GreenYes Digest V97 #39

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:00:26 -0500

GreenYes Digest Thu, 27 Feb 97 Volume 97 : Issue 39

Today's Topics:
Cato Report
Critique of "Why Do We Recycle," by Frank Ackerman
Fwd: Jerry Taylor's Po-Ed
Landfill/Watershed Ordinance
provoking junk mail
Something different, something eloquent, something important
Statistics on Aluminum Recycling Rates
WA State Future of Recycling Study

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Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 11:18:17 -0500 (EST)
From: (Michele Raymond)
Subject: Cato Report


I would be interested in a guest editorial from someone on corporate welfare
for STATE RECYCLING LAWS UPDATE -- though I am not sure how it relates to
the campaign contributions on the packaging initiative -- is there a
breakdown from Oregon available yet? If so, I would like to see it. I am
working on the year-End Edition.

I thought it interesting that the biggest cont on the Mass campaign was from
what is now AF&PA!! You would have thought it would be resin companies.

Also I am seeking industry feedback on PVC in medical packaging and products
for an article.

Feedback invited!

Good luck

Michele Raymond
Ph 301/345-4237
Fax 345-4768


Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 09:09:07 -0600
From: RecycleWorlds <>
Subject: Critique of "Why Do We Recycle," by Frank Ackerman

TO GreenYes List
FROM Bill Sheenhan and Peter Anderson


Frank Ackerman's new book "Why Do We Recycle?" contains many=20
interesting ideas from an economics perspective. His general=20
conclusion is that the economic reasons for recycling are not=20
terribly compelling and that advocates should look elsewhere to=20
justify recycling. =20

We believe that his analysis is based on flawed assumptions in at=20
least two areas: externalized landfill costs and solid waste collection=20
savings. It is important for recyclers to be aware of these=20
shortcomings because his book will likely be used as a weapon by=20
the John Tierney's of this world who will say, "See, even recycling=20
advocates concede recycling's economics stink!"

That is not to say that we necessarily should accept an economic=20
test for our programs when so many interrelated issues continue to=20
be uninternalized and, thus, uncounted on a ledger.

However, when facts increasingly support an economic case, it is=20
suicidal in this political climate to ignore our economic strengths=20
out of ignorance. =20

In summary, it will be necessary to stop landfilling organic waste=20
which decomposes and eventually leaks in order to protect=20
groundwater. This will add at least $35 a ton to $100 a ton to=20
disposal costs, compared to an average of about $36/ton today. =20
In addition, programs which divert 20-30% of their waste stream=20
can eliminate enough trash trucks to offset the cost of their=20
recycle fleet.


Ackerman shortchanges recycling's economics is by claiming,=20
without support, that current EPA regulations for new landfills=20
virtually eliminate environmental liabilities. If landfills were=20
required to be designed to prevent environmental damage, costs=20
would increase substantially, and the comparative economics of=20
recycling would improve commensurately.

Subtitle D landfill regulations will result in postponement -- not=20
prevention -- of groundwater contamination, unless the structure is=20
maintained in perpetuity. The delay could be for dozens and in=20
some cases perhaps even a hundred years or more. But when=20
contamination is inevitably detected, the cost of remediating=20
groundwater -- if possible at any cost -- will probably be even=20
greater than at unlined landfills because contamination may spread=20
farther before detection from a lined than from an unlined landfill.

EPA has written, "Once the unit is closed, the bottom layer of the=20
landfill will deteriorate over time and, consequently, will not=20
prevent leachate transport out of the unit."

Dr. G. Fred Lee is a groundwater hydrologist who has studied=20
landfill design extensively. He writes: '"Ackerman ... asserts that=20
today's new Subtitle D landfills have far smaller releases than=20
classical sanitary landfills. While this may be true while landfills=20
are new, in time, as the liner system deteriorates, that will not be=20
the case.

"The second fundamental flaw with Ackerman's review is his focus=20
on the limited number of regulated "hazardous" chemicals, rather=20
than all chemicals in today's municipal solid waste stream that are=20
adverse to groundwater quality. To a nearby property owner=20
whose well is polluted by leachate and has to abandon the well, it=20
really doesn't matter whether the chemicals that cause well=20
abandonment are on a US EPA hazardous chemical list or not. =20
The US EPA's list of chemicals that are regulated, about 100 to=20
200 depending on who is doing the study, is an infinitesimally=20
small part of the 75,000 chemicals that are in use today, many=20
of which could be in a municipal solid waste stream.

"A third flaw with Ackerman's review is that he is only considering=20
public health aspects of leachate emissions from landfills for the=20
regulated chemicals. A proper economic analysis of impacts of=20
landfilling would consider resource loss due to chemicals that=20
destroy aesthetic quality of water, including taste and odor. It is=20
well known that municipal landfill leachate damages groundwater=20
so that it can never again be used for domestic water supply=20

Dr. Lee estimates that the cost of perpetual maintenance and=20
periodic replacement of the cap could add as much as $100 per ton=20
to the cost of disposal. Actively managing wastes in a 'wet cell' to=20
stabilize the organic fraction would add around $35 per ton. In=20
sum, the importance to recycling of properly charging landfills for=20
the costs of preventing groundwater contamination is significant.


Ackerman concludes that diverting recyclables and yard trimmings=20
from the solid waste stream will not result in savings in solid waste=20
collection. =20

This is based upon two erroneous assumptions. Once they are=20
corrected, it can be understood that in most cases, once diversion=20
exceeds somewhere between 20% and 30%, very substantial=20
reductions in trash collection routes are possible with net savings in=20
an integrated system that can approach 30%.

First, on p. 108, he states "When the truck is full, usually once at the =

end of the day, it is driven to the disposal site..." In fact, prior to =
onset of recycling and yard trimming diversion almost every city=20
has had their packers tip twice each day except in some cases on=20
slack weeks during winter (with the only real variation in the extent=20
the truck was full at its second dump).=20

This second dump is critical to understand because it builds a step=20
function into the system economics (a step function is one in which=20
no gain is achieved until the change in inputs exceeds some=20
threshold amount). Computer modeling and operating experience=20
indicates that once the 20%-30% threshold for diversion is reached,=20
it becomes possible to eliminate that second trip to the dump. With=20
waste collection systems having only 4=1D12-5=1D12 effective hours on=20
route a day (before accounting for dumping), and each trip off-
loading consuming an hour in the typical case, the magnitude of=20
this step-function can be appreciated

Because of this, route reductions for solid waste collection can=20
exceed 30% in successful recycling programs in most programs,=20
both in computer modeling and actual experience. If a city=20
integrates its solid waste with its recycling operations, this can and=20
has completely offset the cost of the additional separate fleet to=20
collect recyclables -- before accounting for avoided tipping fees and,=20
in good markets, net recycling revenues.

Certainly, it is important to note that there are many institutional=20
forces unrelated to recycling that, in a given case, impede=20
realization of this potential. Among them are civil service, unions,=20
lack of competition, and contract structures that preclude=20
integration by separating the unit which handles waste from the=20
one which handles recyclables. However, none of these=20
impediments have anything to do with recycling. If politics or=20
whatever determines that recycling should subsidize needless=20
packer trucks for trash, that's a local decision, but not one that=20
recycling should be held accountable for when its inherent=20
economics are weighed.

Second, on page 109, while improperly ignoring these major route=20
savings, he further states that the only advantage that diversion=20
provides to trash collection is faster pickup rates that result in=20
finishing 30 minutes earlier. But, he then states that this would have=20
no effect on costs because that small a gain is too small to realize=20
savings. To the contrary, even if that were the only savings -- and it=20
is not -- in the case in which the truck dispatcher controls 10-20=20
trucks, and is profit oriented, he or she would redraw the routes to=20
make them larger and eliminate the need for one truck. Similarly, in=20
the case where a private hauler serves many small communities,=20
the truck can be shifted out to the next town earlier.

Moreover, all of this is before giving any consideration to new=20
trends that have begun in the last year in which the combination of=20
calibrated "lite" compaction and the addition of residential mixed=20
paper will dramatically improve recycle collection efficiency by=20
both eliminating the recycle fleets second trip off-route to unload=20
and by increasing the payload per trip.

Instead of an understanding of collection systems, on page 110=20
Ackerman relies on statistical studies done in 1993 using data four,=20
five or more years old by Barbara Stevens to support his claim that=20
recycling provides no collection savings. However, that kind of=20
undifferentiated aggregated data cannot be responsibly used to=20
substitute for an understanding of how systems work.

For one thing, data that old studied the first generation, inefficient=20
recycling systems that included, for example, two-man recycle=20
trucks before right side, low entry vehicles, and curbside sorts=20
before MRF's dramatically improved processing efficiency.

For another, statistical regression analysis of large amounts of data=20
from hundreds of programs with uncompatable accounting systems=20
does not produce usable results for these kinds of questions. The=20
statistical way that this can be seen is the very large standard=20
deviations in the study's regression equations (which means that=20
there is a extreme degree of uncertainty attached to the numbers). =20
This can be more easily seen in some of the study's results, such as=20
the one that it costs more to operate a refuse fleet after diverting=20
22% of its load. That "anomaly" is telling us something: namely=20
that the study is worthless for assessing overall recycling costs or as=20
a substitute to understanding real world conditions on the route=20
today. =20


Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 07:00:03 -0700
From: (Carolyn Chase)
Subject: Fwd: Jerry Taylor's Po-Ed

>Corporations have gained enormous, undue influence over government, that
>government is now largely serving the needs of corporations at the
>expense of ordinary people. In a 1995 report, the Cato Institute noted
>that "federal aid to corporations" is "a major contributor to the budget
++ it's even worse than this.... when you start to actually participate as
a citizen in the governmental processes and get to know elected officials
generally you discover that their philosophy entails that what we label
corporate subsidies - as far as they are concerned _is a main purpose of

This is what they were elected to do - to facilitate increased business
opportunities because this is how you create jobs and increase the
economy....government is supposed to be a partner to business and private
enterprise...they believe that by supporting businesses they are serving
the people. To them, this is not pork, or welfare, or federal aid really,
this is government serving its people by 'engaging constructively in the
capitalist system.' The economic and political benefits far outweigh the
consequences of the unequal and unfair impacts on other people and
especially on the environment. This is how the government invests for the
good of the country. People in the political process are so busy working
for money that they have no time to work for the "people."

Economics as the prime value for decision-making prevails over all other
considerations - even in the arguments made by Cato. It would be a new
world if you could eliminate paid lobbying - if all lobbyists were required
to be volunteers. Limits on campaign spending will not make a dent as long
as paid communications and legal experts are able to lobby the way they do.

What I wonder is will we ever have free speech in this country? When the
wealthy are able to hire cadres of highly-paid lobbyists to camp in seats
of power around the country and the Supreme Court has declared that there
should be no limits on this or financial contributions - since these all
forms of free speech - then speech is no longer really free - but a
function of how much speech you can buy.

but I digress...

Carolyn Chase, Editor, San Diego Earth Times,
Please visit ;-)

Tel: (619)272-7423 (SDET)
FAX: (619)272-2933
P.O. Box 9827 / San Diego CA 92169

'You've got to conserve what you can't replace'
Please send contributions to: C-QUAL
Californians for Quality of Life, Citizen's Political Action Committee
P.O. Box 9212, San Diego CA 92169

"Every American citizen is involved in politics; it's just that some people
do politics, some have it done to them."


Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 08:40:11 -0800 (PST)
From: "David A. Kirkpatrick" <>
Subject: Landfill/Watershed Ordinance

GRN members -

Attached is a draft report of our local EAB regarding siting
a new landfill in a watershed protected area. I would appreciate
any comments or suggestions for our final report -- particularly
on remediation measures for an existing unlined landfill to be
closed in the same neighborhood.

David Kirkpatrick

Durham City-County
Environmental Affairs Board

Recommendations to the Durham City Council
and the Durham County Board of Commissioners
Regarding the Proposed Amendment to the Watershed Protection Provisions
of the Durham Zoning Ordinance to Allow a Public Operated Landfill

February 1997

The Durham City/County Environmental Affairs Board opposes amending Durham's
watershed ordinance to allow a publicly operated Subtitle-D lined sanitary
landfill in the watershed protected area of F/J B district. The EAB is
concerned that the watershed ordinance remain as strong as possible in order
to protect water quality for the region. Many amendments to the ordinance
over time can gradually weaken an ordinance that already incorporated
several environmental compromises in its inception. In particular, it will
be more difficult for Durham's local governments to resist requests from
developers or industries to amend or seek an exemption from the watershed
ordinance for "special circumstances" if the ordinance has already been
amended to allow for a public landfill.

The EAB encourages the City and County to pursue the strategies outlined in
our report "Recommendations to the Durham City Council and the Durham County
Board of Commissioners Regarding Solid Waste Reduction -- November 1996" to
continue to reduce reliance on landfilling for the disposal of Durham's
solid waste. As outlined in that report, there are compelling
environmental, fiscal, and economic development reasons for aiming to
eliminate mixed solid waste disposal over time through source reduction,
reuse, recycling and source separated composting. We will be developing a
set of more specific recommendations for your upcoming budget deliberations
to accelerate implementation of these strategies.

