To: President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate
Legalize Fair Trade Recycling
International Law (the Basel Convention) currently allows trade between OECD ("rich countries") and non-OECD ("developing countries") if the effects are reuse, repair, or clean recycling. While the trade is not perfect, tinkering, repair, refurbishing and reuse have created affordable cell phone and internet systems across the globe.
Critics of the trade cite "externalizing environmental costs", and would ban poor nations from taking used goods from rich nations. The poor, they say, should get donations and trade from other poor.
The effect of bans on trade (e.g. California's SB20 system for destroying display devices like computer monitors) has created shortages, a decrease in quality of exports, more expensive IT for emerging markets, and has created useless piles of glass out of CRTs which would have worked for 20 years.
The proposals to ban trade in used electronics between rich and poor have had a perverse effect. They distract us from real problems like endangered species poaching, habitat loss, toxic mining, blood metals, child soldiers, sex trade, and other more pressing problems than "e-waste". The poor are better off purchasing working and repairable electronics from rich people than they are being outlawed from the trade. And hand-disassembly of used electronics is actually superior environmentally to shredding.
By signing this petition, I signal my support for the rights of Technicians of other Languages, Colors, and Cultures, to choose whom they trade with. I support Fair Trade Recycling, and oppose legislation which would force Americans to shred electronics which other people desperately need and cannot afford to buy new.
Why is this important?
The proposals to ban trade in used electronics between rich and poor have had a perverse effect. Poor nations have more pressing things to worry about than "e-waste". They are better off purchasing working and repairable electronics from rich people than they are being outlawed from the trade.