Zero Waste Legislation
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:14:26 -0500

Zero waste is an idea whose time must come. But how do we get from here to
there? Legislation seems to be the only avenue to be truly effective. To
that end I'm sending part of a report on the recycling practices of other
countries requested by the San Diego City Council from the Environmental
Services Dept. I'm sending only Germany because their program appears to be
the route most promising to reach our goal.

o Germany is approximately the size of Texas and has a population of 80

o In 1991 Germany had a 10% increase in their waste stream at the same time as
many landfills were reaching maximum capacity.

o In 1991 the German Parliament drafted an ordinance called the Avoidance of
Packaging. The ordinance required manufacturers to collect a certain
percentage of their packaging by 1993. The precise percentage varying
according to the type of packaging material generated by their product.

o The ordinance allowed 18 months for implementation of collection
o Germany was the first country to adopt a uniform "Green" label. The
label showed compliance with the packaging ordinance.
o After the ordinance was implemented industries joined together to
create a non-profil organization called DSD to recover the packaging
and recycle the materials.
o The DSD is funded by product manufacturers who pay a license fee
based on packaging weight, volume, and type of material. In return
the manufacturer is able to place a green dot on their package.
o The ordinance resulted in 3.1% less packaging being used in the
12 months after introduction in 1991. This is the equivalent of 1.1
million pounds of material.
o There was also an increase in returnable sales packaging from 72% to
75% in the same time period.
o Excess plastic is currently being stored until there is enough
processing capacity to recycle it.
o Companies who are participating are beginning to standardize their
plastic packaging to make recycling more convenient.
o The use of plastic in packaging material decreased from 40% in 1990 to
26% in 1992, with a corresponding increase in more easily recyclable
packaging material.

o Other European countries (including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway,
Sweden, and Japan) are introducing legislation similiar to Germany's
packaging ordinance.

o Manufacturers have created several design changes and rearranged or
concentrated material since the implementaion of the packaging ordinance.

o American companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Kellogg, Mattel, McDonalds,
Xerox, Nike, and Proctor and GAmble have had to comply with the German
ordinance to be able to stock their products in German stores.

o The increased cost to the consumer has been estimated at approximately $31
per year through purchasing products with green dot logo. It is anticipated
that this annual cost will decrease over time as start-up costs are absorbed
by the manufacturers.

o Germany is gearing up to pass regulation on used cars to promote car
dismantlling facitilies. End of quote.

First we tackle the take-back of packaging, then the product itself. And
finally the waste created in the extraction and production.

Tomorrow the world--ta dah!