Re: Column #2 -- Fostering Recycling Entrepreneurship

John Reindl 608-267-8815 (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:11:55 -0500

> Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 09:43:16 -0800 (PST)
> To: GreenYes@UCSD.EDU, GreenYes@UCSD.EDU
> From: "David A. Kirkpatrick" <>
> Subject: Column #2 -- Fostering Recycling Entrepreneurship

> Grassroots Recycling Networkers --
> Attached is the first draft of my second column for our local paper
> promoting a zero waste strategy, with much credit to Dan Knapp and Urban
> Ore's design and conceptual work. (To order Urban Ore's IRRF report cited
> here, call 510/235-0172. To order the NC Environmental Business Study,=
> 919/248-4100) Please email me your edits ASAP and I will repost the final
> that gets printed. =20
> Thanks,
> Dave Kirkpatrick

Dave -

I LOVE to edit other people's work! Thanks for asking; I hope it helps.

John Reindl, Dane County, WI

> Fostering Recycling Entrepreneurship in Durham
> Column 2 of 3 for the Herald Sun
> Achieving full recovery of all of the materials discarded in homes and
> businesses in Durham and zero waste generation will require new thinking,
> new policies, and new businesses. We currently often mix all of our
> discarded materials together and call them "garbage", "trash", or "solid
> waste." By mixing different commodities together in our garbage cans and
> dumpsters, packer trucks, and landfills we lose their inherent value if=
> had been kept separate at the source. It would be like taking all of the
> food out of our refrigerators and cupboards (along with some nasty
> chemicals) and throwing it all in a big boiling pot together =96 who would
> want the mess? But if we take each food item out separately and prepare=
> according to a recipe we can be sure that at least someone in the=
> will eat it.

Great analogy!

> So, too, with almost all of our discarded materials. If we keep them
> separated in a few reasonable categories, recycling entrepreneurs will be
> eager to process or manufacture them into new products. The NC
> Environmental Business Study released in July 1996 identified 586=
> companies in the state, with $945 million in sales and 8,970 employees.
> These companies are involved in collecting, processing, reusing,=
> and remanufacturing a wide range of materials. In Durham alone, these
> companies include Automotive Waste Recycle, Bakery Feeds, BFI, Building
> Supply Recycling Center, Durham Scrap Metal, Orange Recycling Services,
> Paper Stock Dealers, Reynolds Aluminum, S. Swartz & Sons, SunShares, Waste
> Industries and Waste Management.
> By declaring a zero waste goal and instituting the policies and
> infrastructure to achieve the goal, Durham can help these ventures to grow
> and encourage more companies to relocate or start-up in the city. Instead
> of investing most of our public funds in solid waste collection=
> fleets, transfer stations, and landfills, we should build the=
> to foster these sustainable ventures. For example, West Virginia=92s=
> Waste Management Board commissioned Urban Ore, Inc. to develop designs for
> an Integrated Resource Recovery Facility (IRRF). The IRRF is designed as=
> "reverse shopping center" where several recovery businesses leasing space=
> "tenants." Each of these businesses specialize in recovering one or more=
> the "clean dozen" master categories of discarded material, as defined by
> Urban Ore: reusable goods, paper, plant debris, putrescibles, woods,
> ceramics, soils, metals, glass, plastics, textiles, and chemicals.
> Durham=92s local government could play a role in fostering the development=
> an IRRF be doing site preparation, installing shared truck scales,=
> business incubator services, employee training and placement, and
> guaranteeing a flow of source separated materials from municipal
> collections. With these incentives, recycling entrepreneurs would find=
> IRRF site an ideal start-up or expansion site. At a minimum, these=
> would include 1) a recycling processor for cleaning and compacting glass,
> metals, paper, plastics and textiles for manufacturing markets 2) a soil
> products company for shredding, composting and screening plant debris,=
> waste, soil, and mixed paper 3) a salvage and reuse firm to repair=
> goods and to salvage building materials and 4) an aggregate processor to
> crush and screen construction and demolition materials not salvageable.
> Companies receiving higher value discards, such as reusables, could accept
> materials for free while processors of lower values discards such as

Or might pay for the materials.

> aggregates could charge a per ton drop-off fee that would cover processing
> costs but be less than the cost of landfill disposal.

Could be lower than the cost of landfilling (In our community, some=20
commodities have a higher cost than landfilling, but we still think=20
it's worthwhile and so gladly pay the cost).

> Plans for Canberra, Australia=92s zero waste/100% recovery facility also

>From a strictly editorial viewpoint, may want to put in a transistion=20
phrase, such as " As an example of how this works in other areas, plans=20
for Canberra ... ". Also, it may be more useful to cite a system that's=20
up and running, rather than still in the proposal stage.

> include space for dozens of small scale manufacturing companies around the
> perimeter of the core tipping and processing areas =96 shipping out=
> fertilizers, furniture, rebuilt computers, cellulose insulation, plastic
> lumber and a host of other products made from recovered materials. An
> industrial site like the soon-to-be vacated 150,000 square foot Golden=
> factory in downtown Durham could be renovated as an IRRF, providing new
> manufacturing jobs for central city neighborhoods and host a new
> entrepreneurial opportunities.
> The IRRF design helps us to visualize what is possible. Given the=
> of existing development and businesses, it is likely that a network of
> recovery ventures across Durham would also grow and develop if we put=
> support behind a full recovery strategy. However, the centralized and
> networked recovery locations must be convenient and affordable for=
> and haulers, so that they have an economic incentive to separate and=
> their discards. In the near term, some residual mixed solid waste will be
> generated, but high local or out-of-county landfill costs should strongly
> discourage wasting and encourage patronage of local recycling companies. =
> will touch on some next steps for Durham to move from a "solid waste
> disposal system" to a "recovered materials economy" in my next column.
Very innovative. Nice article. I look forward to the next column.