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UK Man Sentenced To 16 Months For Exporting 'E-Waste' Despite 91% Reuse

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the be-careful-not-to-solve-problems-without-the-express-consent-of-government dept.

Earth 212

retroworks writes: The Guardian uses a stock photo of obvious electronic junk in its coverage of the sentencing of Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics. But film of the actual containers showed fairly uniform, sorted televisions which typically work for 20 years. In 2013, the Basel Convention Secretariat released findings on a two-year study of the seized sea containers containing the alleged "e-waste," including Benson's in Nigeria, and found 91% of the devices were working or repairable. The study, covered by Slashdot in Feb. 2013, declared the shipments legal, and further reported that they were more likely to work than new product sent to Africa (which may be shelf returns from bad lots, part of the reason Africans prefer used TVs from nations with strong warranty laws).

Director of regulated industry Harvey Bradshaw of the U.K. tells the Guardian: "This sentence is a landmark ruling because it's the first time anyone has been sent to prison for illegal waste exports." But five separate university research projects question what the crime was, and whether prohibition in trade is really the best way to reduce the percentage of bad product (less than 100% waste). Admittedly, I have been following this case from the beginning and interviewed both Benson and the Basel Secretariat Executive Director, and am shocked that the U.K. judge went ahead with the sentencing following the publication of the E-Waste Assessment Study last year. But what do Slashdotters think about the campaign to arrest African geeks who pay 10 times the value of scrap for used products replaced in rich nations?

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And yet (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 4 months ago | (#47290593)

Somehow, it's worse in th eUSA

Re: And yet (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290607)

That's the problem with Capitalism these days, if you're not bribing the right people in government, you can't sell stuff.

Re: And yet (4, Insightful)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 4 months ago | (#47290665)

How is that a capitalism problem? Capitalism puts emphasis on the private sector, not the government. Furthermore, I don't think this is even something advocated by any private entities. All of the lobbying behind this is environmentalist groups (which actually tend to lean socialist and/or communist) who think that they're doing the planet a favor by preventing used electronics from going to countries that are often the last stop in the useful life of goods (when they "recycle" them, they send to scrap the valuable raw materials, and just trash or burn the rest.)

In this case, you have to decide what is worse: Preventing all technology exports to these countries (which guarantees that they'll remain in third world status forever) or allowing about 20% of these goods to end up being discarded on the ground.

This problem is cultural in nature rather than cost related in nature. For example, in countries like Liberia it is actually common for people to defecate in public and just leave it there (they don't even bury it,) and often eat in the same place (breaking the old "don't shit where you eat" rule.) This creates a health AND environmental hazard that really has nothing to do with technology or politics, rather it's just really bad decisions made by the people over there.

Depriving them of technology will NOT solve this problem.

Re: And yet (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47291139)

In this case, you have to decide what is worse: Preventing all technology exports to these countries (which guarantees that they'll remain in third world status forever) or allowing about 20% of these goods to end up being discarded on the ground.

False dichotomy. The computers can be sorted into useful and not before shipment.

Re: And yet (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 4 months ago | (#47291203)

False dichotomy. The computers can be sorted into useful and not before shipment.

Well...no. Remember this is the LAST STOP. Even if it is useful when it arrives, it doesn't stay useful forever. And once it stops being useful, then where does it go?

Re: And yet (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291213)

Where do ours go if we can't dump them on Africa?

Re: And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291773)

In Europe, a larg portion of them will be properly recycled. That means the toxic components will be removed and treated properly. That's not something you can rely on in Africa.

Difficult call, but it must be done officially and with people properly calculating the lesser evils.

Re: And yet (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 4 months ago | (#47291701)

And once it stops being useful, then where does it go?

My environmental training goes basically 'reduce, reuse, recycle, only then discard.

As such, I think there's serious issues with this case. Even if they end up discarded rather than recycled, from what I've read recycling is often not all that 'environmental', due to the pollution and waste caused by the act of collection and recycling. Reuse avoids the expense of tear-down and rebuild, and is thus often cheaper*.

Worst case I think is that the stuff ends up stored in a dump until it becomes economical to extract again. There's plenty in things like computers that is rare enough that it's higher density in computers than in the original ore, so once you pile up enough of it to justify the expense of installing a processor in the area, it's easy. Making it easier yet would be that there are large deposits of rare elements in Africa that could be a stimulus.

*Plastic vs glass bottles is one counter-example.

