E-WASTE RESEARCH LINKS - Scrap, Repair, Recycling

I hate the word "e-waste".  It has been used to label everything "second-hand".  Maybe if we properly defined it to be something thrown away, everyone would agree on policy.  When repaired and recycled items are referred to as "wastes", it creates impossible situations.

The most hotly debated topic is the percentage of used electronics exported, and the percentage of those exports which do environmental benefit (or harm).  Here is a list of secondary resources which demonstrate the evolution of the reponses to those questions...

A Place Called Away (Puckett, 2010)

Science Daily (article referring to UNEP study released in 2011... better yet get the actual UNEP studies in Ghana and Nigeria)

Here are Sites I recommend for a better understanding of Recycling in General or Electronics Reuse, Repair and Recycling in particular.
  1. US Geological Survey.  These people in the USA Department of Interior get it.  They know where the mining Superfund sites are, they know how much copper and lead etc. the USA imports and exports, they know the processes.  I've always found the staff there to be knowledgeable environmentalists.
  2. ISRIThe Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries is a great resource for finding out about recycling and recycling policy.  Also produces Scrap Magazine.  New in 2012, ISRI has launched its own EScrapBeat blog.
  3. Earthworks  Formerly known as the Mineral Policy Center, Earthworks has a long term, geological approach to mining vs. recycling.  They also took on the more difficult discussions about finding social and economic jobs for people whose mining jobs are "reformed", for example by promoting ethical jewelry.
  4. WR3A.  The World Reuse, Repair and Recycling Association is a business consortium of electronics recyclers who want to create cooperative fair trade agreements with Geeks of Color, and to defend markets (like Samsung's CRT glass cullet furnace in Klang, Malaysia) which are improperly accused of being "waste importers" when the replace mined virgin material with recycled or reused material (a definite blessing to Earth).
  5. RepairFAQ Silicon Sam Goldwasser's Sci.Electronics.Repair website was my first tool in evaluating whether Techs of Color really know how to repair used electronics.  I found that the "specifications" they had for purchasing items made perfect sense when you read the repair guides... The export market was able to describe things they didn't want and couldn't fix, and the RepairFAQ explained why.
  6. DigiTimes.   That's a surprise?  I'm giving up one of my best secrets.  This is an Asian based newsletter which specifically updates trends on display devices.   Find out about Foxconn, Wistron, BenQ, Proview, etc... the companies which really make "Stuff".
  7. R2 Solutions.  R2 Solutions is a new non-profit organization formed by electronics manufacturers, recyclers, and regulators to make sure that EPA's Responsible Recyclers Certification is maintained and can evolve with changing standards and times.
  8. IFixIT is a website similar to Silicon Sams, but they handle much newer products... like my HTC Evo 4G cell phone, which I just cracked in my pocket (car keys).  Ouch.  Now IFIXIT.org has added a professional writer, Elizabeth Chamberlin, who just may take the ewaste blogging crown.
  9. BAN.   The organization means well, and is still a great watchdog, even if I wish they'd stop barking at the repairman.  He's our friend and our guest.  Several posts here are critical of the "mission creep" by the Basel Convention into second hand goods and recycling commodities.  However, the organization is still the one on the front lines if greedy polluters dump drums of toxic fluid waste on the shores of Ivory Coast, Nigeria, etc.
  10. Resource Recycling publishes magazines like E-Scrap News which really require investigative journalism, and hosts the famous E-Scrap Conference each year.   If you don't subscribe, you are taking your chances
  11. AGMA.  The Anti-Gray Market Alliance, aka the Alliance for Grey Market and Couterfeit Abatement, is an important group when it comes to electronics repair and reuse policy.
  12. ShanghaiScrap.   Adam is an American living in Shanghai, who takes random walks through recycling and repair shops.  His insights are written in an accessible, man-on-the-street, common-sense tone.
  13. Recycling Today, International Edition.
  14. Recycling International is a Europe-based scrap industry periodical.
  15. TechSoup is a geek-to-geek website promoting greater digital access.  In recent years, TechSoup has made its footprint international.
  16. TechTravels.  Awesome.
  17. SOS-Arsenic.net  List of the ten "most toxic places" on earth from a scientific source.
  18. Exporters.com.sgwww.alibaba.comwww.recycle.net  and www.tradeloop.com are some of the  oldest and best known B2B recycling and reuse trading sites.
  19. Fair Trade Recycling Facebook group.  An open group for posting and discussion on "fair trade recycling", reuse and repair.
  20. Earthworks, formerly "Mineral Policy Center", has been a favorite of mine for 20 years, following the international metal mining and hard rock mining industries.
  21. Freedom To Tinker, and other blogs on Patent Exhaustion doctrine/principle.  Reuse on the battlefield of barrier to entry is a jillion dollar issue creating lots of court precedents.
  22. ElectronicsTakebackCoalition presents the prosecutions case for a ban on exports of e-waste.
  23. EPA Reports:  Two that I was a consultant on in particular focus on E-Waste reuse and EWaste exports, the Jobs Through Recycling 2000 on Infrastructure Development and the Electronic Waste Management in USA 2007 report from EPA.  Warning, on the latter study, the chief consultant quoted the daily import figures for CRT refurbishment as monthly.  Now exports have fallen to where the monthly figure is more correct.
  24. Recyclage Ethique de l'Electronique is a new junior blog written by WR3A intern Adelaide of France.  She is translating some work here, but also creating new content and showing step-by-step how electronics recycling works, to de-mystify it for the Francophone world.
  25. Internet World Stats:  how the rest of the world is catching up to internet access at 10X the rate of growth of wealthy nations.
There are about a dozen other sites which I could share.  Some of the best sites contain names and addresses of overseas recycling and environmental groups.  I consider many of those to be targeted by governments who don't want their citizens the freedom to get online.   Not all import bans are environmental laws.

Chapter Series Blogs:   If you are a glutton for information, use the blog "search box" to find these terms in "series titles", for extremely dense efforts to penetrate important and complex environmental topics, usually using "e-waste" as a lens.

Term Paper
Environmental Malpractice
Topical Tropical
Dead Reckoning
Father's Day Communique
Legal Dual Party Intent
Defining "E-waste" Racism
Trouble With Stewardship
EWaste Whiplash