GreenYes Digest V97 #43

GreenYes Mailing List and Newsgroup (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:00:13 -0500

GreenYes Digest Mon, 3 Mar 97 Volume 97 : Issue 43

Today's Topics:
Editorial - MSW Management
Exemplary Waste Reducers (2 msgs)
GreenYes Digest V97 #41 (2 msgs)
March SD Earth Times online
subsidy study

Send Replies or notes for publication to: <greenyes@UCSD.Edu>
Send subscription requests to: <greenyes-Digest-Request@UCSD.Edu>
Problems you can't solve otherwise to

Date: Sun, 2 Mar 1997 22:27:05, -0500
Subject: Editorial - MSW Management

Following is a Letter to the Editor that I sent to "MSW Management"
in response to Mr. Richard Mauck's Guest Editorial that appeared in
the January/February 1997 issue ("Can We Afford Our Solid Waste
Diversion Goals"). Mauck is deputy director of public works for the
City of Santa Clara, CA.

In his guest editorial that appeared in the January/February 1997
issue ("Can We Afford Our Solid Waste Diversion Goals?"), Richard
Mauck states "It is our duty as solid waste professionals to evaluate,
identify, quantify, and publicize the true and complete cost of
alternative MSW management options. Only then will the public,
policymakers, administrators, private industry, and other solid waste
professionals have the information available to make fiscally
responsible diversion decisions for the community as a whole." I
agree with Mauck on this point, and have worked on modified accrual-
based accounting systems for integrated MSW management (sometimes
referred to as full cost or true cost accounting in the literature)
as a means to bring this type of information forth. I submit that if
Mauck had this information and executed an evaluation of integrated
MSW management as a system, it would necessitate a revision to some
of the premises within his editorial.

Analyzing an MSW management component from the perspective of its
annual cash receipts/outlays in isolation can lead to a false
statement of overall financial position. For instance, in one of
Mauck's examples, when 50% of waste is diverted from a landfill, it
is suggested that the tipping fee will need to be doubled in order to
produce the required annual revenue. However, a 50% waste diversion
will double a landfill's life, thus changing the annual cost
structure and revenue requirements.

Mauck's landfill unit cost observations and his statement that
"future total costs of solid waste management can be calculated by
adding your current costs to the cost of the option you select for
waste diversion" do not address the relationships within the entire
integrated MSW management system. When less waste goes to a landfill,
the associated variable costs are eliminated. Additionally, there
are some costs that fall between the realm of "variable" and "fixed"
costs. These are costs that can be addressed in the medium term. As
certain assets are retired, there can be a shift in investment within
the integrated MSW system, e.g., from the landfill component to the
recycling component. The question is, what are the incremental
system costs when waste diversion programs are added? It is not fair
to answer this question prior to a program's maturity. There are
many communities that have made proper adjustments within their
integrated system and waste diversion programs have actually lowered
their total MSW management cost.

In addressing Mauck's assertion involving the importance of
communicating all costs, it must be understood that the landfill
element of tipping fees typically addresses annual operating costs.
We must also consider the up-front costs such as siting, permitting,
legal preparation, acquisition, engineering design, etc. These are
normally handled through some other instrument, but represent real
costs that need to be communicated. Additionally, there are the
issues surrounding closure and post-closure costs. There are many
who argue that the dollar or so per ton that is being placed into
escrow accounts is significantly insufficient in terms of assurances
that Subtitle D landfills will remain benign in perpetuity (i.e., as
long as they remain a threat). Since there is no data on future
Subtitle D landfill performance, quantifying financial assurance is
difficult. Some experts suggest pre-processing and/or accelerated in
situ processing as means to alleviate this uncertainty, and thus
bring much of the related costs within the time frame of the
landfill's operation.

Mauck airs a concern that is shared by many others in the field.
With the increased complexity of integrated MSW management, a true
and accurate cost accounting system is a prerequisite to effective,
sound management. This especially holds during this time of
transition, where mandated waste diversion programs have been thrust
upon a system that was not originally designed for them. The
mandated "rates and dates" approach to waste diversion throws
economic principles and market realities out the window. The authors
of some recent books and other publications have done an excellent
job at addressing these issues. They suggest policies that are more
sensitive to market relationships, and position government as a
leveraged partner as well as a player that can create appropriate
incentives in the marketplace. Whatever the outcome, significant
waste diversion is important in terms of natural resource
conservation and adding economic value to recovered materials. From
this vantage point, the majority of citizens would say that we can
NOT afford to SACRIFICE our waste diversion goals, and we must create
the most effective policies in dealing with these goals. Mauck shows
that he is sensitive to the importance of policy decisions and
stability when he alludes to the problems that modifications can
create in terms of capital commitments. We must remain cognizant of
all of this during future integrated planning, and guard against
disposal facilities that are designed in such a way that requires an
all out raid on the waste stream in order to recover disposal costs.