Re: And yet (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47290833)

Actually, the party elite in the soviet union were bribed regularly in order to make sure things happened when they needed to. A government demanding bribes for doing what it's supposed to do is not 'capitalism.'

Re: And yet (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290897)

Everything is capitalism, and the price is always negotiable, depending on the weaponry you hold. Some markets are more open than others. That is the sole difference amongst all nations.

Re: And yet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291429)

A lesson to all you kids, post all truth anonymously to keep your karma up. The shills have too much power.

Re: And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290993)

Actually, the party elite in the soviet union were bribed regularly in order to make sure things happened when they needed to. A government demanding bribes for doing what it's supposed to do is not 'capitalism.'

i wonder if APK can convince governments to use HOSTS files, freeing up computational resources to come up with solutions to this problem.

Re: And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291113)

Only if you convince him to take his drugs.

Re: And yet (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47291247)

Hey keep quiet. if the NSA used host files snowden would've failed. Don't give them ideas.

Re: And yet (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291219)

No, it's "greedy". And considering greed is one of the main reasons why people go into politics, it's system independent.

Ah, it's heart warming to see that after all at least some creeds unite politicians all over the globe.

Re: And yet (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291211)

It's the logical result of capitalism: You get the best government money can buy.

Re:And yet (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 4 months ago | (#47290839)

Yep. Because selling used equipment to Africa can be called illegal export of e-waste, it has to be destroyed and a lot ends up in landfills. Real fucking green.

Re:And yet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291027)

Yep. Because selling used equipment to Africa can be called illegal export of e-waste, it has to be destroyed and a lot ends up in landfills. Real fucking green.

not a lot of point in selling this shit to africa. all theyre going to do is stack the computers up and paint tribal totems on them and dance around them. maybe theyll sharpen their stone spears on teh sheet metal the cases are made of. everything more advanced then that was made by white men.

Re:And yet (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291225)

Last time I checked most of the crap that we consider bleedin' edge technology is manufactured by the yellow man, with the software inside being made by the light brown man.

If you want to be racist, at least choose your battles in such a way that you don't look like white trash in the end.

Re:And yet (5, Interesting)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#47291399)

Dell has a program here where I live to destroy all computers that are donated to Goodwill. It doesn't matter if it's two years old or ten years old, if you donate a PC to Goodwill, Dell has a bounty on it and off it goes to the shredder.

I'd hardly call it a 'green' program. It's Dell insuring that there isn't a strong secondary market for PCs. It's heartbreaking sometimes to see the nice new keyboards, mice, and displays come out on the sales floor, and know that recent-vintage machines were probably donated with them.

Oh, and it's because the bogey-man would get the 'information' on the hard drives. And... and... and... somebody might install something from Microsoft on the machines that they didn't properly pay for... or worse... something other than Microsoft.

Arbitrage is not for you (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 4 months ago | (#47290631)

Remember, arbitrage is only legal when dealing with intangible financial instruments. Arbitrage with actual products is gauche and therefore punishable.

Punishing the little fry ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291067)

... Arbitrage with actual products is gauche and therefore punishable ...

If the arbitrage was carried out by humongous multinationals, such as Japan's Mitsubishi Group or America's GE's, no, nobody dare to punish them

It's only punishable when small fry does it, small fry like that Mr. Benson in TFA

The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem. (2)

mellon (7048) | about 4 months ago | (#47290685)

The way quite a bit of e-waste gets out of countries with strong regulations is by being shipped in "working" or "repairable" units, which are in principle allowed by law, even though they are actually waste. So this may be a bad thing, or may be a good thing, depending on the details. The mere fact that the devices are working or repairable does not mean that they aren't waste--if someone gave you a working 20-year-old TV, would you want it?

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290703)

The way quite a bit of e-waste gets out of countries with strong regulations is by being shipped in "working" or "repairable" units, which are in principle allowed by law, even though they are actually waste. So this may be a bad thing, or may be a good thing, depending on the details. The mere fact that the devices are working or repairable does not mean that they aren't waste--if someone gave you a working 20-year-old TV, would you want it?

If I didn't already have something better, then yes, I would want it. My current main television is about 10 years old, and I bought it used two years ago to replace another that was 14 years old and needed an expensive repair.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1, Funny)

mellon (7048) | about 4 months ago | (#47290747)

What would you watch on it? Where would you get the power to run it?

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290779)

Prehistoric vidya games.

Just plug it in.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | about 4 months ago | (#47291337)

Probably whatever OTA Analog broadcasts are around ( no digital receivers so older analog is fine), VHS / DVDs from players from the same era, and whatever the local market that wants the damn things has available ETC.
Just because you are privileged and can afford cable / digital OTA / blueray ETC doesn't mean there isn't a market ( which there obviously is ) for older tech in less privileged areas.

Besides, I would rather see the stuff being used than have to have plants built for stripping the old crap of anything useful; I don't want the acids, bases, and assorted other harsh chemical shit needed for reclamation anywhere near me.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291367)

"What would you watch on it? Where would you get the power to run it?"

Really? Maybe you were the judge in this case? Newsflash: Cities in Africa have electricity and internet. Average urban income is about $3,000 per capita per year. 6M households with TV in Lagos alone. Go to youtube and search "traffic in Cairo" or "traffic in Lagos", search Africa and Tech on twitter, then ask where Africans, who buy these and pay for the shipping, are plugging it in.

.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#47290755)

My current main television is about 10 years old, and I bought it used two years ago to replace another that was 14 years old and needed an expensive repair.

You are not the "norm". For the majority of consumers 2 years old is obsolete.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290783)

You are not in the norm;
Most people I know have televisions and other electronics that are 10+ years old; even more so for people in the 40+ demographic.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290847)

You are not in the norm;
Most people I know have televisions and other electronics that are 10+ years old; even more so for people in the 40+ demographic.

I also wonder if his "norm" is considered "norm" in the Africa these tvs are exported to...

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

mellon (7048) | about 4 months ago | (#47290957)

It's not—if they can use the TV, they will want to. The problem is that most likely they can't. Even if it's in working order, it has to be able to display the signals that are available to receive, and you have to be able to get power for it. And CRTs draw a lot of power.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291137)

You do realize that they have electricity and media on the continent of Africa, right? It's a huge and very diverse place.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291201)

You do realize that they have electricity and media on the continent of Africa, right? It's a huge and very diverse place.

yeah its full of niggers. all kinds of diverse gang violence there. american inner cities are only copycats by comparison. they dont have gang leaders in africa they have frickin warlords. everything the average african american male could aspire to attain! i mean how else do you explain 6-7% of the population responsible for 50% of all teh murders in the nation? that statistic just doesnt go away because you want it to. can't gloss over it. it must have an explanation. a theory of "all people are equal" is a joke if it can't explain such things. "white racism" doesnt explain it because most of the US murders are black males killing other black males. whites who hate black people would hope for this huh. so other than inherent violence and inability to get along in and contribute to a civil society, how do you mainstream types explain this?

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291379)

Put down your 1960s TinTin comic book. Google "World Bank" and find out how many cities in Africa have electricity and TV stations and internet.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 4 months ago | (#47290859)

My current main television is about 10 years old, and I bought it used two years ago to replace another that was 14 years old and needed an expensive repair.

You are not the "norm". For the majority of consumers 2 years old is obsolete.

For the majority of consumers in the first world. If you ever traveled more than 10 miles from your house you might find that other people live differently than you do. A 10 year old TV in some communities in India is a luxury!

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291235)

That's so 5 years ago.

Today people may consider it "obsolete", but lacking the funds to replace it with something new, it'll have to do. And just WHY people don't buy new crap, whether they are like my dad who just recently realized that he might ponder considering replacing his VHS recorder with a DVD player ("It's still working, ya know?") and who buys a new computer every 10 years or so ("it's still working and I don't run it on battery anyway"), or whether they simply cannot afford a new set despite wanting the latest and greatest in consumer gadgets, the result is the same: NO SALE.

And that's why the economy is in the slump. People have no money to buy new shit.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 4 months ago | (#47291707)

You're both correct and both incorrect.

In the USA the average TV is replaced at about
six years old [displaysearch.com] . It used to be longer.

I might consider my TV obsolete, but it's not so bad as to require replacement yet. Same with my computer. Going by family history what tends to happen is that the main TV in the living room gets replaced by a bigger/better one, then the old TV there moves downstairs to the family room, that one ends up in a bedroom, etc...

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (3)

TheDayOfMe (808363) | about 4 months ago | (#47290753)

I would definitely take a working 20 year old TV if I had no hope of getting one any other way. It's all about "what can I afford".

These TVs are waste because they are not digital, the countries they are going to are probably a long way from going digital.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47290785)

Even in the US a converter box or cable box takes care of the digital problem.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (3, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 4 months ago | (#47290869)

These TVs are waste because they are not digital, the countries they are going to are probably a long way from going digital.

CRTs also hold up to the elements much better, and some places do not have 24hr AC. Or any AC. (Air conditioning, not power)

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 4 months ago | (#47290913)

I'm curious about this; do you have a source, or is that from experience?

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

mikael (484) | about 4 months ago | (#47291103)

Anyone has visited or lived in Africa will tell you that. You just need to look at satellite photographs of Earth at night to see that Africa has electricity. Like any rural area, the main hazards to power supply are thunderstorms and local wildlife. Power failures are frequent, along with the associated power surges and fluctuating power line voltages.

Africa is on the equator, so the climate is like Florida or New York in Summer but all year round. Sunrise at 6am, sunset at 6pm. Air conditioning is a luxury usually available only to office blocks and hotels. Any building without air conditioning becomes an oven. So having a 32" 600 watt plasma display wouldn't be appreciated. A small 12" black/white CRT is ideal and the bulkiness prevents looters from stealing it.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 4 months ago | (#47291359)

Heh, I kinda got lost in thinking about CRTs and how they hold up to the elements, and forgot to direct my question at that in particular instead of the AC-related part of that post.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291537)

and the bulkiness prevents looters from stealing it.

which helps since theft is a big problem since being in africa means youre surrounded by lots of blacks.

blacks: the most violent uncivilized race while at teh same time contributing the least to technology and scientific knowledge. not just a little less then whites and asians. more like not even close.

note - "saying those things offends me and that makes you a bad person and a big meanie head!" is not a rebuttal against anything i said.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 4 months ago | (#47291733)

Mostly from experience. I have worked in a few third world places, and in Africa for 6 months. And older, solidly built tech was preferred. Even in the "rich" companies, solid and proven technology was a benefit.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291679)

> These TVs are waste because they are not digital

No. One can use them quite easily for digital systems.

First of all, let's establish what means being digital. Every equipment is not 100% digital, there's always some analog part. That said, one can have a digital tuner/receiver which outputs composite video (analog) to said older sets. The TV is always set to channel 3 or 4 (usually).

> the countries they are going to are probably a long way from going digital.

Again, no. That's what happened in Brazil... we went from analog to digital in a few years because of said set top boxes. It only was not easier because local TV providers had a veiled interest (and shares) in paid cable-TV, so everybody said paid TV was technically better -- when in fact and in practice the opposite is true.

I suppose that if a country adopts an already developed system and set top boxes are cheap (which they can be), as well as transmitting equipment (e.g. with some kind of incentive for manufacturers, 5 years would more than enough for countries with limited area or high urban population density.

The problem with older TVs is that they didn't break. I myself had to donate mine, which was quite perfect and worked with said receiver flawlessly, to acquire a LCD one some 3 or 4 years ago.

The traditional CRT set would work only at 640x480, while LCD TVs evolved to show 1920x1080 (Full HD).

That was the main reason to get rid of the old TV. For comparison, we still have a 1366x768 HD-Ready LCD which annoys me for the lower resolution -- but works nice for World Cup games. My father watched 640x480 via cable-TV until recently and thought it was superb. People watching sports are too much forgiving...

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

mikael (484) | about 4 months ago | (#47291077)

If it is a small mini-portable TV that fits in the corner of a mud-brick hut, then probably yes. There isn't much space once you have a couple of bunk-beds on each side of the door, a cooker and refrigerator on the far wall, and some cupboards on each side. The only space left is an upper corner, which is just enough space for a small TV.

Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291251)

Are we talking about Africa now or about my college's dorm?

what do I think? (5, Funny)

schklerg (1130369) | about 4 months ago | (#47290711)

I think, as an American, I need to wait for a politician or a celebrity to tell me what my opinion should be. I'm quite sure I'm outraged, I'm just not sure why yet.

Re:what do I think? (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47290889)

I think, as a European, I need to wait for the American government to tell my politicians what to tell me to think because my culture is too weakwilled and spineless to stand up for itself. America does all the politically incorrect dirty work in the world so my politicians can retain the politically correct appearance needed to survive in my passive aggressive pantywaisted culture.

Re:what do I think? (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 4 months ago | (#47291091)

Or Jenny McCarthy could tour your country and talk about the folly of vaccination. That actually does change a lot of minds in a lot of countries.

