Toxic Trade News / 31 March 2010
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BAN slams ISRI resolution as ‘more of the same’
by Editorial Staff,
31 March 2010 (United States) – The toxic trade watchdog Basel Action Network (BAN) is denouncing the attempt at policy reform for electronic waste export from the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) as a ‘greenwash’.

The US recycler’s association ISRI's latest export policy fails to reference or even take note of the Basel Convention, the Basel Action Network claims. The Basel Convention is the UN agreement that regulates the global trade in wastes now in force for 172 countries.

BAN also says it’s impossible that developing countries can manage toxic waste safely, when such countries lack the societal resources, infrastructure and safety nets to mitigate the impacts of toxic waste processing.

"Dumping toxic, problematic wastes on developing countries is an easy way to make money, and the US scrap industry seems hell-bent on perpetuating that practice even when it has been globally outlawed," says Jim Puckett, Executive Director of the BAN. "This latest refusal to reform is really tragic," he continued. "Not only does this irresponsible practice succeed in exporting poisons to those least able to deal with it, but it means the loss of green US jobs as well."

The Basel Convention treaty – which is not signed by the US government - forbids any member country from importing wastes from a non-Party like the United States. "It is a cruel joke that ISRI perpetuates the myth of 'environmentally sound management' in developing countries," says Puckett. "If a developing country like China or India had everything it needed to properly manage hazardous wastes like e-waste, it would no longer be a developing country."

BAN also claims that ISRI's policy of not allowing export for just recycling -and not disposal- is disingenuous as well, as all recycling must involve some disposal of residual material. For example, recycling LCD screens or computer monitors inevitably involves having to dispose of toxic cadmium compounds or mercury.

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