Re: Column #2 -- Fostering Recycling Entrepreneurship

Richard Kashmanian (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:11:56 -0500


Thanks for posting your draft. I agree with your interest in moving to a=20
"recovered materials economy," but we differ, hopefully slightly, in how we=
should get there. I believe that we should not refer to compost and=
feedstocks as "waste," nor refer to composting or recycling as "disposal." =
want composting and recycling to be viewed in positive light, so we should=
words that associate them with landfilling. The words "waste" and=
are related. We may agree on this point. However, you refer to these=20
feedstocks as "discards," and I would like to discuss this with you. There=
little difference in meaning between "waste" and "discard." I prefer and=
the word "discard" to refer to what we bury in the landfills. Hopefully, we=
will find markets these materials, and no longer refer to them as discards.

In a 11/13 posting to GreenYes, I explained my concern with referring to=
feedstocks as "discards". It is copied below:

"I believe it is much wiser to share the perspective that the generators of=
these used materials have become part of the industrial process -- they are=
input suppliers. If we use words such as "discards" to describe these=20
materials, we imply that the generators are getting rid of these materials=
that the materials have no value. I contend these generators believe that=
are passing these materials along in a production chain. The public already=
believes that if they source separate, then they are involved in recycling. =
Let's continue this -- it makes no sense to jeopardize it. If we want to=20
convince the public that these materials have no value and that it is=
rid of them, we should also expect that the public will mix in materials=
that it
believes have no value, lowering the value of the feedstocks and end=
and raising the costs of processing. Furthermore, these negative words will=
also make it even harder to convince the public to buy the value-added=
made from its used materials. If we want to stress the role of the public=
the market development of compost and recycling, we need to use a more=20
market-friendly vocabulary."

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this. Thanks.

Take care,

Richard Kashmanian

dkirkwks @ ("David A. Kirkpatrick")=20
12/04/96 02:33 PM
To: GreenYes @ UCSD.EDU @ IN, GreenYes @ UCSD.EDU @ IN
cc: (bcc: Richard Kashmanian)
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, call
919/248-4100) Please email me your edits ASAP and I will repost the final
that gets printed. =20

Dave Kirkpatrick

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 they
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 it
according to a recipe we can be sure that at least someone in the household
will eat it.

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 recycling
companies in the state, with $945 million in sales and 8,970 employees.
These companies are involved in collecting, processing, reusing, composting
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 containers,
fleets, transfer stations, and landfills, we should build the infrastructure
to foster these sustainable ventures. For example, West Virginia=92s Solid
Waste Management Board commissioned Urban Ore, Inc. to develop designs for
an Integrated Resource Recovery Facility (IRRF). The IRRF is designed as a
"reverse shopping center" where several recovery businesses leasing space as
"tenants." Each of these businesses specialize in recovering one or more of
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, providing
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 the
IRRF site an ideal start-up or expansion site. At a minimum, these ventures
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, food
waste, soil, and mixed paper 3) a salvage and reuse firm to repair reusable
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
aggregates could charge a per ton drop-off fee that would cover processing
costs but be less than the cost of landfill disposal.

Plans for Canberra, Australia=92s zero waste/100% recovery facility also
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 Belt
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 realities
of existing development and businesses, it is likely that a network of
recovery ventures across Durham would also grow and develop if we put public
support behind a full recovery strategy. However, the centralized and
networked recovery locations must be convenient and affordable for citizens
and haulers, so that they have an economic incentive to separate and recycle
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. I
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.