Re:what do I think? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291261)

And if you were interested in politics as a European, you'd wait for your politicians to come and tell you what to think about it, then you'd have to think hard to come up with a reason why they're lying and demand that they should support the opposite, since you learned that whenever your politicians consider something important, it's important to oppose it. Especially if it is "without any alternatives", which is a sure sign that there is a very obvious and very obviously better alternative they don't want you to think about.

Re:what do I think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291625)

I for one welcome our overlords, may they rape and plunder this world until no one not even their own children can live on its surface.

NTSC TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290725)

Er... I understand that most (all?) countries in Africa use either PAL or SECAM, while analog US TVs are NTSC.
That would make those TVs worthless for aerial reception.

NTSC TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290789)

My bad, it's UK, not US.

Re:NTSC TVs? (1)

TheDayOfMe (808363) | about 4 months ago | (#47290797)

It's probably why Benson was exporting British TVs to Africa. I'm fairly sure US TVs end up south of the border.

Re:NTSC TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290809)

Someone didn't even read the headline, let alone the article. UK man......... I think the UK, England, and Britain ALL use(d) PAL.

Posting as AC since I already moderated here.

Re:NTSC TVs? (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 4 months ago | (#47291001)

You're assuming that those same African consumers are buying them FOR aerial reception. DVD players aren't exactly luxury items anymore (I could walk into Wal Mart RIGHT NOW and buy a shit DVD player for about $25) and pirated DVDs of movies & TV shows are available in those countries for a pittance. I'd venture a guess that in the poorest countries, rural TV reception is barely worth bothering with ANYWAY, and most TV content gets delivered via sneakernet and open-air markets.

Also, most American CRT TVs from the 90s required little more to be capable of 576-line pseudo-NTSC than hacking the power supply to convert 220v@50hz into 120v@50hz. Analog CRTs had no fixed concept of resolution... they just swept scanlines over and over, bumping the timing a notch with each scanline, until they saw the vertical retrace signal or rolled over. They might not have had the dot pitch to properly display 576-line video without looking like shit... but that was part of the magic with analog stuff... there was a HUGE gulf between "what it was officially designed to do properly" and "what it could be coaxed into trying to do if you insisted".

Re:NTSC TVs? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 4 months ago | (#47291181)

You're assuming those same consumers are actually buying these TV's and they're not just being dumped in a country that doesn't ban dumping leaded glass and other toxic materials in CRT TV's..

Re:NTSC TVs? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291271)

You not only assume that this shit DVD player is available in Africa, you also assume that 25 bucks ain't a shitload of money and then some to some people...

Re:NTSC TVs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291681)

Also, most American CRT TVs from the 90s required little more to be capable of 576-line pseudo-NTSC than hacking the power supply to convert 220v@50hz into 120v@50hz. Analog CRTs had no fixed concept of resolution... they just swept scanlines over and over, bumping the timing a notch with each scanline, until they saw the vertical retrace signal or rolled over. They might not have had the dot pitch to properly display 576-line video without looking like shit... but that was part of the magic with analog stuff... there was a HUGE gulf between "what it was officially designed to do properly" and "what it could be coaxed into trying to do if you insisted".

CSB: That's about the right era where the CRT and yoke are swappable into an old arcade chassis. I've taken tubes from 19" TVs and used them to fix screen-burned monitors from the 80s. It's getting more difficult now that most of the TVs have been trashed.

Anybody who has a TV with a 19VLUP22 (color, 19", 100 degree angle) or a black-and-white 19" tube (19VARP4) can probably auction it up on eBay and a vintage gamer will buy it.

The recyclers look at me funny when I show up with a CRT with Ms. PacMan burnt into it, but break out into grins when I explain the story. Same amount of lead goes into the recycling stream, but a 30-year-old game is now good for another 30 years.

resell working _used_ equipment? Heresy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290729)

How can we keep this economy growing endlessly forever, if people are allowed to resell good working long-lived well designed used equipment, rather than being forced to destroy their old gear and buy brand new bad-lot shelf-returned crap?

Remember, landfill is profit! Recycling is socialism.

Re:resell working _used_ equipment? Heresy! (1)

mellon (7048) | about 4 months ago | (#47290759)

In principle, reuse is a really good thing. And in some cases it's a good thing in practice too. There are definitely things we can export to Nigeria for which Nigerians will benefit from that export. But there is also a very dirty recycling industry in the third world. For stuff they can't use, we ought to keep it and recycle it expensively, rather than shipping it there and have them die young of heavy metal exposure recycling it cheaply.

Re:resell working _used_ equipment? Heresy! (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 4 months ago | (#47290883)

For stuff they can't use, we ought to keep it and recycle it expensively, rather than shipping it there and have them die young of heavy metal exposure recycling it cheaply.

I understand your sentiment, but think how it feels to be told by the first world "You can not have this stuff that you want because you can not use it responsibly." Talk about arrogance!

Re:resell working _used_ equipment? Heresy! (1)

mellon (7048) | about 4 months ago | (#47290983)

Yes, well, we also do a lot to make sure that they don't actually have the opportunity to have a safe environment, and I suspect that feels worse. Talk about arrogance!

Re:resell working _used_ equipment? Heresy! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47291147)

Talk about arrogance!

Arrogance is being told that your actions are self-defeating and harming others, then being told that you know better and carrying on.

Re:resell working _used_ equipment? Heresy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291453)

If only Africa had mod points....

Re:resell working _used_ equipment? Heresy! (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47291045)

Recycling is not socialism. Recycling is profit when it makes economical sense to do so. You will find this happens with most metals and a few other products like building materials and certain types of glass. Recycling is an economic drain increasing costs to producers and thereby consumers when it doesn't make economic sense to do so. You will find this with certain paper and most plastic and quite a bit of types of glass.

The reason is because it is either more expensive or cheaper to create new materials. when it is more expensive, recycling makes a lot of sense. When it is cheaper, it is just a burden.

Now this can get muddy when you talk about things like electronics. There is money in the metals in most of them but the environmental aspects of extracting them artificially increase the costs. In most of Europe, they have a special tax and a requirement for recycling these devices which covers most of it. In the US, not so much that I know of. In other countries, typically third world countries with lax environmental regulation or lax enforcement, extracting some of these metals are profitable and thereby recycling is also profitable.

Now, threatening you with jail time or heavy fines if you throw a soda can into the trash or toss a banana peal into the recycling bin is not socialism, it's more akin to fascism or the brand of totalitarian communism that communism (which seems great on paper but never works out in practice) always de-evolves into when they try it.

Re:resell working _used_ equipment? Heresy! (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47291153)

In most of Europe, they have a special tax and a requirement for recycling these devices which covers most of it. In the US, not so much that I know of.

As usual, just California. We have an e-waste recycling fee which is charged at purchase time. When you want to dispose of electronics, there is no charge. I take them to the transfer station which is convenient for me, but municipalities often have a curbside electronics _pickup_ once or twice a year. Not here, I live in the sticks, which is why there's a transfer station on the way into town from my house.

This is surprising. (5, Interesting)

sd4f (1891894) | about 4 months ago | (#47290799)

I've got a Nigerian neighbour (I live in Australia) who fills containers with electronics and sends them to Africa. I spoke to him about it and he said that they repair the stuff there, and reuse most of it. Considering that the analogue TV signal was switched off last year, and essentially all CRT TV's don't work, a lot have been dumped on streets, and they naturally been picking them up for free.

So it's surprising that they so blatantly claim that they're dumping them, when I can hardly see the sense in spending the money on shipping containers half way across the globe, only to dump it there, when it has already been dumped here. Clearly there's some thing going on which the business world isn't particularly keen on. If this person jailed was being paid to dispose of garbage and he was just dumping it in countries that don't care about dumping, then that's a different matter, but I get the feeling that our garbage is somewhat more valuable in developing countries.

They are dumping... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291109)

They are "dumping", as in selling below cost! What this does is undercut the new product business, and someone was losing money. Nothing better than to have competition thrown in jail.

Re:This is surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291135)

The problem is that the recycling companies extract the spare components by tearing apart the plastic cases, then using outdoor fires to melt the plastic cables and get the raw metal. They'll have children dipping the circuit boards in hot solvents to make the solder melt. Then they pull out the components. What isn't recycled after that is burnt.

Re:This is surprising. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291287)

And now we know just who was losing money here...

15 months - really? (5, Funny)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 4 months ago | (#47290801)

In the UK, that's the normal sentence for defending oneself from a criminal attack or leaving your wheelie trash bin out an extra day.

Re:15 months - really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291335)

You should get time in prison for escalating the level of violence. That's one thing the UK gets right that the USA gets wrong. Here we treat, for example, women who murder a potential rapist as a hero. It's disgusting.

Re:15 months - really? (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 4 months ago | (#47291385)

The Democrat's slogan "A rape can last 30 seconds, but a murder lasts forever" is so true. Too bad the gun owners are too stupid to comprehend that.

