GreenYes Digest V96 #22

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:12:34 -0500

GreenYes Digest Fri, 15 Nov 96 Volume 96 : Issue 22

Today's Topics:
Internet Message
Proposal for Zero Waste Legislation
Zero Waste Legisltion

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Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 16:45:42, -0500
Subject: Internet Message

Richard Kashmanian writes:

It seems that a number of source reduction advocates want to position

composting and recycling as methods of "disposal" or methods to
"waste." Referring to source reduction as "waste prevention" (or
reduction") implies that compost and recycling feedstocks are "waste.
" I view
these as the by-products of landscaping or consumption. Waste
prevention and
waste reduction should include composting and recycling. Otherwise,
becomes problematic to the compost and recycling industries for a
number of
reasons -- e.g., economic impacts (e.g., processing costs and product

revenues), product market development, effectiveness of source
separation, and
regulatory burdens. Furthermore, the draft policy statement refers
to the
"disposal marketplace," "Discards are ... subject to disposal," and
includes any method of reuse, recycling, composting, or wasting." By
to all of these management methods as "disposal," there is no
between conservation/recovery and burying. I hope I am not the only
troubled by this choice of words coming from supporters of source
composting, and recycling.
Dave Reynolds replies:

Many folks were not happy with the phrase "source reduction" because
they thought that the layperson would not understand what it meant,
and, considering the sound bite society in which we now live, that
taking the time to define it would lose people. Therefore, "waste
prevention" has become a popular substitute for "source reduction."
Note that (in my book, at least) "waste prevention" and "waste
reduction" are not synonymous. I consider recycling and composting
as "waste reduction" activities, becasue these processes take
matierals that have the potential of becoming solid waste and
diverting them to a productive use. This reduces waste (by finding a
use for a material rather than discarding it), but does not totally
eliminate,or prevent waste (due to by-products from the
recycling/composting chain). A "waste prevention" measure totally
eliminates any potential for waste.

Some people in the field may respond "stop with the definitions and
just get on with it," but as Richard Kashmanian so eloquently points
out, interpretations have an influence over behavior and actions, so
this should not be taken lightly.


Dave Reynolds


Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 20:59:32 -0500
Subject: Proposal for Zero Waste Legislation

a message dated 96-11-11:

<< HOWEVER, I do not agree that we should exchange the definite goal of 50%
in the year 2000 for the idealistic but perhaps unachievable goal of zero
waste sometime in the undefined, maybe never to arrive future. That would
send the wrong message to the public. >>

It seems that there is a need to hold on to some intermediate measurement in
order to have reachable goals, something on this side of the horizon. That
seems reasonable and human, but that "X% of discards" really clouds the
issue. I like the idea declaring zero as the long range, perfect goal. The
goal on this side of the horizon would be "how much less stuff got landfilled
or burned." Each year the goal would be an alotted improvement over last
year. Everyone would do their best at capturing and educating and adding new
materials and coming up with new techniques and materials;and we'd all be
watching the one (shrinking number) (by county, state wasteshed, etc.)- total
trashed material.


Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 12:19:56 -0500
Subject: Zero Waste Legisltion

Re: Zero Waste Goal vs. 50% by 2000

Dave Wade speaks a very real concern about the political fall out from
abandoning the 50% mandate, but as a recycling based manufacturer who has
been having my nos rubbed in this topic for far too long now, I am CONVINCED
that 50% by 2000 is possible at a cost that will be extraordinarily
high that the Tierney's of the world will have a field day with all the data
proving that recycling is way more expensive than gold plating all the
garbage and putting it on space shuttle flights to Mars!
The preasure to retreat will grow as we get nearer the 50%, and if it
doesn't it will be because of the cheating. I've heard from far too many
people already that many of the 25% number people claim are simply not
correct, and this will lead to a false sence of accomplishment where there is
none! In either case I believe that the 50% mandate will back fire on the
long range health of the Sustainable Society movement.
The question is how do we get to a Zero Waste/Sustainable society?
From the many responces I've had to the Zero Waste Goal proposal I have
come to realize that this is really taking a major leap into a very different
way of going about doing things. People keep wanting to tack/hang on
remanents of the current/old ways, and I guess it is important to build a
bridge between the two. But in the long run we MUST let go of the old ways
in order to make the new ones work! Once across that bridge things will be
radically different than they are today.
Please, help us figure out how to make it work.....and in order for it
to work you are going to have to figure out a way for the system to move away
from what we have into something new, and NOT containing much of anything we
see in the systems we have in place today!
Any suggestions? Critique is good, but we need olutions to all those
good criticisms or we will never get anywhere!!!!!

PS: Thank you Dave Reynolds for bringing up the numbers argument and
explaining this idea from a different perspective.


End of GreenYes Digest V96 #22