"Wanted: 1,800,000 Non-Working Computer Monitors" Exports Reform Group Overwhelmed with Orders

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Since its formation in 2004, the World Reuse, Repair and Recycling Association (WR3A) has received signed purchase orders for 150,000 computer monitors per month - twenty times more than it can fill.

The World Reuse, Repair and Recycling Association, a non-profit trade association made up of recycling professionals, announced "Overwhelming Success" at finding markets for environmentally sound computer exports. But unless more USA companies participate, WR3A will be unable to meet worldwide purchase orders for quality used electronics equipment.

"The response in the USA was very positive," says Robin Ingenthron, one of the founders of WR3A. "People like the idea of reforming computer exports. But the response overseas is explosive." In the first month, WR3A got purchase orders for 130,000 used, non-working but repairable computer monitors. An additional 20,000 working monitors have been requested through WR3A.

Computer refurbishers from Egypt, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Ghana, and Lithuania have flown representatives to visit Good Point Recycling, a relatively small operation in Middlebury, Vermont, hours away from any international airport. "They want to say, 'Thank you!', 'Finally', 'About time!' and other things I can't translate," says Ingenthron.

The reuse, repair and refurbishing markets overseas are frustrated to receive toxic and junk TVs and monitors in the loads they buy for refurbishment. They cannot keep up with demand for affordable computers (and monitor/TV/DVD combos, which some turn the monitors into during refurbishment) without buying from large wholesalers, some of whom don't have any recycling capacity for junk tubes, which contain 8 pounds of lead. One buyer brought pictures of a load he imported to Taiwan a few weeks ago from Los Angeles. The scratched screens, blown tubes, monochrome monitors and obsolete brands - banned from disposal in California and Massachusetts - have no market in Asia or anywhere else.

This month, the website, http://www.wr3a.org, is being translated by students with the Recycling Program at UC Davis. Lin King, director of UC Davis recycling program, is VP and co-founder of the WR3A, and has become the point person to interview purchasers from China, the source of the highest demand.

WR3A expects even more requests for working and quality repairable equipment.

"What we need now are more USA members, generators and recyclers who can document they can supply the proper TVs and monitors." says King. "If we don't respond to this demand, companies overseas will have to go back to their old sources, which gives recycling a bad name."

"If you have working and repairable monitors, and are paying to have the junk ones recycled domestically, this association is for you." says Ingenthron.

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Robin Ingenthron
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