Re: Column #3 -- Making It Easier to Recycle

John Reindl 608-267-8815 (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:11:48 -0500

David -

Looks great! I'm glad that you mentioned the ability to reduce refuse=20
collection with the development of recycling and source reduction. It's=20
often neglected, but it's how my city saved the most money -- more than=20
saved landfill fees, more than recycling revenue. The net result=20
(largely due to leaving grass on the lawn and home composting) is that=20
overall system costs dropped.

Our state has mandatory recycling of a broad range of materials for all=20
generators. Single family households provide the best participation=20
rates; participation among businesses is still a problem.

Nice job on the articles.

John Reindl,
Dane County, WI

> Date: Fri, 6 Dec 1996 19:20:03 -0800 (PST)
> To: GreenYes@UCSD.EDU
> From: "David A. Kirkpatrick" <>
> Subject: Column #3 -- Making It Easier to Recycle

> Grassroots Recyclers -
> Here is column three in the series I have forwarded to you. Thanks to=
> who have made valuable editing comments on 1 and 2. I will retransmitt=
> final printed versions of 1 through 3 which incorporate many of your
> suggestions. This last one is meant to be practical ... how do we get=
> from here. I was a bit rushed on it since it is due this weekend, with=
> columns running on Sun, Mon, Tues Dec. 8-10. If any of you log on over=
> weekend and have edits to suggest, please email them directly to me ASAP.
> Thanks!
> Dave Kirkpatrick
> ********************
> Making It Easier to Recycle and Harder to Waste=20
> Column 3 of 3 for the Herald Sun=20
> How can we make garbage obsolete in Durham? By making it easy and cheap=
> recycle and reduce waste and expensive and difficult to create waste. In
> our homes, this means convenient, weekly collections not only for
> newspapers, bottles, cans, leaves, and brush, but also for magazines, junk
> mail, office paper, textiles, used oil, reusable goods and food scraps.
> With all of these materials collected for recycling and composting, we
> should generate very little if any waste for landfilling. =20
> However, household waste is only about 1/3 of what goes in the Durham
> landfill =96 the rest comes from businesses, industries, colleges and=
> institutions. Each of these waste generators also need convenient
> collections of the materials they generate in great quantities =96 paper=
> offices, cardboard from retail outlets, food scraps and containers from
> restaurants, and specialized scrap materials from industrial facilities. =
> If we institute more comprehensive recycling collections, though, how can=
> be sure everyone participates? Some businesses and homes in Durham reduce
> waste and recycle aggressively already, but many still are throwing
> everything "away" =96 in the landfill. Many communities have gone to "pay=
> you throw" programs in which each home and business pays for the full cost
> of their solid waste collection and disposal, based on how much they=
> If one printing company fills up a garbage dumpster per week, they pay
> accordingly, while another printing company that recycles all of their=
> scrap avoids the waste fees and sometimes even earns recycling revenues. =
> the residential level, pay-as-you-throw programs need to provide credits=
> fixed or low income residents to help assure that the fees do not make the
> tax structure more regressive. Everyone has the opportunity to cut waste
> costs by reducing their waste at the source and recycling.
> Other cities have made recycling a civic duty =96 like stopping at stop=
> Easy recycling opportunities are provided for all and all are expected to
> participate. Homes and businesses that mix their recyclables into waste
> containers are generating more expenses and environmental liabilities and
> are cited and fined accordingly. Already, the city has taken this type of
> initiative with one material =96 cardboard. Businesses are provided with=
> cardboard recycling dumpster collections and if commercial garbage trucks
> dump waste loads at the landfill including cardboard, they are triple
> charged tipping fees.
> If we give strong economic incentives, civic requirements, and thorough
> education, Durham residents will respond by recycling, composting and
> reusing more and reducing waste at the source. But how will we pay for=
> new recovery efforts? One way will be to cut back on mixed solid waste
> collections, once we all have the opportunity to recover the majority of=
> materials. In my household and home office, only about 15% of our=
> materials goes into the garbage roll out cart, the rest are recycled or
> composted. At that rate, once per month collection would be quite=
> Currently, much of the city=92s revenue to support solid waste and=
> programs comes from the tipping fees charged at the landfill. As of=
> 1, 1998, state law will require all unlined landfills, including Durham=92=
> to close. We have to have find a new way to fund our discarded materials
> system. Reduced mixed solid waste collection and disposal costs, higher
> recycling and composting revenues, and pay-as-you-throw fees can all be=
> of the mix to address this fiscal shortfall. Durham=92s materials=
> program, like our homes and businesses, should make money by reducing=
> instead of having the counter productive economic incentive to landfill=
> The added benefits of overcoming our reliance on landfills and fostering a
> sustainable materials economy can be significant. With the loss of many
> cigarette manufacturing jobs, Durham needs new industries that are
> accessible to skilled blue collar workers. If we keep our scrap=
> separate, many new employment opportunities could be generated in
> manufacturers using recovered materials, in repair and reuse shops, in
> processing plants, in soil products companies and in collection programs.
> By realizing that our "solid waste problem" is really a "commodity
> manufacturing opportunity," Durham has the chance to develop a win-win
> Achieving zero waste will be a challenge for every household and business,
> and especially for Durham as a whole. But what is the alternative?
> Accepting the continued community divisiveness, environmental hazards, and
> expenses of landfilling? Accepting the lost economic and employment
> opportunities of burying valuable commodities? Surely we can do better. =
> our parents and grandparents knew and our children remind us -- We can
> "waste not, want not."
> David Kirkpatrick
> ----------------------
> KirkWorks
> Post Office Box 15062
> Durham, NC 27704-0062
> 919/220-8065 (Voice)
> 919/220-9720 (Fax)