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British Columbia To Charge Recycling Fee

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later dept.

The Almighty Buck 172

An anonymous reader writes "Next week the province of British Columbia will begin adding a recycling fee to new computers and TVs to pay for their free electronics recycling program. The list of what is acceptable for recycling is short, namely computers, printers, and TVs — you cannot recycle personal audio players or cell phones. What is unclear is whether the definition of 'desktop computer' includes self-built computers, and if so, their plans for adding fees for individual components such as motherboards, etc." The article notes that the recovered e-waste will not be sent to developing countries for processing. But one report says that the e-waste won't be recycled at all, but rather burned in a smelter.

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Huh? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20026441)

Next week the province of British Columbia will begin adding a RECYCLING FEE to new computers and TVs to pay for their FREE electronics recycling program.

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

XanC (644172) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026459)

It's called Michael Moore logic. If the government provides it, it's by definition "free".

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026677)

It's called Michael Moore logic. If the government provides it, it's by definition "free".

I don't know about Moore (I've only seen "Roger and Me" and "9/11"), but many people have that same logic. I hear it all the time and when you try to explain to them that you really do pay for it from your tax dollars, they give this look that I can only explain by an example:
Go to a dairy farm and start talking to a cow. That's the look you get.

They are also the same folks who think that when they get a Federal Tax refund that they didn't pay taxes for that year.
Really, there are people out there who believe that! I thought it was just rhetoric from pundits, but it's true.

Re:Huh? (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026767)

People in general are very bad at calculating real cost. It's the same with "Free extras" that you get with many products. People don't realize they've actually paid for those things.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026807)

Good point, calling the recycling program "free" is incorrect. In this case it would be better to call it a deposit on the proper disposal of your electronics. If that $2000 you just spent on your laptop doesn't include the cost to dispose of it then you're basically just assuming welfare from your fellow citizens and/or your descendants to cover the cost of its disposal and cleanup.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026863)

Exactly. What is important about this change is not the mis-use of the word "free", but the shifting of the burden to the purchaser, rather than to the tax payer. That's good policy. A tax funded system is better than nothing and in some cases it's necessary to do it this way, but on the whole, it's better to shift the burden to the purchaser/user. Also good policy is to not shift the burden to the recycler, who you are trying to encourage, not penalize.

The one troubling thing is about how they plan on disposing of the waste. A smelter? He who smelter, dealter.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027617)

"The one troubling thing is about how they plan on disposing of the waste."

Yeah. Destroy it.

I still use an older Compaq laptop (333mhz, 128mb of Ram) as a web server for a not very busy local sports league. It runs an Ubuntu lamp install and has a phpbb forum and about 100 unique visitors per day. Speed of the machine is never an issue.

I also use another old Compaq (233mhz, 192mb of Ram) as a web browsing machine. It's also useful for updating the webserver as all my code I change is done via text editors. When my main machine is being used for gaming or what-not this older machine always handles the browsing, email, or chatting fine.

My 70 year old father has another old machine - a P3 that he uses to print PDF's (horse racing forms). He does nothing else with it. He never touches it. I VNC in and output the PDF's to his printer every Friday.

I would be more than happy to see older machines recycled if that's what actually happens. Ever price 128mb or 256mb PC100 ram lately? I imagine it being destroyed instead of actually being recycled.

If machines were actually dropped off and dated and they allowed people to scavenge (even at a fee) and take what's good I'd like this more. Once a PC has been there for, oh, a week or two and no ones taken it's parts then destroy it. Because something is old doesn't mean it has no use. I would love to work at this recycling place because if it is like the other dumps in the area they would rather destroy stuff then let you take it - liability seems to be the reason........

Recycling should mean recycling, not destroying, but I suspect that not very much recycling will go on.

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028179)

Here in Alberta, we call it Advance Disposal Surcharge. When you buy a new computer, tv etc, you get charged a fee to dispose of it later. This is brilliant. The stations will accept any electronics for free right now. This keeps all the old shit that hadn't had a surcharge charged, from the landfills. (payment of surcharge is not a pre-requisite to dispose of old equipment)

The collection stations then ship all this electronics to Calgary or Edmonton to be processed. (sometimes, if you work there or know someone there they will let you scavenge)Machines that are still viable are resold to computer dealers like me to be re-used.

Machines that are too old are stripped and the components are sent to the proper place to be recycled. Plastics get melted down, metals get smelted out etc. No, the system is not perfect, but it keeps the old tv's and computers out of our land fills.

Hopefully B.C. isn't re-inventing the wheel and they will have a similar system.

Re:Huh? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028439)

Hopefully B.C. isn't re-inventing the wheel and they will have a similar system.

Well, based on what at least one of TFAs said, they're not going to. They're just planning on handing everything over to a group of electronics manufacturers, who'll then ship everything to a smelter to be incinerated.

Good way to eliminate the secondary market for electronics.

Re:Huh? (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028935)

I still use an older Compaq laptop (333mhz, 128mb of Ram) as a web server for a not very busy local sports league. It runs an Ubuntu lamp install and has a phpbb forum and about 100 unique visitors per day. Speed of the machine is never an issue.
 
Have you taken the power consumption of that machine vs a newer model into consideration as well?
 
I suspect that newer "regular" machines (not power user boxes) use less power than they did back-when. Is that actually the case?

Re:Huh? (2)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20029079)

I suspect that newer "regular" machines (not power user boxes) use less power than they did back-when. Is that actually the case?

To an extent. They usually use about the same amount of power, but newer machines do far more with the power they do use.

For the previous poster - his website could probably be hosted on basic enterprise level machine with at least a thousand other small time websites. I wouldn't be surprised if you could host a hundred thousand with load balancing between five servers. Individual sites would be less likely to be slashdotted as a bonus.