The EAB recognizes that in the near term, even with aggressive waste
reduction, a significant quantity of solid waste will need to be disposed of
in a landfill. However, we cannot support weakening the watershed ordinance
in this instance given our consistent record of support for strong watershed
protection. If a new Durham landfill site cannot be identified that does
not require amending the watershed ordinance, then Durham can pursue
utilizing a transfer station to transport its waste to an out-of-county
landfill. Although this option may be more expensive in the short term, it
would also provide more immediate fiscal incentives and opportunities for
waste reduction. Each ton of waste Durham's waste diverted from the
transfer station would save transportation and out-of-county disposal costs
whereas tonnage diverted from a local landfill will reduce city tipping fee
revenue while not providing an immediate fiscal benefit. In the long term,
local landfill cells would last longer, reducing costs in the multi-year
time frame, but in each fiscal year the incentive to increase waste disposed
in the landfill would still exist.

Regardless of whether Durham decides on a local landfill or a transfer
station, the EAB recognizes that the existing sanitary landfill poses a
greater potential threat to groundwater and surface water quality. The
existing landfill is only 100 feet from Ellerbee Creek while the new
proposed lined landfill would be 1,000 feet from Ellerbee Creek. The EAB
recommends that the City take aggressive, proactive measures to help
minimize the negative environmental impacts of the existing landfill, once
closed, including:

* More frequent monitoring of the eight monitoring wells around the existing
landfill to check for contamination
* Additional monitoring wells if warranted
* Aggressive additional testing and remediation measures if contamination is
* A complete methane gas recovery system for the entire landfill that
utilizes the gas productively in city operations such as wastewater
treatment or fleet fueling or sells the gas to an industrial energy user.
* Landscaping and plantings on the capped landfill that are positive for the
local environment and other developments and amenities as suggested by the
local community.

Thank you for this opportunity to provide recommendations to you on
important watershed, solid waste management, and environmental issues for
our community.



Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 14:55:02 EST
From: "BETH GRAVES" <>
Subject: provoking junk mail


FYI - This message was posed by Tom Watson, King Co., WA on the waste
prevention list serve. It follows from an e-mail
I posted about NC's junk mail efforts. I quoted an article from the
High Point Enterprise (NC) that had uncovered a US Postal Service form to
help you stop receiving junk mail. Here is what was found.


Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 06:28:05 -0700
From: (Carolyn Chase)
Subject: Something different, something eloquent, something important

This letter from the indigenous U'wa People sheds new light on the concept
of public participation, and points out what a charade it can be when not
implemented effectively and honestly (if that is even possible in our
society). I believe that the concerns expressed in this cut to the heart of
the problems with the quasi-public processes pursued by the City and County
hereand frustrations people face in seeking to shape their communities and


DIARY: Open Letter from the U'wa People to the national government and
people of Colombia

The U'wa have learned through the media of the verdict of the Constitutional
Court regarding the Tutela action brought by the Public Defender, on our
behalf, against the Ministry of the Environment, over the license granted to
the multinational oil company Occidental of Colombia, (OXY) to explore for
oil in our territory, within the Samore Project block.

It is said that this verdict is favourable to us, that it recognises that
the government did not consult us about the project, and that they will now
have to do this within a month. We are pleased that the judges have
recognised the violation of our right to be consulted, and that the
government should talk, and listen, to us when our life is at stake.

But, we are also aware that the verdict authorises the government to take
the final decision, even if it is not in agreement with our way of thinking,
or of life. If this is true, we are sorry that those gentlemen judges have
not been able to defend our fundamental rights: to the integrity of our
territory, to our culture, and, in general, our life. Rights which, besides
being recognised by the constitution and both national and international
norms presently in force, are ancestral rights. Rights acquired by us by the
very nature of having been being born within this territory, by the very
fact of being natives of these lands, as our forebears have always lived here,
and as when the whites arrived, our grandparents had already been here for
thousands of years.

For us, it is therefore not sufficient to say that they should talk and
listen to us. It is necessary that the Colombian state recognise that when
the life of our people is at risk, it must respect our decisions.

They say that in this consultation the government will sit down with us in
order to see how, in our territory, we can live with OXY and their oil
exploration, without our culture, our world, being destroyed. For us, this
is impossible. It is as if they had not heard us at all, as if they
understood nothing of what we said.

For the U'wa, making decisions implies a long process. We must talk with all
our people, and with all our councils. Our shamans, who work to maintain the
equilibrium of the world, must in turn communicate with the gods, in order
to know the correct road and thus guide the people. With their guidance, the
U'wa make decisions amongst the whole people. Our spokespeople or
representatives are then charged with communicating or carrying them out.

But the whites work in a different way, they speak much, but they talk for
the sake of talking, since only a few decide, without taking into account
what the others think. Now they say that the government wants to know our
thoughts about the oil project, but if they don't like what we think, they
will simply proceed with their own decisions.

