International Electronics Recycling Professionals to Meet at Fair Trade Recycling Summit
Regulators, watchdogs, activists & experts to discuss importance of e-waste recycling
Middlebury, Vt. -- The Vermont based World Reuse, Repair and Recycling Association, a Fair Trade Recycling association, will host importers of recycled electronic products and policy experts from African, Asian, and Latin American at a April 16th summit at Middlebury College.
The event is free and open to the public and will highlight the environmental and economic benefits of socially responsible e-waste recycling practices—an export market the association says could grow from $10 Billion to $55 billion by 2015 as responsible reuse systems expand.
The event is the first time a comprehensive group of colleges and universities will join regulators, watchdogs, activists and e-waste recycling professionals in discussing the importance of e-waste recycling, particularly in emerging and developing markets. Research on establishing fair trade practices in the recycling industry from MIT, Memorial University, University of Peru, and University of Southern California, and Thunderbird University in Arizona will be presented. And importers from Africa, Asia, and South America will speak, noting how repair and recycling businesses are considered good jobs and the products in-demand.
Jack Bryne, director of sustainability integration at Middlebury College, the host of the summit, said the event is an excellent way to find solutions. "It's important to know the truth about where our spent electronics are going and how they are being recycled. 'Trust but verify' applies here as it does with other sustainability related efforts,” Bryne said. “Fair Trade Recycling's summit will help us better understand the extent to which this $10 billion dollar activity is being done in ways that protect human heath, the environment and that treat workers fairly and safely – and where it is not. We need to know that so we can adjust our decisions to foster business models that are fair and good for the environment."
Fair Trade Recycling president Robin Ingenthron said the association set out to improve recycling practices and achieve important economic goals in developing nations.
"Recyclers here and from emerging markets have come together to identify and implement clear Fair Trade Recycling policies that ensure we are achieving all of the desired environmental and economic benefits, while substantially reducing the risk of waste or abuse,” Ingenthron said. “In particular, extending the life of electronics helps to speed the transition of developing nations into the progressively global exchange of commerce and ideas that technology has provided, further reduce the environmental foot print of producing electronics and keeps toxics and other materials out of landfills or illegal dump sites. It’s important work."
The summit will also include the announcement of five-year, $479,000 research grant to study Fair Trade Recycling. The subject of the first study will be the partnership between Vermont's Good Point Recycling and its sister company, Retroworks de Mexico, in a Sonoron Desert mining town. American Public Media (Marketplace, Living on Earth), PBS, Associated Press, and others have profiled the Vermont-Mexico partnership as a model of cooperative reuse and recycling.
ABOUT THE WORLD REUSE, REPAIR & RECYLCING ASSOCIATION / DBA FAIR TRADE RECYCLING
The World Reuse, Repair and Recycling Association (WR3A) is a consortium of electronics recycling professionals finding and implementing economically and socially responsible solutions for the "e- waste" problems here at home and overseas. WR3A members pledge not to ship toxics, adhere to strict international environmental and economic standards and best practices and advocate for the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the people of both importing and exporting nations.
More details can be found on Facebook at Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit.