FW: GreenYes Digest V96 #1

Peter Anderson (recycle@msn.fullfeed.com)
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:13:41 -0500

Regarding the third point: Theoretically, it may be true that any resin, as
a thermoplastic, is recyclable. But that is not the same as being
economically recyclable (or environmentally benign). If there comes a
proliferation of many small volumes of resins, then the handling costs for
handling dribs and drabs is ruinously expensive. Also, if two resins are
visually similar, sorting then has to be moved off to intermediate
processors, requiring ruinously expensive double handling and loosing value
added activity. Thus, we need (1) a very small number of (2)
environmentally benign and (3) easily identifiable visually resins.

Peter Anderson

From: "Marjorie J. Clarke" <mclarke@shiva.hunter.cuny.edu>
Sent: Sunday, October 20, 1996 5:26 PM
To: GreenYes@UCSD.EDU
Subject: Re: GreenYes Digest V96 #1


>The Grassroots Recycling Network aims to promote three messages to the
>American public:
>1. Zero Waste

I have a number of comments.

First, only lip service is paid to waste prevention, which is, after all, at
the top of the solid waste hierarchy. Source reduction and reuse each harm
the environment less than recycling, and both are cheaper than recycling.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not against recycling. But many recycling advocates
would rather recycling everything rather than follow the hierarchy and
prevent as much of the total potential (or baseline year's) waste stream,
and THEN recycle what is left after all possible reduction and reuse has
been done. Recyclers would rather maximize the recyclables in the waste
stream, maybe because prevention would reduce the potential amounts of
recyclables. This position is detrimental to the environmental cause, and
for that reason, I don't go along with ignoring a very strong role for waste
prevention in this Zero Waste policy.

Second, the policy statement itself goes on for too long, and the thoughts
are not presented as succinctly as possible (word pollution). The positions
are not supported by data. Both of these limit the degree to which it will
get read and accepted in a wider arena.

Third, I don't understand how we arrive at a conclusion that plastics aren't
recyclable. In New York City, we are marketing our PET and HDPE. In other
places polystyrene and PVC are recycled. What's the problem? By the way,
plastics are the single fastest growing segment of the waste stream. Should
we reduce, eliminate and finally reverse this growth, or should we not
bother and just try to recycle it all (this is the key difference in our
approaches). You can't ignore the energy and other natural resources
CONSUMED in recycling, just as you must not ignore the pollution to air,
water, and/or land which results from it.

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Marjorie J. Clarke Environmental Scientist and Consultant
Address: mclarke@shiva.hunter.cuny.edu
New York City Phone & Fax: 212-567-8272