WR3A World Tour (2006):  Purchase Orders and Verification


WR3A continues to identity the best practices in the export market, with visits to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Mexico.


WR3A continues to mature, with more USA and Overseas members "signing on" for transparent standards and verification.  This year, WR3A members made more visits to overseas markets, and presented a profile of the export practices at E-Scrap 2006 in Austin, IEEE/IAER San Francisco, and other groups around the country.


Click for Powerpoint  TriangleTrade_CRTExports.ppt



American companies cannot afford to ship junk electronics thousands of miles overseas without mixing in enough reuse material to "sweeten" the load.  As USA companies began to follow a "Prohibition" strategy against computer exports, importers turned to less scrupulous companies to fill their needs.  The result of the "war on exports" is the creation of a "middleman economy", where loads are uninspected, un-certified, and full of "toxics along for the ride".


How to convince good American companies to participate in "Fair Trade" standards?  WR3A sent trial loads, visited the receiving companies, documented the fallout rates, and sent Colin Davis, our Executive Director, to see for himself.  Visits to Malaysia and Indonesia in July were followed by visits to Mexico in August.  Here are some photos demonstrating what we saw.


  Colin Davis, the new Executive Director of WR3A, visited a factory in Indonesia owned by Proview (one of the top 5 display manufacturers worldwide, a true OEM takeback program), and explored new buyers in Penang and Klang Malaysia in July.

Following his visit, WR3A suppliers became a major source of monitors for the factory in Malaysia, eliminating the need for "middlemen" to "screen out" the bad monitors.  He also learned the secrets of monitor board recycling in Jakarta, where individual components on the boards, such as chips and heat sinks, are recovered for new refurbished products.

  Factories like these in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Brazil used to purchase new Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) to manufacture these products, at a cost of $60-80 per new tube.  The other components of monitors and small TVs - tuner board and plastic - are a small fraction of the finished cost.  The tunerboards, which are about the size of those in a clock radio, now have advanced capabilities, and can pick up NTSC, PAL, SECAM or Digital signals - they no longer need to be customized for each country's TV signal. 

By buying used monitor CRTs from the USA, which are good for 15-25 years,(over 500% the average life of the personal computer they were sold with), these companies put in a better CRT (monitors have higher dot per inch than TVs) and achieve huge environmental savings.

The problem?  These factories cannot put a "chevy motor" into a "volkswagen" (a Sony Trintitron tube cannot be used at a Corning tube factory).  CRTs need to be graded by size, radius, circumference, and be free of implosion, screen burn, which requires evaluation and testing in the USA prior to export.


WR3A licenses a program from American Retroworks Inc., which allows detailed tracking of each and every monitor in an export load

  WR3A's solution? Instead of shipping full containerloads of "whatever" to small villages, where the underpaid scrap yards sort monitors to meet the factory specification (and junk the rest !!), WR3A members prepare the loads for shipping directly to the factory.  These factories are typically in big cities, with hundreds of employees, running 3 shifts per day.

WR3A prepares commercial purchase orders with specifications and prices, and only allows USA WR3A members to bid on those orders after demonstrating they have a legitimate avenue for BAD CRT GLASS.  When a WR3A member invests in dealing with the bad CRTs, they don't have any more incentives to ship "Toxics Along for the Ride".


Meanwhile WR3A is assisting Vermont's American Retroworks Inc. in its exploration of a new recycling facility in Sonora Mexico.  For more information, visit Retroworks de Mexico here.



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