Mauck notes the conflict in the link between waste diversion funding
and landfill tipping fees, a sort of "generate more waste to reduce
waste" oxymoron. However, in looking at the complete scope of
diversion programs, there are other sources of funding and revenues,
and the magnitude of the conflict may not be as strong as one might
initially think. In fact, there could be some logic to this
seemingly illogical mechanism. One argument is that as diversion
programs mature, less external funding will be needed to sustain them,
and the decrease in funding that results from less waste forces this
issue. There is evidence from many regions across the country that
challenges Mauck's "upward spiral" tipping fee model in that there is
presently a downward spiral in tipping fees at landfills, but
diversion programs still exist and are growing. This suggests that
there are many other dynamics occurring in the market and within
operations that are either predominant or create adjustments to the
impacts of waste diversion.

David B. Reynolds
Diamond Bar, CA


Date: Sun, 02 Mar 1997 22:21:38 -0500
From: "Marjorie J. Clarke" <>
Subject: Exemplary Waste Reducers

Hi Brenda and Greenyes,

I too am glad to see this topic addressed. As chair of the Manhattan
Citizens' Solid Waste Advisory Board, I'd like to suggest another twist to
the research. I believe that the future of waste prevention and recycling
in New York City is in showing that each of these are cheaper to implement
than collection of garbage and export. As many of you know, our huge
landfill, Fresh Kills is slated to be closed at the end of 2001. As much
as 14,000 tpd of residential and institutional waste goes there now, and
NYC has only a 14% recycling rate. With last year's 38% cutback on the
recycling/prevention programs, research and education was cut to zero and
the expansion to mixed paper in Staten Island and the Bronx was
*reversed*!! The City sends out educational materials with great
reluctance as it costs $3/4 million for one mailing. Now that mixed paper
is being restored to these boroughs, residents will receive one postcard to
say so. The City tells us it now costs about twice as much to collect
recyclables as it does to collect nonrecyclables, and this is why the City
expands recycling to new materials also only with great reluctance. (It
took us two years and court cases to convince the City to expand to mixed
paper and bulk metal.)

With regard to waste prevention, the head of the NYC recycling program just
said in a citizens meeting that the City doesn't want to waste a lot of
money on waste prevention programs at this point since they have no
evidence that the cost of such programs provides any benefit in reducing
the waste stream. The Sanitation dept. had previously thought that
prevention costed $20/ton to implement vs. $200 for collection and
disposal, but now professes to have no idea how much waste prevention costs.

My questions are the following: how much do successful waste prevention,
recycling, and composting programs cost (in the aggregate, per ton, and per
capita) and how much waste is prevented, recycled and composted. How much
is spent on educational measures where prevention and recycling rates are
high (aggregate, per ton, per capita), and what kinds (i.e. approaches,
frequency, etc) of education and enforcement measures are most effective?
If we don't get this kind of information soon, I think Mayor Giuliani might
just export everything. Any and all information to address the issues I've
raised will be greatly appreciated, since the City seems to pay attention
only to proven case studies in large cities.
__ __
//\\ //\\ _ ___ __ o __
// \\ // \\ // \\ // \\ // \\ ||| //__\\
// \\// \\ \\__|| \\___// \\__// ||| \\___
// //
\_// \_//

Marjorie J. Clarke Environmental Scientist and Consultant
New York City Phone & Fax: 212-567-8272


Date: Sun, 2 Mar 1997 23:31:16, -0500
Subject: Exemplary Waste Reducers

Hi Marjorie,

As far as case studies go, there is a good reason why NYC planners
would only be interested in "proven case studies in large cities."
In understanding the complexities of MSW management systems, the
players involved, and the characteristics of any given jurisdicition,
one comes to the conclusion that generic cost data is something that
simply does not exist.

I'm sure that ILSR will be publishing some interesting findings on
best practices that could be applicable to NYC, but if you are
looking for cost relationships and planning tools, I suggest that you
be careful with case studies. If I understand your message correctly,
you would probably be interested in a study that Dr. Lisa Skumatz
and her firm SERA recently performed. SERA looked at hundereds of
communities and statistically identfied the program features that are
most effective at increasing diversion. The results can also be used
to identify program changes that might improve cost effectiveness. A
word of warning: This was only carrried out for residential programs.

NYC is a colossal challenge, but it can't hurt to get in touch with
Lisa and discuss your concerns:

Lisa A. Skumatz
Skumatz Economic Research Associates, Inc.
1511 Third Ave, Suite 1018
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 624-8508, fax: (206)624-2950

Also, if you have or can get your hands on the Sept. 1996 issue of
Resource Recycling, you will find a summary article that Lisa wrote
on this subject.

-Dave Reynolds


Date: Sun, 2 Mar 1997 11:46:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: GreenYes Digest V97 #41

GreenYes Digest V97 #41 as I received it had only messages from Brenda Platt
and John Reindl, although the topics listing indicated seven messages. Was
there some sort of failure on my end in reception or did some messages get
left out?


Date: Sun, 2 Mar 1997 21:05:01 -0600
From: ghj <>
Subject: GreenYes Digest V97 #41

------ =_NextPart_000_01BC274D.65603460
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

is there a way to read these in full- like an archives web page?
Gretchen Gordon

------ =_NextPart_000_01BC274D.65603460
Content-Type: application/ms-tnef
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64


------ =_NextPart_000_01BC274D.65603460--


Date: Sun, 2 Mar 1997 13:29:34 -0700
From: (Carolyn Chase)
Subject: March SD Earth Times online

The March '97 issues of the San Diego Earth Times is now available at

Table of Contents

water + earth = life, special for world water day
A water pollution oddysey 4
If you thought clean water was a priority in California, think again.

Student to student watershed education 7
Urban students learn about the natural world supporting them and invite you to
an open house for their environmental learning lab.

Think Globally, Act Locally: World Water Day is March 22 8
Local activities include an international Oceans conference and a
commuunity gathering to address San Diego's coastal pollution.

Support the Beach Safety Bill 9
Establishing testing and reporting standards is the first step.

Living Environment
Blueprint for the new green home 10
Part of our series on creating an environmentally friendly home.

Health and Diet
Becoming your own healer 12
"Know Thyself" is a good first step to getting at the source of healing.

In the (Vegetarian) Zone .14
Michael Oshman takes you with him on a satisfying trip for the taste buds
and the soul.

Lesson of the Easter Bunny 15
Rabbits make great pets - if you're ready to take a little responsibility

Observations from the Edge
Robert Nanninga, our resident eco-radical is on hiatus in Bath England.
Watch for his return from the land of Stonehenge.

Observations from the Soul
The Beast of Technology 18
Minister Masada brings a new infusion of spirit to the sacred cause of
protecting the earth against equal opportunity destroyers.

San Diego Earth Day
St. Patrick's Earth Day benefit on March 17 20
Without a doubt, the greenest St. Pat's party in town
to benefit SDED and AIDS foundation

Spring into Earth Day 20
March in like a lion at 3 Volunteer meetings this month

March Organic Gardening Tips 2
March calendar of Earth-Friendly Events 16
Earth Times Marketplace 17
Classified Ads 19
New Think: the cartoon "2001 A Space Oddity" 20

Cover: Photo courtesy Johnny Quirin, professional photographer, (619) 296-6943
Dedicated to the memory of Margery J. Klein 8/13/20 - 1/28/97

Published by Earth Media Inc.
Publisher: Chris Klein
Editor: Carolyn Chase

The printed version of SDET is distributed at more than 450 locations
around San Diego County. If you like this paper, look for it and support
our advertisers.
Send subscriptions or contributions to: P.O. Box 99179 San Diego CA 92169

Please send questions or comments to:


Date: Sun, 2 Mar 1997 15:56:23 -0500
From: (Howie Breinan)
Subject: subsidy study

The following was published on subsidies and recycling:

"Federal energy subsidies and recycling: A case study" by Douglas Koplow
in RESOURCE RECYCLING, Nov. 1994 pp.26-31

Howie Breinan


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #43