FAQs at WR3A
What is the annual membership fee?
In 2009, WR3A established three levels of membership. Vetted Membership (for companies that want to use WR3A as a reference and directly access our purchase orders without going through another member) is $350 and requires submittal of information such as employees per ton, CRT glass destinations (glass test), sea containers outgoing, and printed circuit board (gold test). General or generator membership is only $75, but has limited voting rights and limited access to end market data (except for generators verifying their own downstream loads). We would like WR3A to be sustainable and to provide the best possible value to our members. We are also offering complimentary or "Honorary" membership to companies we have vetted and think would contribute to the association.
How Does WR3A Enforce Standards?
Unlike stewardship programs based on "pledges", "promises", and "goals", WR3A is based on civil law, or contracts. Our members believe that contracts and lawsuits are easier to enforce than international law. Our preference is to sign up companies already doing business under state or national contract, such as California, Massachusetts, or Maine, when the contract has environmental performance and reuse measures. When those companies violate the contract, we can call the state Attorney General's Office.
Is WR3A a cooperative marketing association?
WR3A is registered as a mutual benefit non-profit organization (which is different than a charity). As a business consortium, WR3A members share legal obligations and standard setting, but do not set pricing. Whether WR3A brokers material directly or facilitates brokerage will depend on legal restrictions vis-à-vis our non-profit status. We are NOT a 501-c(3) charity, and don't plan to be; the primary beneficiaries will be our members (and the environment).
Does the WR3A guarantee that members are not exporting toxic junk?
Our new Vetted Member program will ensure that members are making at least a good faith effort to remove junk. We also get downstream reconciliation of each load. We will kick out members we catch violating our standards. We are not trying to get rich on membership fees. It would be foolish to join WR3A without accepting our goals.
Does the WR3A guarantee that overseas members are not accepting or importing toxic junk?
As the number of members providing items for resale through the WR3A increases, we will use the cooperative volume of product to enforce best practices among our buyers. We may make cleanup of an old site a condition of new quality product sales, or may drop a buyer if we find they are buying large quantities from USA exporters who are not meeting WR3A standards.
Does the WR3A determine which exports are legal under international, USA, or foreign laws?
WR3A makes the best effort to ensure that overseas countries are properly informed and that bill of lading does not disguise commodity transactions. We are fully aware that certain countries utilize "environmental" laws as protectionist programs (China bans the import of tested, working, Pentium 4 laptops, for example) and try to make sure that goods being traded are commodities, and generally we recommend our members avoid shipping to countries trying to enforce "planned obsolescence". The Basel Convention Annex IX allows export for reuse and refurbishment, and US EPA allows exports for that purpose, but only if records are kept verifying the end use, for 3 years.
What are anticipated benefits to WR3A members in coming years?
- WR3A hopes to provide standards, load inspections, overseas site inspections, dispute resolution, networking, and news releases concerning reuse, repair and recycling worldwide.
- WR3A can provide EPA's required 3 years of recordkeeping under the "Export for Reuse" clause of the federal CRT Rule.
- WR3A is negotiating with well-intentioned importers to add ISO standards, recycling of incidental breakage, and better workplace conditions, in return for dependable product and fair trade prices.
- WR3A will provide cooperative purchase order fulfillment (allowing overseas refurbishers to fill their entire demand via a patchwork of WR3A members) and cooperatively share overseas due diligence inspections.
- WR3A will save overseas companies the expense of "fly and buy" or inspecting every load.
- WR3A will bring on digital divide and refurbishing organizations to work with companies who recycle, but do not have in-house expertise to sort for reuse and repair.
- WR3A will also assist generators, government agencies, and other organizations seeking advice and technical assistance on what the "reality" of electronics recycling and exports.