Re:15 months - really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291783)

You are a lying scumbag shit [snopes.com] . Could you Americans get over the idea that political parties are like football teams?

Re:15 months - really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291545)

not sure if sarcastic or libtard.

goes to show how stupid they are..

Why do you think I work on 3d printing FLOSS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290805)

I have volunteered many, many hours to some 3d printing FLOSS projects over the years.

There is a reason.

Manufacturing is a corrupt, bizarre industry. It does not take magic to build a vacuum cleaner. Mechanical inclination is innate to the human brain. The planned obsolescence fad has done nothing in the past 50 years except transfer wealth from the middle class to the top 1%, essentially by committing mass fraud by forcing engineers to use their skills to produce products that fail on purpose for no reason.

This time is coming to an end. No African would buy castoffs when they can print their own product in their own backyard. Yes, it will be a while before we can print electronics, but it was a while before we could print things like cups and knobs in the past.

"Oh but what about the jobs lost". Lets talk about that. Lets talk about GM, which purposely shipped huge number of cars, knowing that they had a defect that killed people. For years. And punished the person who tried to stop them. I wonder how people who work for low wages at small businesses feel about watching their own tax dollars being spent to bail out a company that kills people because it's management are lazy and incompetent. This is not about 'saving jobs', it's about ending a corrupt and evil system.

Re:Why do you think I work on 3d printing FLOSS (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 4 months ago | (#47290929)

The planned obsolescence fad has done nothing in the past 50 years except transfer wealth from the middle class to the top 1%, essentially by committing mass fraud by forcing engineers to use their skills to produce products that fail on purpose for no reason.

+5 - Insightful. Too bad I have no mod points left. :(

"The Economy" is indeed a kind of giant Ponzi scheme.

Re:Why do you think I work on 3d printing FLOSS (2)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#47290995)

You left out a couple of words, toxic and wasteful. Not only do they drive pointless consumerism but that consumerism drives pollution and the waste of essential resources. Basically myopic insatiable greed destroying humanities future to feed today's egoistic lusts of a psychopathic minority.

Even when not repairable, source of components (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290865)

Valuable components for repair of other TVs can be easily desoldered from irreparably broken TVs. This would reduce the environmental load in today's world when the planet is already overloaded.

On the other hand how to dispose of the rest when the country doesn't have proper facilities for that.

I think the question whether something is waste or not and whether its good or bad to export it to third world countries is pretty complicated.

I wonder if it would be illegal to mass desolder second hand electronic components and send them to the third world country for the purpose of repair of broken TVs (regardless of questions of economy or component reliability).

If containing broken pieces makes a shipment illegal - if a manufacture ships a container of new TVs and some of them are defective, is it classified as illegal export of waste and the manufacturer goes to jail for 16 months?

Karel Kulhavy, Twibright Labs [twibright.com]

E-Waste? (2)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#47290873)

they were more likely to work than new product sent to Africa (which may be shelf returns from bad lots, part of the reason Africans prefer used TVs from nations with strong warranty laws).

Wouldn't shipping shelf returns to Africa be e-waste as well? Is management of budget video/electronic chains going to be serving their 16 months when caught?

Lesson learned (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47290901)

Never let action get in the way of posturing. What matters is the pretense of concern, not the resolution of problems.

Just ban secondhand goods altogether (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290919)

For the corporate capitalist consumerist lobbyists I suggest the following:

1) A law that every electronic device older than 2 years is e-waste
2) People who don't throw them away and buy new one will be jailed for illegal storage of e-waste at home, harsh sentences
3) Claim that people who "illegally store e-waste" (=don't participate in wasteful consumerism) are bad for the environment, because
the precious metals and other stuffs in their "illegally stored e-waste" is being kept from re-use (add some greenwash astroturfed heartbreaking photos of people being tortured in mines in Kongo, which you accidentally also happen to operate).

Karel Kulhavy, Twibright Labs [twibright.com]

Re:Just ban secondhand goods altogether (2)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 4 months ago | (#47291145)

I somehow doubt most corporations would like the idea of being forced to replace their entire infrastructure every two years. That would get very expensive very fast.

This actually sounds more like Keynesian theory of breaking windows to build economies (a direct violation of the classic "broken window fallacy".) For a modern example of what you just espoused, look at the Cash for Clunkers program. The environmentalists didn't care for it because it didn't further their goals, and used cars around this time (the market that primarily serves the poor) went way up in price because the supply of used cars was forcibly reduced during this period.

The so called "capitalists" were actually opposed to the program entirely. Democrats seemed to like it though, and apparently so did NADA (the group trying to force Tesla to sell only through dealers.)

http://www.politico.com/story/... [politico.com]

Re:Just ban secondhand goods altogether (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291441)

Industrial and commercial use of e-waste would of course be permitted. After all, it's professionals doing it. Just us idiots consumers, we have to be protected from the harm the hazardous ewaste could do to us. And our children. Oh won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!

Re:Just ban secondhand goods altogether (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#47291451)

I hazard to think about what an e-waste nazi would think if they came into my lab space. I have a sizable quantity of ancient mercury-wetted relays, and various other cool items in my stock of parts. Lots and lots of non-ROHS electronic components, too.

Re:Just ban secondhand goods altogether (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47291669)

Please don't give them ideas. I'm already pondering whether I should stockpile on sodium persulfate because sooner or later it will become impossible to get. Either because of environment issues or because someone found out how to use it to blow stuff up.

And NO, there is exactly NO NEED to point out how to use it to blow stuff up! I need it to make PCBs and it's already damn hard to get anything that could be used to etch them that doesn't either take half a year to accomplish anything or can't be used safely without a hazard suit.

Too Much Conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290975)

.. too little evidence. This entire entry is solid opinionated spin and foregone conclusion. Since I investigated and wrote on the E*Waste topic for several years, I happen to know that there is massive cheating going on, and financial responsibility avoidance at every turn. I dont know anything about this case, but the whole thing looks very fishy to me.

Website against planned obsolescence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291013)

Website against planned obsolescence [murks-nein-danke.de] where you can register cases of planned obsolescence in any product.

Major manufacturers already have hefty files there.

Unfortunately the website is in German so most people need to use some kind of translator.

Karel Kulhavy, Twibright Labs [twibright.com]

BTW the captcha sucks its so badly distorted its ambiguous to read (a letter could be just the distorting lines, lowercase l, number one, or small p), when I enter one possibility it says I failed to prove I am human, when I try the other it says I failed to prove I am human and should start all over and I cannot get the editing work back again.

I think this is just deterring legitimate users while spammers pay a cent army of Indians who type the captchas for them.

Re:Website against planned obsolescence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291305)

I think this is just deterring legitimate users while spammers pay a cent army of Indians who type the captchas for them.

There are generally two methods of doing this "without money". First, you make a website where vstor can strip a skinny girl by guessing captchas. Then, depending on whether you want accurate results or not, you can display the captcha to multiple ppl, and then compare the results. If you want really accurate ones, increase the number. Second, you make a bot that solves captchas.

Rosewill (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 4 months ago | (#47291177)

As many of you should know, Rosewill is the house brand for NewEgg.
A few years ago they started selling fairly decent quality mechanical keyboards ( not as good as some high end keyboards, but certain good quality ).
Almost everything on these keyboards is repairable. If a keyswitch breaks you can buy a new a new one and solder it in. If the controller breaks you can replace it.
Even if the pc board breaks, you can get a "phontom" pc board and reuse the parts and the case.

What you cannot do is purchase it from NewEgg in Illinois and two other states ( NC and NY IIRC ). Why because of the ewaste regulations. So you can buy a cheap keyboard that breaks in six months and basically has to be thrown out, but you cannot buy a keyboard that is meant to last ten years and even then be repaired.

These are the kind of laws that the weirdo environmental groups push.

Re:Rosewill (1)

statemachine (840641) | about 4 months ago | (#47291471)

So you can buy a cheap keyboard that breaks in six months

I've never broken a keyboard through typing alone, and I type a lot. What are you doing to break your keyboards in 6 months?

Re:Rosewill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291557)

You've clearly not had to use the crappy cheap notebooks with the crappy cheap keyboards they have today.

Recycling (2)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 4 months ago | (#47291527)

The last thing that the manufacturers want are people to reuse old equipment. Each is a loss of a potential sale of a new unit. In the perverse eyes of capitalism.

The preferred order of green activity is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291555)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If this gentleman was definitely going to reuse the old TVs, and their fate otherwise was recycling, then I suppose what he was doing ought to be legal.

However the whole thing sounds a little like a backdoor venture, done either to avoid scrutiny or fees. So one then has to ask, why was this done this way?

Benson video in his own words (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 4 months ago | (#47291587)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] Joseph Benson on the "bullyboys". He is illiterate, never attended school, but knows TV repair.
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