Ok, well this story is rather sad. It highlights our troubling practice of dumping waste on others (a common and old practice). Why recyle and better yet build machines that last longer and are comprised of more easily recycled materials when we can just “donate” our junk to developing countries. Of course, we could do this better. That is, we could better manage the lifecycle of our IT equipment, and we could better build “technological bridges” in developing countries.
Would regulating the export of hazardous materials be a sufficient spur? Maybe, maybe not, but it certainly seems like a necessary first step. I have not looked at the Basel Convention and the other relevant international legal instruments in a long time, so I will not discuss their application now. But this is an important area for further study.
The report mentioned in the article is here.
UPDATE: I guess our trackback is not working: check out
UPDATE II: Don Singleton sent an email indicating:
I have been trying to encourage people in other cities to come to Tulsa for a couple of days, learn how we do what we do, and then take a “Road Warrior” computer back with them so they can set up a refurb project in their cities
This stuff should not go into landfills, either here or in other countries, but should be fixed up so it has a few more years of life in it that can help someone who cannot afford to buy a computer.
http://helpingtulsa.org is the address of our web site
Here are examples of people from Texas, Kenya, Belarus, and an indian tribe in Arizona, that have taken advantage of the offer, and who have come to learn how to do computer refurbishing in their areas.