Re[2]: Source Reduction and Waste
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:23:42 -0500

[Forwarded from Coy Smith, Materials for the Future Foundation]

The regulatory issues around "waste", discards", "rubbish", etc... or
whatever you want to call it, is what is causing the problem. The
government's role is to regulate things that may impact the "health, welfare
or saftey of the community." By allowing the images of used products to be
defined in any way, shape or form that projects the image of waste is to
open the door for regulatory control in the name of saftey for the public

These used products are valuable materials, potential new raw materials,
feedstock (as Amy says), or any other languge that implies it's potential
use in manufacturing or other applications. Putting a positive spin on the
materials, both in terms of defination and potential positive economic and
environemtnal issues could allieviate the concerns on some of the health
and saftey issues.

For example, no one complains about a truck that is full of new unsold
paints and pesticides that is being delivered to the local Walmart (in terms
of its potential saftey issues). But try to site a haz waste collection
site next to the Walmart to collect the leftovers and all hell breaks lose.
The same mindset exists within our industry as well, because we have set
up our recycling programs as a "way to help with the solid waste problem
and the landfill problem". Therefore, we define them as solid waste, by
saying we had a way to deal with the waste that was better than

We should have been saying ( and I know some of us were) that we have a
huge potential supply of valuable materials available for consumption by
the local manufacturing economy. Good clean materials, that already have
lots of value because the costs of extraction, transport etc. have
already been paid for by the first user!

[Forwarded from Steve Suess]

In response to Dave Wade - my current favorite expression is :

"One man's Trash is another man's Gold."

I am amazed at how many people all over this country have become
engaged in this conversation over the definition of the word "WASTE"! No one
has yet to remind us of what the dictonary says, so here goes:

Waste - desolate; empty; loss or decrease by use, wear, or decay;
rejected, damaged, defective, or superfluous material; scrap; refuse from
places of habitation... (Websters)

Seems to me that the dictionary, by using words such as desolate and
empty, implys something that is pretty bleak and of essentially no value!

I believe that the general public knows exactly what Garbage and Trash
is! Heck even I refer to my factory as "being full of garbage!" when I talk
about my raw material supply. And everyone knows that trash and garbage may
well have value to someone else, hence the common expression at the start of
this note.

So where does "Waste" come into this picture?

It is my opinion that, somehow, something got screwed up in the
"legislative process." For some reason the words trash and garbage were not
suitable and the word "Waste" entered the picture! To me, the word Waste has
a different and clearly lower value definition than does Trash! Somehow this
became the new word to describe the trash industry and now we want to screw
things up even more by assigning new legal definitions to the word waste that
for example forces recyclers to be counted as trash haulers.

It seems to me that our language is getting trashed (something even
Newsweek writes about) and in my opinion: the government has much to do with
this - I do have fond memories of how the pentagon described things during
the Viet Nam War, so I imagine this tradition is not at all new one!

Now there is a suggestion to redefine trash as "discards" in the hope of
alliviating the mess surrounding the usage of the word waste - and again
we'll need get all 250,000,000 of us Americans to change the way we use our

Hey - you all are confusing us common folk - STOP IT!

It seems to me simpler to get you all, the few highly educated "experts"
in this field to change your word usage to respect and follow that of the
rest of us and maybe even, if we are really lucky, you'll all recognize the
fact that not all trash is waste!

And this gets back to my original question: Why are they called the
"Waste Board"? Waste does not imply recycling or anything related! If they
are the Waste Board they should respect that word and stay way from my gold
mine which is anything but desolate, empty, decayed, or superfluous! You may
consider it waste, but I certainly don't, so stop foisting your illogical
definitions on me and the rest of us English Speaking people! Remember:
Marie Antoinette got her head choppped off for such semantics!