If this is to be the result of the Constitutional Court's verdict, then we
have gone nowhere. We have already made known our thoughts about this
project to bleed mother earth, above all in the U'wa Audiencia por La Vida
and in the legal proceedings of the Constitutional Court. We have also made
them public through the communications media. To the courts, to the
Ministries of the Interior, Energy and Mines and Environment, we have sent
many papers and films which document what we think. And our thinking has not
changed. For us Mother Earth is sacred, is not for violation, exploitation,
nor negotiation; it is to be cared for, to be conserved. For these reasons
we can not permit oil exploration on our traditional territory.

We do not understand why they will call us to a consultation if they already
know that what we have to say, which is what we have been saying since the
beginning, will not be taken into account. The only thing that will
respected in that meeting is the interest of the foreign companies.

We will continue to fight to defend our right to live in peace within our
own territory, with our own ways of thinking and our own customs, and we
will not permit ourselves to be manipulated or fooled by trinkets or fine
words. We therefore declare that, from now on, only the Grand Council can
speak in the name of the U'wa people, and that whatever attempt to distort
our thinking through the utilization of isolated groups of other U'wa, is
rejected and stripped of any authority by our traditional authorities, our
councils, and by the whole of our people.

To the Riowa (whites) who have accompanied us, and to all those who are
conscious that in order to live in peace it is necessary to both respect the
rights of all and to act in harmony with Mother Earth, we ask your help so
that we, the U'wa, can continue to maintain the equilibrium of the world.

Grand Council of the U'wa: Roberto Afanador Cobaria, Presidente
Luis Eduardo Caballero, Vice President
Gloria Maria Tegria, Secretary

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Write to Occidental CEO: Dr. Ray R. Irani, Occidental
Petroleum Corporation, 10889 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90024 USA FAX
310-443-6922. Tell him to immediately cancel his corporations plans to
drill in U'wa territory. The "consultation" process ends on March 5th.

Reprinted from: Drillbits & Tailings, Volume 2 , Number 4, February 21, 1997

Drillbits & Tailings is the mining, oil and gas update published
twice-monthly online by project underground. Back-issues are archived on our
web site <>. Feel free to cross-post anything in D&T.


Border Environmental Cooperation Commission + NADbanklistserv
From: Marc Coles-Ritchie


Date: Tue, 25 Feb 97 18:31:33
From: "dk" <>
Subject: Statistics on Aluminum Recycling Rates

Has anybody seen good statistics on the recovery rate for aluminum?
I've got the EPA characterization of municipal waste (done by Franklin
& Associates) that estimates a 38% recovery from the municipal waste
stream. Has anything been done to estimate the recovery rate for all
aluminum uses overall -- including industrial, municipal, and

- The USGS (previously Bureau of Mines) publishes some data on sources
of scrap, but this provides no indication of recovery rates.

- The Aluminum Association tracks beverage container recovery, but
this is only part of the market.

I need somebody who has estimated the tons of aluminum released from
multi-year applications (e.g., packaging as well as bridge railings,
automobiles, etc.) against which I can compare USGS' secondary
recovery data. Any ideas? All are appreciated.


Doug Koplow
Industrial Economics, Inc.


Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 09:34:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: WA State Future of Recycling Study

One of my colleagues has pointed out that in my previous message about Jerry
Taylor's 2/3/97 editorial in Waste Age's Recycling Times I should have
pointed out that although the table I had prepared listing subsidies cited in
EPA's 1994 report and other sources was not included in the final report
from WA State's Future of Recycling study, a short list of potential
subsidies was mentioned in the text of the report, including liability caps
on oil spills.

Jeffrey Morris, Ph.D.-Economics
Sound Resource Management


Date: (null)
From: (null)

>I tried to confirm the info about Form 2150, which supposedly stops "sexually
>provocative" junk mail from coming to you.

>I found the case they appear to talk about, Rowan v. US Post Office Dept. 397
>U.S. 728. It pretty much supports what was said in the email, and an
>appellate court case, US v. Lange 466 F.2d 1021, says the receiver is the
>"sole judge of what is sexually provocative," so you could probably play that
>to the limit.

>The one limitation I saw was you have to have received mail from the
>particular mailer previously, and USPS appears to require you give them proof
>you've received mail from the sender.

>So you can't say you find all junk mail sexually provocative and want it
> - end -

Beth Graves
Waste Management Analyst
NC Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance (DPPEA)
919-715-6506 or 800-763-0136
web site:


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #39