RESPOND: Proposed GRN Message
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:22:13 -0500


TO GRN Steering Committee
FROM Bill Sheehan 7-14-96

The following is a message I would like to send to the NRC email
list and recycle@envirolink, a technical-oriented listserve with 330
mostly US and Canadian subscribers. I got 45 requests in just the
last two days from these sources for info on the Tierney NY Times
article (including requests from Thailand and Nairobi!). The time is
right to capitalize on this phenomenon and make a pitch for our

Please read this and respond by Thursday (7/18) if you are NOT
comfortable with wording -- especially of the second and third
paragraphs! Also, any takers for the job of info disseminator (see end)?

Bill S.

Bill Sheehan
(comes to jennie alvernaz's email account)
work: 770-995-9606; fax 770-995-6603
home tel & fax: 706-208-1416
268 Janice Drive, Athens, GA 30606

TO Recycling Practitioners and Advocates

RE Analyses of Tierney's NY Times article, "Recycling Is

Originally aimed at New York City, the Tierney piece appears to be
fueling an opportunistic feeding frenzy by wasters and resource
extremists who want to cut back 3 R's (waste prevention, reuse and
recycling) programs nationwide and in Canada. Tierney's piece
and recycling-bashing columns based on it has been picked up by
dozens of major newspapers across the U.S. and Canada. Several
papers -- including the Sacramento Bee -- have reprinted the
original 7,500 word article. As Eric Zorn stated in the Chicago
Tribune, the Times piece "constitutes probably the most serious
public relations challenge the recycling movement has faced in a

While the attacks are deadly serious, they may also be a godsend.
It is time we got stirred up and angry. Recycling has been
increasingly dominated by large corporations that want, first and
foremost, to continue high rates of consumption and wasting.
Recycling hype is used to hide the fact that we are consuming more
than ever and that recycling has not significantly reduced wasting
nationwide. There is a real opportunity here to free
recycling from the shackles of *waste management* and lay out a
vision for 3 R's as an ALTERNATIVE to wasting.

If we can be honest enough with ourselves to admit that some of
recycling IS inefficient and ineffective, perhaps we can turn the
question around and ask, Why should recycling have to compete
with massive subsidies for virgin materials? Why is so little being
done to prevent waste and harness the social and local economic
benefits of reuse and recycling? How can resource extremists and
free-market libertarians masquerading as conservatives promote
wasting? We are the true conservatives!

If you agree that the time is ripe for advocating more -- not less --
resource conservation, you may want to subscribe to the GreenYes
email listserve. This is an open (unmoderated) discussion forum
focusing on policies and strategies needed to advance sustainable
resource policies. It is hosted by the Grassroots Recycling
Network, a new coalition of 3 Rs and wasting activists in the U.S.
Come learn more at our next meeting, to be held during the National
Recycling Congress in Pittsburgh, September 16 - 18. Beyond that,
we are working on convening a winter conference for grassroots
3 Rs activists to set a national resource agenda for the next 15 years.

To subscribe to the GreenYes listserve, send the following email
message to: (leaving the subject header blank):
add greenyes
(Post messages by sending them to

For information on the Grassroots Recycling Network, send an
email to: ...
or call: