Re[2]: 50% recycling is NOT enuff!
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:15:25 -0500


I am in total agreement that the goal should be zero waste (and I am
thrilled that zero waste will be the theme of the CRRA conference next
year). The EPA letter was written to get broad-based support for an
appeal to EPA to set a far more aggressive goal than it is considering,
not as a zero waste manifesto. That will come from a GRN organizing
event -- if that is the consensus.

In the letter, we called on EPA to set a more ambitious goal than the
proposed 35% RECYCLING goal by 2005. Specifically, we called for
"50% or greater PER CAPITA REDUCTION of waste by the year 2005,

I don't know if your are aware, but all the hoopla by EPA about the US
having reached "25% recycling" obscures the fact that wasting of
"msw" in landfills and incinerators is not declining by a comensurate
amount. In fact, per capita wasting barely declined (4%) between 1989
and 1994, according to Franklin Associates, and per capita material use
(consumption) continues to climb, despite lightweighting and
dematerialization. So the difference between 35% recycling and 50-
plus % reduction is greater than it might appear.

The date 2005 corresponds to the date chosen by EPA. How much
waste reduction is achievable by then, in 9 years? I believe 50%
REDUCTION nationally is achievable by 2005, but realistically that
will take a tremendous amount of grassroots organizing, political
leadership (that is nowhere in sight at the national level), and
implementing effort. And it will only happen if we stem the
hemmoraging that is happening in California and elsewhere and
establish the vision of zero waste, as you advocate.

Do you propose advocating zero waste but no timetable? Without any
"rates or dates" or other concrete provisions for feedback, I believe the
vision will be so toothless and vague as to be meaningless.

So by all means let us push for zero waste -- and for the social and
economic transformation that will entail.

Bill S.

Bill Sheehan
Grassroots Recycling Network
268 Janice Drive, Athens, GA 30606
tel & fax: 706-208-1416
(sharing wife's email account)