "the bodies" when that labor could be employed in a far more useful and beneficial manner.

Re:imports? (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#43836993)

Most likely Bosnia, where disposal of warehouses of expired medicines (expired before they were delivered) was a major problem for a time. After the Indian Ocean tsunami one of the primary donors of medical supplies was Pfizer, who used the opportunity to dump massive quantities of expired Viagra for a tax write-off.

Re:imports? (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year ago | (#43838917)

After the Indian Ocean tsunami one of the primary donors of medical supplies was Pfizer, who used the opportunity to dump massive quantities of expired Viagra for a tax write-off.

Source?

I see people claiming that they donated their own products rather than cash: http://canadiancynic.blogspot.fr/2005/01/mythical-35-million-pfizer-tsunami.html [blogspot.fr]

But where is "expired viagra" mentioned?

Re:imports? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43838081)

Recycling trade is huge. I'm involved in plastic recycling trade myself. Wastes are collected all over the world for recycling, and often sent overseas where recycling is cheaper (like in China) or where they have the better equipment (TFA mentions a factory in Belgium that's particularly good at extracting precious materials - and as such can pay the best price for the scrap).

And besides trading scrap materials for recycling, there is a big trade in used equipment. Many products are being resold and reused: the most obvious ones are cars and houses. When someone is done using it, they sell it to someone who can use it again. Same for computers, printers, copyers, TVs, radios, etc. Many computers we throw out for being "too old" are still working perfectly. May need some cleaning up (dusty fans) and a fresh software install, but after that they're normally good to go for a few more years.

Used hard disks (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#43836425)

We also export used hard disks, filled with personal data that may be recycled for fun and profit in third world nation that cannot afford Facebook-style or NSA-style data collection.

Re:Used hard disks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836737)

Or used XboxOne games.

Re:Used hard disks (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43837171)

if your too stupid to erase your media before recycling it then good, you deserve it

Re:Used hard disks (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#43837345)

I do not erase hard disks, I destroy them. But for the average user it is difficult to avoid data leak

First they must know that there is data retained. Application behavior are not always obvious on this front.

Second, they must know what procedure is reliable: removing a file does not really remove data. Formatting the disk may still leave a lot of data behind

And third, they may completely miss the point in some situation. It is easy to discard a printer without thinking that it contains a hard disk with printed jobs retained in it

Re:Used hard disks (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43837741)

no most typical users toss their machines into a public dumpster or local computer store, there is no thought, effort or knowledge behind it

go live in an apartment complex for a few years, see how many xp and vista machines you fish out

Consider the years of the studies ... (2)

MacTO (1161105) | about a year ago | (#43836447)

I took a quick look at the introductory material of the report, and the data appeared to be for 2011. This is well after regulatory changes were made so the data may reflect a positive outcome from those regulatory changes.

(I'm no fan of "GreenPeace" and similar groups, but the degree of hate expressed by some people is beyond belief.)

Re:Consider the years of the studies ... (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43836949)

Is it greater or less than the hatred shown by GreenPeace and similar groups towards conservatives? I've read some really sick stuff on this very website, expressed by educated people who consider themselves open-minded and tolerant of other people's opinions.

Re:Consider the years of the studies ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837033)

Yes. And for the record I'm assuming you're talking about American Politics.

Typical conservative trolling involves lots of hyperbole and superlatives. "Those stupid lazy bastards who don't want to work are taking our tax dollars. Stop welfare!" You'll see extremes where people talk about overthrowing the government but they'll say things like 'try and take my gun' or 'Obamacare' and they'll call liberals 'whiny' and either 'poor' or 'over-privileged', it depends on what issue you are upset with (also, a rich person would call any liberal 'whiny' or 'a welfare case', and a poor person would call any liberal 'over-privileged' or 'not working hard enough'.

Typical liberal trolling involves finger pointing and rants. "I can't believe that anyone in this day and age doesn't believe in global warming. Its the fault of conservative new media who are threatened by losing ad revenue." You'll see extremes where people will call politicians 'slaves' and the terms they use for conservatives are 'uneducated' or 'brainwashed', and they tend to think of republicans as fat-cat bankers or as the GOP (Gods Own Party).

Now, I'm not saying there aren't conservative/liberal trolls that overcome this stereotype - which is what this is, a gross stereotype. But its pretty accurate.

That aside, the real issue is equality. We're shipping our used third rate shit to third world countries. Makes me wonder how old this shit is as you can buy computers that are 7 years old or more still in some places in the west. Rather than export education and equality, we continue to make a profit on 2nd hand crap from people who can't really afford that Pentium 4 that sucks up 130watts at idle..........

Re:Consider the years of the studies ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837575)

Liberals are known for their 'tolerance'. The only thing they can't tolerate is a conservative that is not tolerant....making the liberal intolerant themselves. Hard to see from behind their own eyes, I suppose.

come on. (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#43836495)

The statistic driving legislators is that 80 to 90 percent is waste and bound to be trashed. This stat, unsubstantiated of course, comes courtesy of Greenpeace.

I am all for environmental protections. I am pretty doggone liberal, but greenpeace makes your most extreme tinfoil hat wearing slashdot neck beard look normal.

Someone out there really wants our trash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836563)

I once put up 2 free CRT TVs and had many requests from people wanting both of them. I can see wanting one if replacing a broken unit and strapped for cash, but who in this day in age hoards CRTs? The guy who showed up had a distinct african accent. I can only guess where the TVs went.

Another time, my office management organized a free e-waste recycling day. I dropped off some motherboard/CPUs, a printer, and some laptops. When handing over the stuff, I was greeted with a thank you. At that moment, I was dumbfounded. It was a kin to the garbage man thanking me for my garbage. These are my only recounts of e-waste recycling but every time, the middlemen handlers have been very grateful.

Re:Someone out there really wants our trash (1)

_133MHz (1556101) | about a year ago | (#43837971)

but who in this day in age hoards CRTs?

People who are into retro video games, where newer display technologies just don't cut it.
Better stock up on CRT TVs if you want to keep your razor sharp, lag free 240p/288p gaming fix for the future.

Re:Someone out there really wants our trash (1)

Lotana (842533) | about a year ago | (#43838887)

I love my CRT monitor. Bright, sharp, 4/3 and handles different resolutions of old games flawlessly. Sure it is heavy, consumes more power, takes up space and makes faint noise, but I love it all the same.

One day it will die and I won't be able to replace it. Shame...

Re:Someone out there really wants our trash (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year ago | (#43842295)

My NES and SNES look great on an LCD. I suppose you'll need a CRT only if you want to play light gun games. Now, I haven't tried my Atari, which might look horrible because of how the inevitable RF interference appears. But that could be fixed by a hack to bypass the RF modulator and get pure composite out.

so what? US #1 export is still rubbish. (1)

JimtownKelly (634785) | about a year ago | (#43836571)

Actually, most US export containers are filled with scrap paper and chemical waste.

Re:so what? US #1 export is still rubbish. (1)

plopez (54068) | about a year ago | (#43837365)

I'd like to know what happens to the chemical waste.

so googling china e-waste (-1, Troll)

decora (1710862) | about a year ago | (#43836619)

is pictures of, what? fake kids melting down gold? fake pollution? eat shit.

Re:so googling china e-waste (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year ago | (#43837155)

Real pictures, real gold, real pollution, wrongly implicated source.

Every nation has waste, and most have electronic trash. It doesn't all come from the US, as implied.

Here's an excellent example. This Article [guardian.co.uk] says the waste comes from the United States and Europe. If you zoom in a little to read the label, it comes from "World Bank" 9032, which is in Sudan. So scrap electronics in Africa (as portrayed by the other photos) did originate in Africa.

There's actually a really strong market for reduction of electronic waste, where they do recycle precious and scrap metals from them. That market depends on skilled workers using real equipment, not scavenger kids processing them by hand, and losing valuable scrap in the dirt.

Greenpeace making shit up? (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#43836775)

<SARCASM>They'd never do that to further their agenda.</SARCASM>

Yet another good idea (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#43836959)

Ban all exports of old electronic equiptment! It's the "green" thing to do.

It's a great way to sell more new products.

Maybe Greenpeace has sold out to Big Consumerism

The impacts could still be huge (1)

plopez (54068) | about a year ago | (#43837349)

From the PDF:
"informal processing describes the disassembly of UEP as by individuals in unregulated, often
impoverished, settings with little regard to health, safety, and the environment. The survey could not determine whether
U.S. exports of UEPs bound for recycling or disposal in 2011 were sent to such facilities, nor could it capture ad hoc shipments of undeclared
UEPs mixed in with exports of other items."

In other words, they still do not know what happens to the actual exports or even what the actual exports are. Basically using this study to draw conclusions about
the environmental impact is impossible. What it does say is there is a large amount of economic benefit, using their estimates. What the environmental impact, and secondary economic costs, might be is unknown. Using this document as nothing more than a rough economic estimate probably is probably invalid.

Re:The impacts could still be huge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43839431)

Which is perhaps why the article also links to the studies funded by Basel Convention Secretariat and UN Env. Programme, which show that the Africans importing said "waste" earn 6 times the average wage and achieve 91% reuse. Compare that to 11.9% store returns in California, or 8-33% failure (electrostatic discharge) of brand new product. Does your doubt merit the arrests of the Africans who fly, inspect, buy, and ship the goods?

Re:The impacts could still be huge (1)

plopez (54068) | about a year ago | (#43840001)

It still does not measure environmental impact.

statistical details: the percentage is of "value" (4, Interesting)

Ragica (552891) | about a year ago | (#43837355)

Anyone look at the original report? My scanning of it indicates that all the percentages being give are based on the "value" (i.e. money) of the UEPs (used electronic products). Am I wrong? In this light one would certainly expect that the most valuable and fully functional of the UEPs would remain domestic and be resold!

And, if true, this is quite possibly/probably not actually related at all to the 10+ year old statistic given offered by BAN, which gives me the impression to have been by volume (i.e. physical amount of junk); though the BAN report is not specific about this. The statistic in Bloomberg linked BAN report is offered hardly more than anedotally in a mere pull quote, attributed to "Informed recycling industry sources".

On the topic of data sources, I noticed in the new report, especially around the topic of "export", the data seems to be basically self-reported by the industry, and in places is guessed at as no one really knows what happens with a lot of the stuff that leaves the country. And probably not a lot of people in this industry in the US are anxious to give the impression that they are dumping on 3rd world countries, when reporting their data. Not to say the data isn't good or interesting data, but still there is room for questions as to the meaning and depth of some of the data.

It would also be interesting to know if things have changed significantly in the UEP industry in the last 10+ years. I'd imagine that it would have since the explosion of personal electronics. Surely there is a vastly greater amount of upgrade grind going on now, where people discard working devices just because their phone contract seduces them to upgrade, and the much higher prevalence of other devices such as laptops, tablets, audio players, etc. The percentages may have indeed significantly changed since BANs 10+ year old report.

It seems rather interesting how so many here are taking this as an opportunity to immediately attack Greenpeace, comparing a 10+ year old statistic (which may not even be based on the same units) with a brand new (probably well funded) industry report, reported via Bloomberg (not exactly a publication known for it's defense of the environment, or even science). This seems a little ridiculous, if not entirely pathetic.

Re:statistical details: the percentage is of "valu (1)

plopez (54068) | about a year ago | (#43837369)

Holy cow! A second person who actually read the PDF! What is slashdot coming to, informed debate?

Data is better than no data (1)

mveloso (325617) | about a year ago | (#43837969)

Well, you may dispute the origin of the study, but they have data and the original one does not.

If this was real science, which one would you believe, the one with data and a methodology that you can criticize, or the one that pulls random numbers out of their ass for political gain?

Re:statistical details: the percentage is of "valu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43838929)

Did you look at the UNEP reports from Ghana and Nigeria in the article? There are now about 6 studies, of various methodology, which show 85-91% reuse of devices like CRT monitors and TVs (the lions share of the exports, and very low copper scrap value). So even if the recycling is horrific (something also yet to be proven, hand-disassembly is considered superior to shredding), which statistic supports $7000 shipping costs to Africa? And are you sufficiently comfortable, in criticizing the one study, with the arrests of 40 African traders last December in Europe?

The "statistic" in BAN's ten year old report was made up ten years ago. Jim Puckett has publicly admitted to fabricating it (his words were "it was an estimate") Most of the trade then was reuse (refurbishing display devices, in particular, though it was the refilling of ink cartridges that got BAN corporate donations).

The NGOs are distracting Interpol and other western agents of conscience from real problems, like ivory smuggling, rhino horn, conflict mining, etc. The "tinkerer economy" in emerging markets is actually the very best thing they have going, and to have made up a false statistic about African tinkerers which resulted in arrests and product seizures, is what is "entirely pathetic".

Re:statistical details: the percentage is of "valu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43839505)

And the NGOs continue to run press releases with the "ten year old statistic" (which they made up). From a recent press release:

"Placentia, California Joins Effort to Tackle Electronic Waste E-waste is the world’s fastest growing pollution problem. According to Time Magazine, Americans throw out more than 350,000 cell phones and 130,000 computers every day. Approximately 80% of electronic waste currently delivered to recyclers is actually exported to developing countries. Improperly disposed of, the lead, mercury and other toxic materials inside e-waste can poison workers and pollute communities."

