GreenYes Digest V97 #24

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:01:25 -0500

GreenYes Digest Tue, 11 Feb 97 Volume 97 : Issue 24

Today's Topics:
Fwd: GRN CAMPAIGN? End Waste Facility Subsidies -Reply

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Date: Mon, 10 Feb 1997 13:40:37 -0600
From: George Dreckmann <>
Subject: Fwd: GRN CAMPAIGN? End Waste Facility Subsidies -Reply

I don't know that there is much we can do about many of the oversized
WTE facilities that are out there. I do know that we ought to be very
suspicious about landfills that are cutting back on tipping fees to grab a
bigger slice of the refuse pie.

When landfills reduce tip fees its certainly not because they are trimming
day to day operating costs significantly. The most likely cost savings will
be post closure and monitoring costs. Political leaders and recyclers
must insist that landfills set aside adaquate funds for post closure
monitoring and remediation needs. If they do not we are setting up
landfills to become the "Brownfields" of the future.

Any campaign that we look to pursue must include the need for all waste
disposal systems to be fully funded through tipping fees. We can't
handle the Super Fund sites we have now. How can we expect to be
able to deal with those in the future? We insist that landfills have certain
environmental safeguards now. Adaquate funds for remediation should
be part of that safeguard package.

Another thing this article points to the need for integrated solid waste
management. We need to plan entire systems, not haphazardly put
together single elements.

I think that pushing for integrated systems and planning will help reduce
costly boondoggles and ultimately lead to more recycling, composting and
waste reduction activities.


George Dreckmann
Madison, WI


Date: Mon, 10 Feb 97 21:47:40 PST
Subject: GRN CAMPAIGN IDEAS: Reform Subtitle D

[The Grassroots Recycling Network wants to identify issues affecting recycling
and waste reduction that could most benefit from focused campaign action and
linking up activists around the U.S. Developing these campaigns will be a
central part of the GRN kick-off conference in Atlanta, Georgia, April 5-7. We
will select three or four campaigns by the end of February. Please share your
thoughts on this listserve.]


[GRN'S three messages] are great. But, none of this has any nexus.
What I mean by that: to affect near term change from the local level, it is
typically necessary to find a nexus between your issue and something that's
already happening under the Big Tent.

The things here are long term paradigm changes that we should
continue to work for to, sometime in the distant future, make a better
world. But, in order to animate a new organization, something more
immediate is necessary.

Illustratively, one thing I would like to suggest that meets this
bill is the fact that today's so-called "sanitary/entombment" landfills
... not today perhaps, but tomorrow.

Right now EPA is in the throes of weakening
further the Subtitle D financial responsibility rules that creates a
beautiful nexus for this issue, which also neatly ties
into repeats the Savings and Loan debacle and budget crises which will
happen when today's privately constructed landfills leak and there's no
private party left around whose can be made responsible, etc. Moreover,
getting pretreatment or mixed waste composting is likely to DOUBLE the
cost of disposal, thereby enormously improving the possibility of
recycling generating net revenues -- instead of
dying a slow death in a world like today where it "costs" more and is
whittled down bit by bit.
What do you think?

Thanx for your input. You're absolutely right about the GRN statements
themselves not affecting change. Their purpose is to provide three simple
messages that people can agree on and advocate: Zero Waste; Create Jobs,
Not Waste; and End Welfare for Wasting. We're planning on ratifying these
messages at our GRN conference April 5-7 (outside of Atlanta). But this is
just the beginning of our campaign. We're in the process now of
identifying and soliciting feedback on specific campaign strategies/tactics
to pursue -- campaigns to help us achieve the three goals. A national
campaign to strengthen Subtitle D financial responsibility rules as one way
to "end welfare for wasting" might be worthwhile. If this is what you're
suggesting, would you be willing to write up a paragraph or more on what
you think GRN could do on this issue in order to affect near term change at
the local level? (On another note: Are you in favor of pretreatment and
mixed waste composting as a way to double the cost of disposal?) We
welcome any other ideas on campaign strategies. I know there's a lot going
on in Wisconsin right now. We're planning to plug into or mount state
campaigns to push our agenda. Wisconsin is probably one of the critical

Here's a possible paragraph ...

"There is a perception that the present liner-based, 'sanitary' landfill
standards are adequate to protect our drinking water. Although the word
'entombment' is bandied about to describe the facilities, in reality they only
postpone the day of environmental reckoning until after the performance bonds
which operators are required to post expire.

"True, properly constructed and maintained, these facilities should minimize
groundwater contamination. Ultimately, however, these liners will fail. When
they do, not only will leachate pollute our precious groundwater supplies, but
also it will not be 'sanitary'. For buried in our municipal landfills are
household and small generator hazardous waste along with illegally dumped

"Therefore, modern landfills should be limited to inorganic, as well as
non-recyclable, material which will be relatively inert and not break down over
time. Furthermore, as regards the present generation of outmoded landfills,
they should either be required to safely recirculate until the organic fraction
is digested or upgrade their financial responsibility by posting cash bonds for
the full future cost of future remediation. Under no circumstances should our
grandchildren be handed the bill for taking care of this generation's waste and
those who profited from today's lax standards should not be permitted to pass of
the cost of their derelection to the government."


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #24