Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:22:43 -0500

TO Grassroots Recycling Network Steering Committee
FROM Bill Sheehan --6/27/96

RE Follow-up to Newport Beach Meeting

ALERT Heads up for a conference call this Tuesday (July 2nd) at 12
noon EST (9 AM PST). Details forthcoming. AGENDA: Review and
extend action plan for next 10 weeks (until Pittsburgh meeting), plus
deal with issues raised below.



The first face-to-face meeting of the Grassroots Recycling Network was
a great success! We have tapped into some powerful issues.

The major points I drew from our meetings are: (1) we still need to
sharpen our message FOCUS; (2) we need RESOURCES to develop a
long-term campaign; and (3) we need to take ACTIONS this summer
and fall to get the resources to develop an effective campaign.

A procedural issue we have to deal with immediately is creating a
process to ensure quality control and who speaks for the
Network. In particular, I was not comfortable with the press release
that was broadcast to, among others,
and the recycle@envirolink listserve (full of industry spies). I
understood it was to be worked over after the conference before being
broadly distributed. Rushing out a rambling and unpolished release
on a topic like zero waste is not going to make people take us
seriously, and we will loose good activists.

I suggest that we run external communications by the full steering
committee (like Gary Liss did with his letter to NRC for the May board
meeting), or by a committee set up for the purpose. Also, if we are
going to use an unmoderated listserve like the greenyes, we need a
protocol for getting sign-off and distinguishing items from the

Regarding the FOCUS issue, we seemed to agree that Zero Waste is the
most compelling and novel message/issue. (We changed it from Total
Recycling to include source reduction.) There was some discussion of
promoting the subsidy message (now: End Welfare for Wasting) in the
near term because subsidies in general seem to be hot. My feeling, on
reflection, is that we should focus on one message -- Zero Waste --
rather than three, with the other two as subsidiary messages. Zero
Waste is radical, most unique to us, speaks directly to both recycling
and wasting activists, and is even a hot topic in industry and
sustainability circles.

Ending subsidies for wasting is part of how you get there; jobs are one
of the benefits. I agree with Mary (I think it was) who emphasized that
messages need to be tailored to different audiences. So in pitching
Zero Waste to environmentalists I would stress that it saves
wilderness; to city folks and environmental justice advocates it means
jobs and local economic self-reliance; to church folks it means
stewardship; to wasting activists (facility fighters) it means phasing out
landfills and incinerators and substituting discard malls. Paul Hawken
and the industrial ecology/sustainable development movement is
already selling zero waste to industry on still different grounds.

Think about this because it may affect how we write up the message
position papers.

Concerning the subsidy message, Jeanne Davies makes some excellent
points in another message that I'll upload with this one. Apparently
the Four Horsemen attempt to extend the subsidy concept to
manufacturer responsibility, disposal etc. is too abstract. When you
say 'subsidy' perhaps people automatically think mining and forestry
type subsidies.


STEERING COMMITTEE I propose adding two folks. Lance King,
because he has lots of experience working with campaigns and
working the media and is fired up about the Zero Waste campaign; he
worked with Californians Against Waste for 5 years and worked on
the Take the Wrap Campaign. The other is Ruth Abbe, president of the
Northern California Recycling Association, because she is actively
working on Zero Waste plans and is reputedly an ace campaign


1. POLICY STATEMENTS We agreed to try to get policy statements
together by August 1st. I agreed to do a final edit but will need a lot of
help. We didn't even talk about the Zero Waste piece in Newport
Beach and that is the tough one. Rick wants something asap, but I
think a shorter overview statement can suffice.

2. Pittsburgh NRC meeting: Mary Tkach will scope out place and time
we can meet, hopefully in conjunction with the Nonprofit Recycling
Council (what day is that, Mary?). We'll probably want a steering
committee meeting plus some sort of cabal to draw in recyclers
interested in advocacy.

3. Fundraising: We agreed to aim for a winter agenda-setting
conference for activists, and to try to get funding for 1 - 2 staff next
year. Neil and I will redraft the Turner proposal (which will also be
resubmitted in October) with the help of anyone we can sucker into the


1. Press Release regarding EPA's announcement of new recycling goal.
Neil and Lynn have already worked on this. Lance has said he will
rework it and knows the media people to send it to. I think we should
expose the fact that the U.S. is not making a big dent in wasting,
because most people think that 25 percent recycling means we are
landfilling that much less. I would like the GRN to demand that EPA
focus on wasting reporting and goals, rather than mushy recycling
data. We have learned that recycling goals do not necessarily mean
less landfilling, but less landfilling (and zero waste) will translate into
more recycling.

2. Reaching out to activists: Each of us needs to reach out to our
constituencies when we get the appropriate materials together. Lynn
did a first draft of one version of a letter to activists. The letter explains
the Zero Waste Campaign and requests an action like letter writing, or
please put this article in your newsletter. We also need to request
activists to write letters of support for the campaign, and send us any
clippings or other evidence that can be used to support our fund
raising efforts. We need a task force to make this happen.

3. Damage Control: Recycling and recycling goals are under serious attack in
several key states. If there is a tidal wave against 50 percent then talk of
100 percent will be simply academic. We could get credibility and draw in
activists by taking a stand and working to defeat anti-recycling legislation.
Any ideas on what we might do in this area?

4. Party platforms: Rick Anthony is going to try to get 'our issues'
raised at the summer party conventions and is patiently awaiting some
verbiage he can use. He has threatened to write something himself if
we don't get on the ball....

5. Pressing NRC to advocate: Several of us pressed Edgar Miller
about what he or NRC was going to do to push the newly adopted
NRC advocacy messages during the presidential elections. He
responded by saying, basically nothing. This seems to me to make a
mockery of the whole process of the past several years of getting input
from SROs. I think at least a formal letter is called for and that the
membership should be appraised of the situation. Ideas?

6. What other actions should we be considering?

Talk to y'all Tuesday. Thanks Mary for being an excellent facilitator
oat Sunday's meeting -- you can do it anytime! And thanks Brenda for
the copious minutes.