Placentia, CA paid BAN to certify they are not exporting bad equipment. If BAN doesn't know anything about the statistics on export of bad equipment, should BAN be in the certification business? And how do you justify their promotion of legislation to make the purchase of used equipment by Africans illegal?

http://retroworks.blogspot.com/2013/03/caer-is-wrong-about-e-waste-just-wrong.html

--

Re:statistical details: UNEP Studies (1)

retroworks (652802) | about a year ago | (#43840043)

Ragica,

The problem with your analysis is 1) there never was data ten years ago, 2) the "report" from ten years ago is still being circulated as "fact" in 2013, 3) African geeks (who fly to EU to buy the TVs and CRT computer monitors, etc.) are being profiled and arrested NOW. See Interpol 2013 press release on the arrests of 40 Africans in Europe. http://retroworks.blogspot.com/2013/03/reuse-while-black-presumed-guilty.html [blogspot.com]

The NGO's are promoting passage of a law (through a "big shred" industry group, CAER), which seems to be the "self reported by industry" smoking gun. CAER also published the phony data in 2013, see link to CAER "study" (repeating claim that 80% of exports are dumped) http://retroworks.blogspot.com/2013/03/caer-is-wrong-about-e-waste-just-wrong.html [blogspot.com]

So, believe it or not, most of the anger at BAN and Greenpeace is from Environmentalists and Peace Corps volunteers, like myself. I grew up in the deep South USA, and would compare the firehose of disinformation by these NGOs to the firefighters in Birgmingham Alabama, who used their water to hose down civil rights marchers. The firefighters in Birmingham were not "bad people", and I don't "attack them". But Africans are getting arrested despite detailed studies of the goods they import into Africa which find higher reuse rates than brand new product sold there. That seems to me more than a little ridiculous, and entirely pathetic. Are you ok with the Interpol arrests based on the 80-90% "primitive dumping" number? Should the Board of Directors of Greenpeace feel at peace with it?

Landfills...!? (1)

spacefight (577141) | about a year ago | (#43838331)

It's 2013 guys - if people around the world (and even spread it and compare it in studies) think, that landfills are a good idea and better than dumping in to the sea, it's time to get real....

Anecdotal experience in Uganda (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43838551)

I live in Uganda, where it is illegal to import used electronics. From my day to day experience this seems to have been a very good policy. There used to be a huge hassle with junk parts being palmed off to consumers; it would be very difficult to know what to trust. Since there are basically no effective consumer protection laws here, this was a big problem.

Donations of used computers to schools etc also had negative consequences. The first effect of that would be to undermine the business of Ugandan electronics dealers. The second was that a lot of donated stuff would end up on the market anyway (and often be sold as "nearly new" or "refurbished" to any buyers who could be tricked into it), creating the problems above. Basically, if you're thinking you should be giving your old laptop to the poor kids of Africa, first imagine it being sold off by the underpaid headmaster of the school, and secondly somebody using their scarce personal resources to buy it, having been promised by the seller that it is "good as new".

Good for Who (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43838841)

People who export E-Waste have released studies showing that E-Waste exporting is beneficial. Shocking. Also, even if that is accurate, 9% is a lot of E-Waste.

Re:Good for Who (Informative) (1)

retroworks (652802) | about a year ago | (#43839663)

Dear Anonymous Coward:

Here is a link to the studies, funded by the United Nations Environmental Programme and the Basel Convention Secretariat... who I guess you consider to be "people who export E-Waste" (sources of the studies)

http://www.basel.int/Implementation/TechnicalAssistance/EWaste/EwasteAfricaProject/Publications/tabid/2553/Default.aspx

Oh, and the 9% fallout, that's less than brand new product, according to the Electrostatic Discharge Journal, and less than California store returns (11.9%). But just keep arresting those African polluters (http://retroworks.blogspot.com/2013/03/reuse-while-black-presumed-guilty.html), and lobbying for a bill in Congress to make the exports illegal.

Nigeria has had TV since the 1970s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43838969)

Nigeria uses PAL which is incompatible with the US NTSC TV system. So I ask you sir, what are they using those American TVs for? Breakfast tables?

Re:Nigeria has had TV since the 1970s (1)

_133MHz (1556101) | about a year ago | (#43843097)

Old NTSC TVs can be modified to display PAL signals by tweaking the vertical scan rate, the RF/IF stages and by adding a PAL color decoder board in the right place. Sometimes the external board isn't needed at all, the set's own chassis has the spots to add the missing PAL decoder components, this is especially true of cheap Asian made TVs intended for worldwide export. Countries like Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay had a lot of experience in modifying US NTSC-M or Brazilian PAL-M imported TV sets into their unique PAL-N standard, as in every TV repairman worth his/her salt could perform such a modification. Russia was in a similar situation during the early 90s, old Soviet-era TV sets were SECAM only, and since Russia didn't have an official video game market consoles entering the country were PAL. A decoder board could be installed by your local TV tech if you wanted to play video games in color on your old TV.

Newer CRT TVs with full microprocessor control (two or one-chip designs) are either NTSC/PAL compatible from the get-go or just need a slight software change to get them to display PAL signals. Again, this is especially true of cheap, mass produced designs intended to cover most of the world's TV standards with few to no alterations. Line voltage is also a non-issue nowadays, most switching power supplies are able to take any voltage between 90 and 260V AC, just replace the plug on the end to fit your outlets.
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