Zero Garbage Message
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:23:53 -0500

[Forwarded by Bill Sheehan. This is a first draft towards the Total Recycling/
Zero Waste By 2010 message. PLEASE respond to all on the steering committee
with your thoughts. It is important that we get this most novel and radical of
the messages right! --Bill]

FROM: Dave Williamson
TO: Total Recycling Campaign Steering Committee


1. ORGANIZE AROUND EACH LANDFILL. Landfills are probably the one area of
commonality that any endeavor aiming for total diversion has. Total diversion
is such a big concept in that it will involve issues well outside of the
solid waste ghetto that some nexus is needed. Our goal is to close the
landfills. Lets get a list of them and organize "chapters" around each one.

2. NEED TO GET SPECIFIC. The discard supply must be itemized. Economic
activity must be identified. Various forms of activity contribute discreet,
identifiable portions to the supply of discards going to each landfill. Name
names. Work on this industry by industry, product by product.

3.THE INFORMATION IS OUT THERE. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. How to
organize this mass of data? This has been an concern of mine at NCRA.
Ihave been working on an issue concerning telephone directories made out of
pulp from old growth forests. Many versions of reality. There are many
solutions as well. For total diversion, or as I term it zero garbage,
information compiling is a key task -- perhaps beyond the scope of a purely
volunteer effort. Here is an idea:

We can begin with the twelve categories that Dan Knapp has developed:
Paper, plant debris, ceramic soil, wood, metal, glass, plastic, chemical,
textiles,reusable goods, putrescibles.

We can then cross the twelve categories with some standard zoning
categories so as to identify various activities that are waste sources:
Industrial (light and heavy), Commercial, Business district and
Institutional, Residential, Agricultural, Construction and Demolition.

Finally we can identify ways and means to achieve zero garbage from each
category as applied to each activity. For example paper from a residential
source: percentage and composition, virgin material extraction,
manufacturer responsibility, tax code and subsidy structure, finance and
bonding ability, appropriate jurisdictions, legislation, consumer/stock
holder action, sustainable jobs, sustainable markets. Each of these ways and
means can be a before and after sustainability snapshot.

Envision a cube where the Twelve Categories are the Y COORDINATE and the
Activities are the Z COORDINATE and the Ways and Means are the X COORDINATE and
you have what I believe is a handy filing system that
breaks an enormous problem into manageable chunks. One of these can be
built around each landfill. We can also see the relationships between
categories in differentactivities.


5. KEEP IT LOOSELY ORGANIZED. I believe the keeping costs down will be
advantageous in the long run. Money usually has an agenda attached to it.
We should be identifying likeminded people in existing organizations and
linking up with them that way. We can focus on membership organizations and
NGO's. (This reflects my own perspective - A government official or someone
in academia will probably have their own choices for recruitment.)

6. LIAISON WITH OTHER GROUPS. Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, are two
that I have been working with. One important group of people we need on
our side is labor. The timber industry has laid off many more people than the
environmental movement, yet environmentalists get the blame. CEED in Arcata is
doing some work in this area.

7. GO UPSTREAM. We need to leave the solid waste mindset and solid waste
facility ghetto. I am in the Reuse and Recycling business. The solid waste
business is competing with me and trying to turn my feedstock into garbage.
These industries are incompatible and always will be. One will eventually
supplant the other. I am saying we can lose. We need to have a focus on
financial concerns, bonding abilities, tax codes and subsidies. Our economy
is getting very centralized and structured for waste. I suspect a sustainable
economy will be decentralized, without subsidy-driven market perversions,
and consist of many more smaller businesses. Reuse is one area of local economic