Sure, it might use five times the power, but it's doing a thousand times the work. That and you don't have to worry about a ten year old laptop HD failing without notice.

People do tend to upgrade for a reason. Yes, we could do more reutilization - but after a point trying to deal with older, slower, no longer made or supported hardware isn't worth it. There are reasons why many companies will replace perfectly usable vehicles with new ones - It's actually cheaper to sell the old ones and maintain a limited number of models of vehicles. You don't have to train the techs in as many types of vehicle, keep fewer varieties of spare parts on hand, etc...

Re:Huh? (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027679)

Same thing with insurance. They tack on all sorts of benefits you don't want, and when you ask for the paired-down version they tell you that you may as well take them cause they're "free".

Doubling the benefits if I die by accident is a good example. It's utterly beyond me why I would want that, yet sure in hell it costs me money.

Re:Huh? (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027289)

Well, he says it's free because you don't have to pay and it's cheaper than what we're paying now. If you look, the US pays more for healthcare than anybody and we receive not only bad service but significantly less service than we could if the services themselves were paid for rather than giving lots of money to insurance companies, whose best interest is served by letting you die.

Re:Huh? (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027327)

you don't have to pay
Yes, you do. Maybe less on average, but you still pay.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027333)

It's called Michael Moore logic. If the government provides it, it's by definition "free".


As opposed to George Bush logic, which says if you increase spending while cutting taxes, it's by definition "your kids' problem."

Re:Huh? (1, Insightful)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027589)

It's called Michael Moore logic. If the government provides it, it's by definition "free".

No, you right-wing retard, it is called common sense. If the government or anyone else provides it for no charge, it is by definition free. Mentioning that a good or service is free to the person receiving it does not imply that the good or service materialised out of thin air or is not paid for at some other point along the chain.

If you stop me in the street and ask me for directions, and I help you out without asking for a fee in return, I am giving you a free service. It is irrelevant that you as a consumer or a taxpayer are part of a system that has, for example, provided us with streets to talk about, or which has provided me with healthcare to be able to be there. It is also free even if I decide I will only grant these requests if other people have similarly helped me out.

If walk into a hospital and am treated without being asked for money, then this is free of charge for me, even though the doctors are paid, and even though I am part of the system that funds all such public benefits.

Now, if I tell you that I'll give you directions "for free" if you let me sell you the newspaper I'm holding, then I am bundling together two products so tightly that it is dishonest to call either of them "free". This is common (dishonest) practice in marketing, but not what we are talking about here.

All of this is elementary, and should only need to be explained to people learning English as a foreign language, and needing to know how what "free of charge" means. It is sad that some wankers deliberately abuse language either to sell products or to work against essential services being provided to the people.

Re:Huh? (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027721)

If the government or anyone else provides it for no charge, it is by definition free.
If the government is providing something for "no charge" then they probably already charged you for it through your taxes. Just because you didn't explicitly pay for it that doesn't mean that you got it for free.

Re:Huh? (1)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028389)

If the government is providing something for "no charge" then they probably already charged you for it through your taxes. Just because you didn't explicitly pay for it that doesn't mean that you got it for free.

Did you miss the entire discussion? I went into some detail about how not paying for something you receive means you've got it for free.

Re:Huh? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20029121)

Do you pay taxes? If so, it's not free. It's simply that you don't receive a separate bill for the service, it's bundled into your income/sales/property taxes. In the case of the article, it's now a separate fee, much like the tire disposal fee I paid when I last bought a set of tires. Sure, they disposed of my old ones, but I had to pay the fee even when I bought my snow tires - which wasn't a trade in set, I even bought separate rims for them. In exchange, any place that sells tires would have to take them in for disposal if I asked them to.

The government may provide services without a direct charge - but we all end up paying for them through taxes. As I'm a taxpayer, I don't consider those services free. The money has already been extracted from me, under threat of confiscation and/or force.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

_Mustang (96904) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027941)

No, you right-wing retard, it is called common sense. If the government or anyone else provides it for no charge, it is by definition free. Mentioning that a good or service is free to the person receiving it does not imply that the good or service materialised out of thin air or is not paid for at some other point along the chain.
I'm not trying to be inflammatory but frankly, with that kind of argument it seems you're more likely the retard than he.
You clearly have forgotten the purpose of government and the manner in which it is supposed to go about doing that purpose.
The basic premise of government is to form a collective which is empowered by "people" to run certain affairs on their behalf, right? And the manner of providing funding is typically through control of the land/air/sea/etc resources and of late - taxation and more taxation. That means that anything, ANYTHING for which tax moneys and government revenues were applied are paid services. Garbage collection, road work or that trip to the hospital - as long as I've paid my taxes then I've paid for those services. Kinda reminds me of my cell phone plan - they charge me for service monthly but I'm always invoiced a month ahead.. That means they have my cash in hand for a month before it is applied to the services it was billed as. And if I use less time you can be sure they do not credit me but heaven help me if I should go over my air-time allowances .
And don't get me started about road and infrastructure. Canadian gas has 50% tax added to the price under laws which speak of road and highway maintenance and such but which conveniently allows for the cash to go into general coffers rather than a road-related account system.

Oh - I checked http//dictionary.com [slashdot.org] and the most closely related definitions to this thread, of the word "free":
(Not ordered)
1. exempt or released from something specified that controls, restrains, burdens, etc. (usually fol. by from or of): free from worry; free of taxes.
2. provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment: free parking; a free sample.
3. given without consideration of a return or reward: a free offer of legal advice.

Hmm, so far we're not doing so well. It is common record that if you don't pay your taxes then hello jail cell, and since taxes are the primary source of funding for government projects - number 1 clearly does not apply.
Well, they want a service charge added to fund this above and beyond the basic taxes I already pay - so number 2 is out.
As for number 3 - when was the last time any forward-looking project was undertaken by government without the idea of winning votes? I can't recall any instance of that.

So I see nothing here but proof of the old adage, "ain't no such thing as a free lunch"..

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

epine (68316) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028637)

You've just argued yourself into a puff of non-existence. If you state, rightly, that the concept of "free" (of charge) in the global definition is non-existent in practice, then the local definition of "free" is free to prevail linguistically, and the local definition of free is that there is no cost at the time of transaction (perhaps it was paid for ahead of time). Almost everything in life that initially appears "free" has strings attached. Even sex with your spouse.

The "out of thin air" definition of free has no use whatsoever except when applied to the gullible. Since the medium of television is built on the premise that all viewers are gullible, we're exposed to that definition a lot more than logic justifies. Nevertheless, in any serious discussion, the participants all understand that free always comes with a price.

Once upon a time hauling crap out to the local landfill was free. Only it wasn't free. Free was just a handy synonym for externalization of cost onto society as a whole. You don't have to posit government as a delivery mechanism to point this out. Perhaps the society decides to go light on government and the cost is expressed in reduced life expectancy from drinking really crappy water. Name your poison. Oppressive taxation is but one small slice on the dart board.

I thought the original post was more on track than your response. In the old days, the ultimate cost of all that "free" dumping at the landfill was left as an exercise to the dumpers and local population. With this new program, it's entirely clear who is picking up the tab (the citizenry through the delivery mechanism of government). That does not amount to some magical slight-of-hand in the semantics of "free". In my books, it actually amounts to a clarification.

Some people might prefer the old situation where in the muddle of who was finally picking up the tab, it was possible that government wouldn't be it: ideology before clarity. I personally prefer the new situation. If anyone in the private sector feels strongly enough about putting the government out of this business, please step forward with a viable plan. Only if the mechanisms of government guarantee monopoly profits? Ah, I thought so.

Re:Huh? (1)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028759)

The basic premise of government is to form a collective which is empowered by "people" to run certain affairs on their behalf, right?
Indeed. Which makes it not a corporation taking money in strict exchange for products, but instead a very different public body that does public service with one hand, and takes taxes with the other in order to handle inflation. (Remember that the state can print as much money as it likes, so taxation is purely to keep the overall amount of money out there from spiralling upwards.)

And the manner of providing funding is typically through control of the land/air/sea/etc resources and of late - taxation and more taxation. That means that anything, ANYTHING for which tax moneys and government revenues were applied are paid services.
So, if you don't leave any rubbish outside, or if you don't use the streets much, the state lowers your taxes accordingly? No, these are not commercial services for which you are paying. They are offered to all for free (even to foreign visitors in many cases), and the state levies taxes in order for this to be possible.

Kinda reminds me of my cell phone plan - they charge me for service monthly but I'm always invoiced a month ahead.. That means they have my cash in hand for a month before it is applied to the services it was billed as.

Mobile phone companies are scumbags who try to abuse their powerful position in order to force consumers into a situation similar to taxation, but at the end of the day they are not states but corporations, and you choose to either pay for and use their service, or not pay for and not use their service.

Oh - I checked http//dictionary.com [slashdot.org] and the most closely related definitions to this thread, of the word "free":

That's an American dictionary, and so of no interest to me, especially as all dictionaries have only brief summaries of the meanings of words, rather than the in-depth discussion which is relevant here, but I'll go along with you.

2. provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment: free parking; a free sample.
3. given without consideration of a return or reward: a free offer of legal advice.

These two are the same. They refer to stuff you get without paying. Note that the examples given involve some sort of strings attached as well as payment somewhere along the line. For example, a free sample of cosmetics is designed to entice the customer to buy a full unit of the product. Free parking is often provided by a local council, and paid for with tax money.

Since I was arguing that it is normal English usage to describe such things as free of charge as long as there is no immediate exchange, your dictionary definition fully supports what I was saying.

when was the last time any forward-looking project was undertaken by government without the idea of winning votes? I can't recall any instance of that.

You seem to be fighting a straw man here. I am saying that it is standard English usage to describe something as free of charge, despite such things as hidden motives, extra money being paid down the line, et cetera.

You seem to be saying that such factors as ulterior motives and prior payments mean that virtually nothing can be described as free, and that by describing these things as free, I must have somehow missed these factors. By listing factors, you wrongly imply naïveté on my part.

To sum up, I am using the term "free of charge" correctly (according to both my argument and the dictionary definition provided by you), and you are using it incorrectly, giving it a rather novel sense.

Re:Huh? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028267)

Or the "pay this recycling fee and get free recycling later*" kind of free that is common in advertisement material.

* Fee must be paid to qualify for free recycling.

Re:Huh? (3, Interesting)

Mr. Picklesworth (931427) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028359)

Look at it this way:
Is it nicer to go to a place where you must fork over cash to do anything even after passing through the gate, or to go to an all expenses payed resort?
I know I would go with the latter. Sure, getting through the gate costs much more money, but once you're across, it is relaxing. You don't have to walk around clutching your wallet. You spend money at a much more consistent (manageable) rate.
Also, though this is more specific to taxes, (assuming it is a sliding scale, as it should be) that cost is rarely enough to cause a problem even if you have little money, but you still get the same services.

Unfortunately, the BC government completely sucks right now, so don't take these actions as any example of that in action. They lowered taxes, and to compensate for the "saved money" we now have to pay for many things that were previously payed for entirely via taxes. (It's a popular action amongst the right wing governments. Magically "cut taxes" as though they are magicians who conjure money out of thin air, then quietly incinerate every public program that the last government spent valuable time putting into place. Profit!).

Take a look at BC's parks and camp sites (before the BC "Liberals" got in). Through taxes, we got some really good quality services "for free". Sure, they had to be payed for through taxes, but after that, people could just go ahead and enjoy them.
No big ticket booth, no security perimeter, no worries about available money, no wallet clutching.
Someone could argue that taxes mean paying for services you don't use, but I disagree. I think that taxes are a lot like those "all expenses payed" resorts. The stuff provided, someone normally wouldn't bother paying for (or, thus doing), even though it is really great stuff.
On the other hand, if he has already payed for it, taking that next step is simple and painless. Stuff like that causes people to better appreciate the place they live, thus to stay healthy and to be content.

Believe me: It's great to be able to go outside without an overwhelming fear that "I do not have the money to be hurt".

Re:Huh? (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028417)

It's called Michael Moore logic. If the government provides it, it's by definition "free".
It'll be free to some people. People who can't afford new computers will get used, and then when it gets so old that it's completely unusable or it breaks, then they'll have something to do with it without spending money that they don't have. If I buy a $2000 computer from Dell I'm not going to notice $5 or $10 for recycling, so I'd rather pay it upfront than have to spend it later or push the cost onto some poor person or organization I donate it to later.

Of course, that would be great if they where actually recycling them instead of smelting them.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20028673)

yeah, there are precious metals in there and since diffent ones melt at diffent temperatures it isnt that hard to get them out. I know there are recycling facilites that uses that to easily seperate the metal. Civilizations have been doing it for centuries taking enemy weapons and metal to make or repair their own weapons. Its one of the reasones there are so few weapons on ancient battlefields.

Duh. (1)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026571)

The list of what is acceptable for recycling is short, namely computers, printers, and TVs


It's to pay for their printer recycling program!

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027187)

Free upfront vs. free overall. Nothing relating to the government is free overall and most people know this. However, it is good to know that there are people like you out there making the obvious well-known.

Re:Huh? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#20029233)

There is a reason they call it Vancouver B.C. --> Vancouver, Bring Cash

charging for free service??? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026457)

ain't no mo free...

On a more serious note, there is more value to be extracted from electronic junk then for the same weight of ore in mining.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for improving the recycling process and maybe adjust the manufacturing process to accomodate the end life cycle of recycling.

Errr....... (1)

Maelwryth (982896) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026495)

"adding a recycling fee to new computers and TVs to pay for their free electronics recycling program"
 
.....oh dear.

not news (5, Informative)

ardiesr (861538) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026513)

This fee is already charged in Alberta for the last couple of years. It was also introduced in Saskatchewan in February.

It could also soon be charged in Ontario:
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Science/2007/06/12/425 4704-cp.html [canoe.ca]

Re:not news (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20026837)

Damn it! I was just thinking ... "Well, now I'll just go to the United States of Alberta to buy my next computer then." (Also, there is no Provincial Sales Tax in Alberta).

Re:not news (2, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027137)

It doesn't surprise me that the Ontario Government will want to do this, too.

Of course, whether it makes sense to do so will not matter to the Ontario government. What matters is it doesn't cost them anything, and it makes them look like they've done something for the environment.

Consider, for example, how quickly the Ontario passed a ban on incandescent lightbulbs after the idea was first raised in Australia.

- RG>

Nightmare for vendors (3, Informative)

mauriceh (3721) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027829)

Yes, we are a computer integrator/reseller in Alberta, and have had to charge these fees for a couple of years now.
Then Sask jumped on, now BC, and soon all the rest of the provinces.
But, and it is a BIG "BUTT":
We now have to collect separately for each province we sell into, report each month to each province, remit to each province
The paperwork for this equals one person-day per month for all the reporting and filing.
This is a classic example of what should have been done at the federal level, and now is more of a burden than a benefit.

California already has a fee like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20026519)

California has implemented something like this already.

http://www.boe.ca.gov/sptaxprog/ewfaqsgen.htm [ca.gov]

I think the fee is only collected on displays, but you are allowed to drop off/recycle most electronic goods and unsafe chemical items. I don't know if the fee is covering this service.

http://www.lacity.org/san/solid_resources/pdfs/saf e-ucla-flyer_english.pdf [lacity.org] (pdf)

I've dropped off my old 386/486 computers, CRT, and accessories (mouse, joysticks, floppy disks, dead HDs).

Captain Obvious to the rescue (1)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026615)

Well, if you have to pay a tax for it, it ain't exactly free, is it?

Re:Captain Obvious to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20026723)

Same for "free health care", "free bus service"... somewhere, someone is paying for it. The word "free" refers to the fact that there is no money exchange when you use the service. If this is confusing for you, what other term do you propose?

Re:Captain Obvious to the rescue (1)

derrida (918536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026777)

Prepaid.

Re:Captain Obvious to the rescue (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027341)

"public"

Re:Captain Obvious to the rescue (1)

Nephilium (684559) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028657)

Personally... I prefer:

socialized

At least as the proper definition... But that may just be me...

Nephilium...

wanted: universal translator (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026637)

But, and I emphasize the word 'but', simply having these old consumer electronics materials carted off to an smelter in trail is ever so head scratching.

what's truly ever so head-scratching is this author's command of grammar.

Re:wanted: universal translator (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026747)

There is a town in BC, most notable for its smoke stacks and plants I suppose, named Trail.

Re:wanted: universal translator (2, Funny)

gobbo (567674) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027711)

Ah, beautiful Trail, BC [metsoc.org] , industrial jewel of the soot-and-arsenic laden mountains.

Not New (3, Interesting)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026695)

Alberta already has something similar for monitors and televisions.

This aint new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20026759)

Why is this newsworthy ? We have had this in the Netherlands for years. Funny thing is that you have to pay this recycle tax when you buy the product and you have to pay again when you throw it away. So nothing to see here, just some new means to justify some additional taxes.

In Ontario (1)

akypoon (258201) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026851)

Legislation is being discussed but not implemented yet. There are words that the new tax will come after February 2008.

Since Ontario already has 14% taxes on electronics (6% Federal + 8% Provincial), the add on recycle tax could increase the total taxes to about 17-20%. So considering an average video card costs around C$130-150, consumers are expected to pay about C$30 more off the listed price.

An alternative to tax increase? How about have people who want to dispose their working electronics to claim tax credit if they manage to sell the items off in used market? My experience is that if you sell each item below C$20, local people (seniors in particular) would buy it and in effect recycle them for you for free!

Re:In Ontario (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027143)

Not sure how you did your maths there, but if C$150 is 114% then 1% is C$1.32 and thus 120% would give C$158.4 which is an increase of C$8.4 and not C$30 as claimed. It looks as if you meant that the total cost due to taxes was 20% of 150, but in that case the main bulk of the cost is the federal and provicial tax, not the new tax, and thus saying consumers are expected to pay C$30 more is rather misleading in context. With the higher estimate this tax would result in you paying C$9 more for a card that was priced C$150 without tax. I.e, rather than paying C$171 you would pay C$180. Not saying you are wrong ( depending on what you actually meant ) but your statement was a bit unclear.

WTF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20026855)

Why is it that people don't even read the summary nowadays? Who the flying FUCK in their right mind would go on about the fact that they're charging for a free service, if the relevant bit is: you pay for a service that is worse for the environment than almost any other kind of waste dumping (bar dumping stuff into lakes, that can end up very badly).

Re:WTF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027051)

How is this worse for the environment?

Dioxins? How do you think they get rid of dioxins? They burn them.

Re:WTF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027361)

It's interesting that you should mention dioxins. From the wikipedia on Dioxin#Sources_of_dioxin:

  • Coal fired utilities
  • Metal smelting
  • Diesel trucks
  • Land application of sewage sludge
  • Burning treated wood
  • Trash burn barrels

However, while you can avoid dioxin emissions by burning stuff with the right temperature, you can't avoid heavy metals.

How did they think it would be recycled? (5, Informative)

Mspangler (770054) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026893)

"But one report says that the e-waste won't be recycled at all, but rather burned in a smelter."

But dropping it in a smelter is recycling. Junk goes in, refined metal comes out. Smelters do not run on solid fuel anymore, they can't grind up the circuit boards and feed them to the burners.

The organics will burn in the charge, the fiberglass will melt into the slag, the metals will dissolve into the melt.

I forgot how to separate the lead from the copper. (pyrometallurgy class was in 1988, and I went the hydrometallurgy route instead)

Now I'll have to look it up.

The pyro class took a field trip to Trail, neat place if you are into displays of brute power. Sometimes I miss mining. Phys met is so boring; did it corrode .005 in/yr, or 0.010? zzzzzz But it's what pays the bills.

Re:How did they think it would be recycled? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027057)

You must be new here. The truth is hardly relevant to slashtards. Rather, you should blame George Bush to get positive karma.

Re:How did they think it would be recycled? (1)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027403)

The organics will burn in the charge, the fiberglass will melt into the slag, the metals will dissolve into the melt.

If it's profitable to obtain raw metals in this fashion, why do they need to charge a fee to do it?

You don't need to charge a fee to recycle aluminum cans. Well before recycling was widespread in the US, I remember hauling garbage bags full of empties down to a local recycling center, which then paid *us* for delivering valuable aluminum to them. If nobody's willing to pay you for your old computer components, then trying to recycle them is a pretty dumb idea.

Re:How did they think it would be recycled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027627)

In BC we just get the deposit money back for bottles.

Re:How did they think it would be recycled? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20029225)

I'd have to agree with this. Especially given that certain materials in the components are indeed present in larger quantities than they are in raw ore, combined with that there are more metals period would tend to indicate that the only benefit to using raw ore would be that of quantity - you have to collect computer components from all over to get enough to make it worth firing up the smelter, while you can built your refinery on site of the mine and process however many tones of ore that you feel like. The disposal fee could be for transportation of the disposed devices to the center.

Let's see, average computer:
Steel - valuable recyclable material pretty much from when we discovered it(and iron as well).
Aluminum - valuable material, local places will buy aluminum if you bring it to them(cans are only one of the things they'll take)
Copper - even better than steel
Gold - even better than copper
Lead - cheap, but very easy to recycle. As a shooter, for a couple hundred dollars investment I could start casting my own bullets. Scrap lead such as wheel weights are readily available. Along with the lead will be tin, silver, zinc, etc...
Silicone is rather common, though you might be able to recycle it, and while plastic is recyclable it's generally not worth the hassle. Various other trace elements - present in things like capacitors and alloys for the steel and solder. You'll also get the occasional oddball like titanium.

70 places to recycle in the province? (1, Informative)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#20026987)

Just in case people don't understand how big BC is - it's 357,216 square miles - think California, Nevada and Oregon put together (which total ~366,000 square miles)
And while it's population is only 4,352,798, it's still a lot of people.

The BC government plans to cover all that with only 70 locations to turn in materials.
Right, whatever.

This is nothing more than blatant thievery by the BC government and "Encorp", the company administering the whole process.

Re:70 places to recycle in the province? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027093)

shut the fuck up you right wing shill.

Re:70 places to recycle in the province? (2, Informative)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027097)

Most of the population in B.C. is in the lower-mainland.

The rest is quite low density and, a side from a few hot spots, is quite spread out.

Even if they aren't covered by the program, or choose not to take advantage of it because of distance, etc, it won't be a significant impact.

Re:70 places to recycle in the province? (0, Troll)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027185)

If I had to pay for it and didn't even have the option, I'd say it is fairly significant...

Mod Parent Down (3, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028063)

This is nothing but FUD. BC is 357,216 square miles and contains 4.3 million people (note: I did not verify the parent's numbers, but they seem reasonably correct from memory). On the other hand, California, Nevada, and Oregon put together contains 39 million people. That's almost a 10x difference.

Also remember, the population of Vancouver, Victoria, and the next 3 largest cities in BC total 2.8 million. That's 65% of the entire population of the province, with Vancouver comprising 2.1 million of the total alone. I'm pretty sure the recycling program exists THERE.

Given how dense Victoria, Vancouver, and its outlying areas is (after all, the whole region is walled in by mountains), 70 locations is not outrageous, and can in fact cover a LOT of people's recycling needs.

So take the "blatant thievery" and shove it, unless you have some real proof of a conspiracy to steal taxpayer dollars.

Re:Mod Parent Down (0, Troll)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#20029025)

Also remember, the population of Vancouver, Victoria, and the next 3 largest cities in BC total 2.8 million. That's 65% of the entire population of the province, with Vancouver comprising 2.1 million of the total alone. I'm pretty sure the recycling program exists THERE.

That's great. Vancouver and Victoria have a bunch of places to drop your stuff off. But large areas have nothing for hundreds of km. If you exclude greater Vancouver and Victoria, the rest of the province have a whopping 16 stations.

This "oh, Vancouver and Victoria have it, fuck the rest of the province" mentality pisses me off. Let me put this in numbers you can understand - cities with over 50,000 people don't have a place to return stuff. That's hardly an effective system in mind - even if someone in Vancouver has one 20 minutes away from their house. If I'm forced to have to pay for something, it would be really nice be able to fucking use it.

Re:70 places to recycle in the province? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028649)

Just in case people don't understand how big BC is - it's 357,216 square miles - think California, Nevada and Oregon put together (which total ~366,000 square miles) And while it's population is only 4,352,798, it's still a lot of people.
 
The BC government plans to cover all that with only 70 locations to turn in materials.

This is one of those cases of "lying with numbers".
 
It's quite possible to cover the vast majority of the people with so few stations - because most of BC is utterly empty. Of the total population, nearly half live in the Metro Vancouver area - easily covered with 20 or so turn in locations.
 
 

This is nothing more than blatant thievery by the BC government and "Encorp", the company administering the whole process.

Considering the misreprestantions you made - I'd consider carefully the glass walls of your own house.

Re:70 places to recycle in the province? (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028889)

The total lack of any business sense shown by the parent clearly exposes him as an NDP hack who is upset that the Liberals did something about the problem.

Of course if the NDP in general had any business sense, they wouldn't have more than doubled our provincial debts while claiming their budgets were balanced.

Burning in a smelter is stupid.... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027035)

There is more gold and copper per pound in e-waste then there is in gold or copper ore. There is a LOT of potential to "mine" this for the metals, however the lead and mercury content is also high....

Re:Burning in a smelter is stupid.... (1)

wkitchen (581276) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027149)

Just what is it that you think a smelter [wikipedia.org] does?

Re:Burning in a smelter is stupid.... (1)

Mspangler (770054) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028079)

"however the lead and mercury content is also high"

Lead is worth good money. When I toured the Trail smelter it had a lead side and a zinc side. I'm not sure how much mercury there is in the electronic scrap, but it should be recoverable. And if you can collect it, all these compact fluorescent lights need it to work. So that will recycle too.

 

California Has Done This (3, Informative)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027109)

Since Jan 2005, California has been charging an E-Waste Recovery Fee for some time now. Whenever you sell something to a California resident that has a display (CRT/LCD/etc), you have to charge this fee and give it to the state:

    4-15 inches : $6
    15-35 inches: $8
    35+ inches : $10

The fee is not a deposit either, like you have on soda cans. If you take your CRT to the dump later, even if you can prove you paid that E-Waste fee, you still have to pay the dump to take your trash.

More Info: http://www.erecycle.org/ [erecycle.org]

Why do they call it recycling.... (2, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027165)

... When they don't actually recycle the product, but apparently only dispose of it?

Re:Why do they call it recycling.... (3, Informative)

EraseEraseMe (167638) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027255)

How do you think metal are recycled exactly? Does Superman come in and bend broken motherboards into brand new steel?

No, they're melted down and leeched into seperate metals.

Re:Why do they call it recycling.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027367)

There's more to e-waste than metal though. There's also plastic, glass, and other elements that would just be wasted if thrown into a smelter where only the metal is collected.

Re:Why do they call it recycling.... (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027689)

The plastic is just fuel for the process, it reduces the amount of oil or natural gas you would need to run the smelter. The glass actually helps you a bit because it becomes part of the slag which assists in the separation process.

With a well-designed process you can get pretty good efficiencies out of the smelter and also keep emissions into the environment at a low level. With modern smokestack scrubbers and effluent recovery systems you can re-capture elements that you can turn around and sell in order to defray the costs of running the plant. You'd be surprised at just how far waste recovery systems have come in the last 20 years or so.

Re:Why do they call it recycling.... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20029251)

All the more reason to wonder why they'd have to charge a fee to do it, you'd expect them to be able to turn a profit. 'We'll take your old computer for *FREE*!' As they gloat about the valuable elements in it.

After all, that's what many places will do with cars.

Re:Why do they call it recycling.... (1)

Omega Leader-(P12) (240225) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027297)

Please read the article, they recover the metal.

Re:Why do they call it recycling.... (1)

_prime (181525) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027533)

Some more details here:

http://www.southkootenay.com/cms/Teck_Cominco_Q_A. 400.0.html [southkootenay.com]

Everything is shredded and fed into the furnace. The combustible wood and plastic materials burn at high temperatures as fuel, generating heat that is recovered in steam boilers. The metals are recovered through the metallurgical processes in the furnace, and the residual material blends with the ferrous granules that are used in the manufacture of cement.

Hey, I'm from Trail! (0, Offtopic)

EraseEraseMe (167638) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027213)

HOME TOWN SHOUT OUT! WOOT WOOT...

That said, hahhaha, BCers, we get all your tax money now!

Re:Hey, I'm from Trail! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027435)

That's OK, I've seen your women. All the booze in Alberta won't make them pretty.

There is a downside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027303)

It's a good thing that BC is doing, but it will only recycle these computers. There are many opportunities to give computers to be used again in schools or for people who cannot afford to purchase a new computer. This is unfortunately causing CompuCycle (http://www.compucycle.iscn.ca/), the only computer recycling operation on Vancouver Island, to be closing once it comes into effect in August. They would refurbish the computers that could be used and supply them to people who were in need of them.

Norway has had it for years (1)

[Theo] (139038) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027423)

In Norway (as in the EU) the producers and importers are responsible for the recycling of the products. For the consumer i works like this:
If a shop sells TVs, computers and dishwashers, you can give all your old TVs, computers and dishwashers to the shop. You don't have to buy anything at the shop.
Any biz. selling any EEE (electrical and electronic equipment) have to accept for recycling the same type of things.

We have a similar thing with car tyres and battery and some other stuff...

Re:Norway has had it for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027491)

Nitpicking, Norway is not a member of EU.

Re:Norway has had it for years (1)

[Theo] (139038) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027841)

*FIX*
As is the case with the EU.

BTW
Norway is a member of the EEA (European Economic Area) which means all the major EU directives applies...

Smelter != Incinerator (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027527)

A smelter isn't an incinerator.

A smelter is the thing that's used to take ore and turn it into usable metal. You know, like the thing in T2 that Arnold jumps into at the end.

Sounds like they've decided the easiest way to extract the metal from the electronic waste is to burn off everything that isn't metal, then separate the metals back out.

Now, there may be questions about how environmentally sound it is to burn off plastic and fiberglass, but this is definitely recycling.

Re:Smelter != Incinerator (1)

MechaBlue (1068636) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027719)

The smelter in Trail, BC primarily smelts lead and zinc. During this process, they also extract a lot of other metals that are present in lower quantities. Since they smelt lead, the lead in CRTs should pose no greater risk than smelting lead ore. I'm guessing that they also have the necessary equipment in place to handle mercury in ore and, as a result, should be able to handle it in electronics. I don't know much about their ability to handle the products of burning plastic but I don't think it's a stretch to think that there is a solution in place; byproducts of the smelter are already used to create fertilizer at a nearby plant.

(Supposedly) the existing smelter has everything in place to safely extract metals from the used equipment and re-integrate them into the manufacturing chain. All that's left is collection from the owners and transportation to the smelter (which is probably where the fee comes in). It's not as good as refurbishing but it's easier and probably better than letting it sit in a landfill.

As individuals, we can do a lot to help channel electronics down the refurbish path instead of the resmelt path. Organizations like craiglist and FreeMesa.org help connect people that want to give away equipment with those that want it. Some repair shops will accept old equipment because they can repair it and sell it. (I knew a guy who got $3 per dead CD-ROM drive. A repair company would buy a bunch and give them to their techs to repair instead of letting them sit idle.) Also, if you want to get involved on a larger scale, it may be possible to start or promote a swap meet or some other way of connecting people.

As a side note, the smelter in Trail has had its share of problems over the years. In particular, contamination of the surrounding areas with lead has been a major concern. However, I don't think that this program will create or exacerbate issues around the normal operation of the smelter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail%2C_British_Colu mbia [wikipedia.org]
http://www.freemesa.org/ [freemesa.org]
http://www.craigslist.org/ [craigslist.org]

Re:Smelter != Incinerator (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028853)

The environmental problems with the smelter in Trail are easily a couple orders of magnitude less than the environmental problems created in the chinese 'recycling' villages.

Other Electronics? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 7 years ago | (#20027821)

From TFA:

The list of what is acceptable for recycling is short, namely computers, printers, and TVs ? you cannot recycle personal audio players or cell phones.
So, they're supposed to take everything else and throw it into the ravine at the end of the street?

Seriously, ISTM that a recycling program which takes all electronics would be a better idea. Otherwise this other stuff will just go into a landfill.

Just another tax grab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20027891)

This is just another tax grab by the government here. None of the e-waste is going to be recycled, it is just going to the landfill. But they'll put a eco-fee on it anyway.

I swear, if they could figure out how to tax the air we breathe they would. I live in British Columbia so I know.

Re:Just another tax grab (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028819)

Perhaps the people of BC wouldn't be taxed so much if the former NDP government hadn't spent 10 years unionizing everything, destroying the BC economy by ruining all investor confidence in the resource industries, and more than doubling our provincial debts by spending $20 Billion more than they had while claiming their budgets were balanced (recall the 'fudget budgets'?).

If it weren't for the current liberal government (despite their own flaws) running the province as a business instead of as a socialist welfare state, provincial bankrupcy would be the problem in BC, not high taxation.

Cell phone recycle programs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20028239)

Every cell phone provider has a cell phone recycle program.
Just phone your support line and ask for instructions.

The Collective Good (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 7 years ago | (#20029137)

http://www.collectivegood.com/ [collectivegood.com]

They re-use old cellphones, pagers, crackberries, etc, by repairing your old phone and then give them to charities. Non-working ones at the least have their batteries recycled. They also have kits available to setup colection stations at your work or elsewhere, and I have seen several collection stations setup that look like USPS mailboxes repainted. Ive sent a few phones their way in the past. Its better than just throwing them out or letting them sit around!

Tm

Another ripoff in the name of the enviro cult (1)

wheelgun (178700) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028563)

If electronics were really worth recycling, private parties would gladly pay us money for said electronics. The fact that the government has to charge a compulsory fee is all one needs to know about the integrity of the recycling movement.

Re:Another ripoff in the name of the enviro cult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20028727)

No, it tells you that the recycling isn't about profit, it's about the environment. Jesus christ. Capitalism is a fine system, but it doesn't belong EVERYWHERE. Waste disposal is one of the places where it doesn't belong, because if capitalism ruled waste disposal we'd just dump all our shit in the sea.

so much for liberal paradise huh (0, Redundant)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028633)

All this will do, is encourge people to just dump their waste to avoid this pointless fee.

Re:so much for liberal paradise huh (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028751)

The fee occurs when you BUY the product.

Dumbass.

Re:so much for liberal paradise huh (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#20029245)

People will just void paying it, by mail ordering or otherwise. the point is that mandating what is essentially a moral issue will never work, dumbass.

Just like tires and batteries (1)

effigoo (1134357) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028659)

I worked for a non profit computer recycling facility in the Comox Valley in BC. The reason why you would need to charge a recycling fee would be to pay the recyclers their 8bux an hour, and help cover the shipping costs of all the materials once they were sorted and packaged as best as we could. Being a non profit, we did things on the cheap and some things were not as safe as it should have been (like crushing monitor glass). I know that if we had more money, things would have been done with more concern for safety (breathing in old photocopier toner and monitor glass dust is pretty terrifying... I am pretty sure my little paper mask didn't save the day)

Ewaste is a huge problem. There are many dangerous chemicals in electronics and without a place to properly dispose of them, it goes to the landfill. Our main goals were to keep it out of the landfill, and keep it out of China. We sent most of our sorted recyclables to Vancouver to a prison that had a computer recycling program (for further sorting), and from there they went all over north America.

There is NOT A LOT OF MONEY in this. Plastic sold for a few cents a pound, and was a huge hassle to package and ship. Sure, you can say "what about the gold on the processors" but computers are mostly steel and plastic, and very little gold. Sadly that little operation shut down due to lack of funding. This program is exactly what BC needs. People don't think about their waste in this disposable society, and if it takes money to make them consider it, I say it's worth it. This sort of tax is similar to the car battery or tire tax, the money just helps keep the programs funded to properly dispose of the waste.

Paging Dr. Junk! (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 7 years ago | (#20029009)

The outfit I work for [gtesinc.com] went from 500 people to about 20 when the bubble burst, and we had a lot of surplus stuff to get rid of. We ended up selling lots of cool-looking flashing-light junk to movie people for props, cherry-picked a bit for ourselves, and sold the rest to a local guy who specializes in industrial cleanup. He ground up most of it (circuit boards and things) to extract the metals. We promptly christened him Dr. Junk.

Before he got the boards (some quite valuable in their time) we made sure, with a hammer and an anvil, that the boards wouldn't make it back in to service. Downsizing can have its rewards. :-)

...laura

Just another "Fear Me!" article from the ignorant. (5, Insightful)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 7 years ago | (#20028713)

Everyone be scared! Everyone scream at the evil things portrayed in the article! ... Or, instead you can educate yourself.

Generally people have no clue what happens in the mining industry, how metals are actually extracted from the ground and refined. I LOVE it when I see people protesting the mining industry in general, while using their cell phones, full of metals, while wearing clothes that were made on metal machines, with their metal car or bike parked nearby. They have no clue. It's great fun showing them the irony of their actions.

This ignorant FUD article is no different.

If it wasn't for smelters, the computer parts being recycled would never have existed in the first place! but people read the headlines and just assume the worst.

What happens when you recycle a pop can? ... it gets melted down in a smelter.
What happens when your car is recycled? ... it gets melted down in a smelter.
What happens when to pretty much any metal product when it is no longer useful? ... it gets melted down in a smelter.

It's about time the same happened to computer parts.

The government of British Columbia used to sell surplus computers and monitors as scrap.

The news media here caused great embarassment to the BC government a few years ago when they exposed the fact that the scrap ended up in the shocking Chinese 'recycle' system we've all seen on TV ... where peasants smash and burn the parts in the open air of their villages and manually stir vats of acids filled with the metallic ashes to recover the metals, where they let all the chemicals run down the streets into the local soils and water sources.

So the BC government actually did something about it.

Smelting it here in BC in a controlled manner where emissions are regulated, where thousands of people will NOT have their lives greatly shortened by the process, where ground water, lakes, rivers, and soil will NOT be destroyed by the process, sounds like a much better system to me.

AC to cover my shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20028813)

My town in New Hampshire recently imposed a $10 fee for recycling CRTs; just when I decided to dispose of my 2 old monitors and a TV. I'm thinking, I have to pay $30 to "do the right thing"? I'm very strongly tempted to put them in a bag, so they look like every-day trash, and push them into the pile with the rest of the trash.
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