Agenda for Conference Call Friday
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:24:45 -0500


DATE April 3, 1996
TO Rick Anthony, Tim Brownell, Marty Forman, Susan Hubbard, Dave
Kirkpatrick, Dan Knapp, Brenda Platt, Neil Seldman, Mary TKash
FROM Bill Sheehan Tel 770-995-9606 Fax 770-995-6603 Home 706-208-

RE Grassroots Recycling Agenda Steering Committee Conference Call
Friday, April 5th, at 12 Noon EST = 11 AM CST = 9 AM PST

To connect with the call, dial 1-800-569-0883 and ask for the CRRA call.
CRRA has graciously offered to pay for the call.

The agenda for the call: (Action Recommendations are only suggestions!)
1. CRRA letter writing campaign and listserve update (see attached from
Action Recommendation: Get other SROs to adopt (how?).

2. What do we want to achieve and how to best achieve it? What vision
do we agree on? Are the Three Simple Messages IT? (Make Zero Waste/
Total Recycling; Make Jobs Not Waste; Tax Bads Not Goods/Tax Waste Not
Work) Do we need an organization separate from NRC?
Action Recommendation: Provisionally adopt three messages. Create
task groups to flesh out and develop into one-page statements and/or
platforms by ______.

3. Conference: Do we want to hold a scaled-down meeting this summer
(see below)? If so, who do we invite (see attached preliminary contact
Action Recommendation: Put off until we have a cogent campaign plan
to meet about. Meet at NRC Congress on Sunday.

4. Funding: How can we raise money? What do we need money for?
Action Recommendation: Put off until we have a cogent campaign plan
to raise money for.

Heres a few thoughts to get the ball rolling:

* Our original aims were to link up grassroots recycling activists to
create an advocacy group to push recycling as local economic development
and resource conservation; to reach out and tap in to the general
public's support for recycling with 2 or 3 simple messages; and to raise
recycling and materials sustainability as an issue in the fall

* The meeting is not going be May 1st as proposed to the Turner
Foundation. May was a target date for Turner Foundation when we thought
we could get interim funding, outside their normal cycle, but Turner
will not consider the proposal until their July meeting. Summertime
would be the earliest we could hold a meeting now. Neil Seldman has
suggested holding a low-rent, smaller confab, of perhaps 20 or so
people, held in a city where participants can stay with local folks, and
using Turner $$, if they come, to fund whatever follow-up is agreed
upon. We would have to rely largely on people finding funds for their
own travel.

* An alternative suggested by Dan Knapp is to create work groups based
on what we agree on (e.g., the Three Simple Messages), and develop
platforms, materials and action plans based on these. Communication
could be done by fax, email and post.

ATTACHMENT 1 [Email alert from Steve Suess]

Just Say YES to Environmental Protection

We would like for YOU to join us in a campaign to write letters on E-Day
(towards the end of October 1996) to President Clinton and/or Sen. Bob Dole
and anyone else in local, state or federal government that you wish to. In
addition we would like for you to get at least ten friends of yours (perhaps
people who do not have e-mail) to also write such letters.

These letters are to begin with the simple sentence:

"Just say YES, to environmental protection"

Your letters can then continue with whatever specific environmental
message you wish to add. Whatever your particular issue is, be it, air
pollution, clear cut logging of public forests, top soil erosion, recycling,
or problem with a local park, feel free to write about it.

The bottom line is: We are looking to generate as many (hand written
and personal) letters as possible, in the weeks before the upcoming
presidential election, so as to make sure that Environmental Protection
becomes an important issue for the next President and Congress, and to make
sure that this attack on what Environmental Protection already exists is

If you would like to join our campaign, or imply stay in touch, we have
a LISTSERVE you can sign up on. If you wish to sign up simply send an e-mail
message to: and type the following in the message line (put
nothing in the subject line) "ADD GREENYES".

We will be sending out updates on our program on a regular basis, and
hope to accumulate a huge number of contributors so that when we launch the
letter writing part of the campaign we will be able to get absolutely huge
mountains of letters written in a very short period of time.

In addition we should have a Web Page on line in the next two weeks and
will let you know the address as soon as we have this.

Please help us to send the government a messege that they simply cannot
avoid hearing!

Feel free to pass this message on. The more people who get this, the
more will know about our campaign, the more will talk about it, the more will
participate, the more ltters we will generate, and the more Government will
listen to us.

Steve Suess, Santa Cruz CA

ATTACHMENT #2 [Thoughts on 3 messages by Bill Sheehan 4/3/96]

Messages for a Grassroots Recycling Campaign

We have proposed three simple messages for a grassroots recycling
campaign. Here are some personal thoughts about each.

1. Produce Zero Waste/ Total Recycling. I believe this message has
the most potential to present an inspiring vision and define a
grassroots campaign and movement. The other two are essential to
getting there, but by themselves don't represent as novel a vision. The
key will be demonstrating and convincing that the goal is achievable.

Let's be explicit: we mean phase out -- and eventually ban -- landfills
and incinerators. This grabs people's attention that waste is not
inevitable. Incineration has been effectively dealt with by grassroots
activists. Now we need to expose the best kept secret in the land: that
Subtitle D (dry tomb) landfill technology does not solve, but only
transfers, most environmental liabilities to future generations. Dr. G.
Fred Lee (916-753-9630) is a gold mine of information on this subject.

We must confront waste. Dan Knapp is right on the money in his efforts
to linguistically extract recycling from the field of waste management.
We must change the paradigm that recycling is a subset of waste
management to the paradigm that waste management is a subset of -- and
failure of -- used resource or discard management. Or more simply,
wasting competes with recycling. This simple idea is not at all self-
evident to the vast majority of Americans.

We should use the term wasting as the alternative to recycling and
source reduction. Waste has been legitimized and solid waste management
has connotations of a noble pursuit, but wasting retains the original
negative connotations. Waste has already happened and must be removed,
but wasting is active and admits the possibility of an alternative. We
need to make people understand that waste is created by choice, by
mixing used resources (as Dan has eloquently pointed out).

In a sense we are fighting a war of words. It is more than semantics,
however; changing words and the perceptions they embody is prerequisite
to changing society. I know these ideas are not new to you, but I do
not know the limits of our agreement, and I do know that general society
is not at all on this wavelength.

2. Make Jobs Not Waste. This is a great message, and super
materials have been generated by ILSR, CAW, Dave Kirkpatrick and others.

We needn't abandon recycling's civic role, however. The larger context
of our struggle is the struggle for legitimacy of social versus economic
values. After decades of ascendancy of economics as the sole metric,
values are starting to regain legitimacy as a basis for public policy.
We have some potential allies among the social conservatives of the
radical right, now rebelling against their free-market libertarian
brethren. An evangelical group recently came out in support of the
Endangered Species Act (it protects God's creations). So we should not
sell short the appeal of recycling as resource conservation (the true
conservative philosophy) and its potential for rebuilding community.

3. Tax Bads Not Goods/ Tax Waste Not Work. I think we would do
better to focus on the waste part of this juggernaut; the connections to
other bads (pollution and resource depletion) will be apparent and it is
too big an issue for recyclers to take on and win.

Should we support tax shifting, or simply taxing waste to support
recycling (like the $6 per ton fee in Alameda County CA, or the former
$50 per ton in Ontario)? Tax shifting gets at the bigger issue of
virgin material subsidies. If we push tax shifting, we should be aware
of the distinction between taxing pollution and resource depletion
(often called green taxes), and SHIFTING taxes from goods (like labor)
to pollution and resource depletion. Not only can shifting be revenue
neutral, but taxing bads alone tends to be regressive because poorer
people spend a higher proportion of their incomes on the number one bad,
fossil fuels. Shifting can be designed to address this problem.
Actually, most of the tax shifting (as well as green tax) debate in this
county and elsewhere has concerned energy rather than material. A new
consortium of environmental groups in DC is setting up shop (still
unnamed) to conduct a tax shifting campaign; it is headed by Dawn
Erlandson, formerly of Friends of the Earth (202-234-9665).

When talking about subsidies to virgin materials, it is legitimate to
invoke the fact that dry tomb landfills are being subsidized by future
generations that will have to deal with them when they inevitably fail.
This might help justify the idea of taxing wasting (as in landfill
surcharges), which is as important as ending subsidies to virgin
materials in leveling the playing field for a secondary materials