Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:52:56 -0500

>From Sierra Club SC Action #74 4/21/97

REDUCE, REFUSE, to RECYCLE: Republican Revolution Trashes Recycling Program

We learned from the 104th Congress that the Republican leadership
sought to throw away some of America's environmental protection laws. What
we didn't know was that while they were trying to trash to Clean Water Act,
they also were scrapping the Congressional recycling program.
In 1992, the House initiated a recycling program for all Member
offices. But under the new Majority, the recycling program has not been
staffed for nearly two years. Apparently, without the staff and subsequent
shortfall of recycling equipment, recycling on the Hill has been left in
chaos. It is reported that even offices that try to recycle indicated that
their separated paper, cans and bottles often get tossed back into a common
trash bin and contaminated by other waste.
Under Republican leadership: aluminum can recycling has fallen 74%
(from 21,520 pounds in `94 to 5,650 pounds in `96); glass bottle recycling
has fallen 83% (from 219,520 pounds in `94 to 36,300 pounds in `96); and
paper separation efforts are in disarray (a paper vendor recently complained
that congressional paper bales sent in for recycling are contaminated with
"plastic bottles, tin cans and glass along with plastic bags, luncheon meats
and other garbage that is completely unacceptable").
Due to contamination of congressional waste paper, the House received
only *39 cents per ton* for its paper waste in 1996, according to the General
Services Administration. In contrast, the Energy Department receives *$42 per
ton* and Housing and Urban Development receives *$60 per ton*.