GreenYes Digest V97 #259

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GreenYes Digest Wed, 29 Oct 97 Volume 97 : Issue 259

Today's Topics:
Mail Off Your Un-Recyclables
Recycling article in Times Picayune (3 msgs)
Recycling article in Times Picayune -Reply

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Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 18:34:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Mail Off Your Un-Recyclables

Mail Vice President Al Gore
Your Un-Recyclables

Dear Recyclers:

Vice President Al Gore is the honorary chair of America Recycles Day which
will be held on November 15, 1997. Americans everywhere are hearing about
America Recycles Day and how 41 states are sponsoring this event. Also, we
are hearing about the corporate sponsors of this event - many who are not
known to be recycling advocates. In this weeks Recycling Times we hear that
over 3,000 events will happen on this day, and Ted Danson has shown up on TV
asking us to recycle on behalf of this event. The climax of America Recycles
Day witll be a speech by Al Gore on November 15th.

As more Americans recycle than vote, we know that Americans want to do right
and that we could do more. We know that there are too many materials that
still end up landfilled. Moreover, we know that there are too many items
being made and wasted in the first place. We know that NOT ENOUGH is being

In the interest in doing more and pushing our leaders to do more we invite
you to join us in letting Al Gore know how we feel, and in asking him to help
further source reduction and recycling even more. To do this:

Please mail to Al Gore some of the things you can't recycle!

(Do not send him anything toxic, sharp, gooey, smelly, slimly, or otherwise
disgusting or unhealthy. The ideal kind of things to send are clean plastic
packages that you can't recycle locally. Please mail these items off before
November 10,1997 so that he gets them by America Recycles Day. You do NOT
need to put many kinds of un-recyclables in a carton. For example a vinyl
(#3) shampoo bottle needs to be rinsed clean, and then you can simply put the
postage along with an address label on the bottle itself.)

Please let Al Gore know what you want!

(We believe that we should approach Al Gore as our friend. We applaud him
for promoting recycling, and we send him our un-recyclable discards as a
physical manifestation of our desire for him to do more to promote recycling
- and in particular the recycling of items such as these. We ask him to
bring our un-recyclables to his talk on America Recycles Day and to ask
corporate America to take back these items and recycle them. We ask Al Gore
to help by asking Americans and businesses everywhere to actively work
towards not just recycling, but the very elimination of ALL waste, towards a
goal of creating a zero waste society.)

Ask someone else that you know to do the same! Please repost this message.

Here is the address and a sample letter. Feel free to use any, all, or no
parts of this letter, just please send in something you have that you can't
recycle, and also please don't forget to spread the word about our "Take it
Back" campaign.

Mr. Albert Gore
Vice President
Honorary Chair
America Recycles Day
Old Executive Office Bldg.
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. Gore,
I applaud your efforts in support of recycling. In particular, I appreciate
your support of America Recycles Day and of governmental purchases of items
made from recycled materials.
But I am frustrated by how much stuff comes with all the things I purchase,
and by how little of it is recyclable. I know that more Americans recycle
than vote, and yet it still surprises me how difficult it is to recycle so
many of those very things that claim to be recyclable - Those items which
have the chasing arrow symbol or the phrase "recyclable" on them. Add to
that all the stuff that doesn't claim to be recyclable, and well you can see
- we are simply throwing away our resources - we are turning the very wealth
we have into trash!
I am sending you sample(s) of some items I am stuck throwing in the trash in
the hopes that you will bring these with you on America Recycles Day and I
hope that you will speak up and ask corporate America to take back these
things, or even better to not make so much waste in the first place.
I believe that we Americans hate waste, that we would like to see it
eliminated, that our goal is Zero Waste. I know that you have concerns for
our environment and how much we waste - I sincerely hope that you too will
come forth and express your desire to eliminate all waste on America Recycles



Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 06:48:14 -0600
From: Alicia Lyttle <>
Subject: Recycling article in Times Picayune

An article about Recycling in the Times Picayune of New Orleans, La on
Monday October 27. This article states that in Jefferson Parish, they
spend more than $1.2 million a year to recycle about 10,000 tons of
garbage. It would cost the parish $139,000 to bury that much waste in
its landfill. Public officials are now wondering if, despite its
environmental benefits, if curbside recycling is worth the money. With
few exeptions, most cities and parishes with curbside recycling programs
only divert 8 to 15 percent of the waste stream from landfills, far
short of the 25 percent target set by the Legislature in 1989. In my
opinion the low recycling rate is proportional to the fact that there
are absoutely no programs to educate the people in these parishes about
recycling. We also do not have a city-wide composting program and most
people in the city do not have backyards to compost their yard waste.
Bill Sheehan is quoted in the article as saying the following:
"You're going to have problems as long as the companies that use virgin
materials are subsidized with tax breaks, cheap mineral rights and
subsidized acess to our timberlands," said Bill Sheehan, an Athens, Ga.,
biologist who is chairman of the National Grassroots Recycling Network
Sheehan's group advocates lobbying companies to make their products
recyclable and to use minimal, recyclable packaging.
"These companies generate garbage, but local government is responsible
for disposing of it. That is an unfunded mandate if i ever saw one," he
said. "I know that we live in a capatilist society, but there are other
values that need to be considered."
Because our recycling program is not up to par, the student recycling
committee of Tulane University is starting a city-wide educational
campaign to improve the recycling rate. We will ask the TImes-Picayune
to place an insert in their paper on November 15th that contains
information on how and why to recycle, what can be recycled, how to get
more information on recycling. If anyone has done a city-wide campaign
please contact us with suggestions. We need your help!
Alicia Lyttle:


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 22:45:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Recycling article in Times Picayune

In a message dated 10/28/97 7:01:16 AM,
>Alicia Lyttle
>An article about Recycling in the Times Picayune of New Orleans, La on
>Monday October 27. This article states that in Jefferson Parish, they
>spend more than $1.2 million a year to recycle about 10,000 tons of
>garbage. It would cost the parish $139,000 to bury that much waste in
>its landfill. Public officials are now wondering if, despite its
>environmental benefits, if curbside recycling is worth the money.

It should cost about $120 (net, meaning the inclusion of the market value of
the material) a ton to collect and process curbside recyclables. This is how
you get the $1.2 million (10,000 X 120 = 1,200,000). But my take, using
percentages you give later in your emial, is that your parish generates at
least 100,000 tons of trash. I do not know your disposal costs, but your
collection costs for trash have to be at least $50 - $60 a ton. (this is
about what they are in Philly when we're making things hum). Disposal costs
(landfill) would be easy to get, but they should be, minimally, $25 - $30 a
ton. That would make your total trash disposal costs $75 - $90 a ton. Total
cost then should be $7.5 - $9.0 million. $139,000 is just not right. So, per
unit, you might have costs of $80 a ton for trash and $120 a ton for
recycling (today with flattened markets). But your total recycling costs are
still $1.2 million vs. $8 million for trash. The issue, if I'm right with my
numbers, is probably that you have low trash disposal costs, recyclables need
better pricing, and the efficiency of your recycling collection system needs
to be addressed.

My experience with these issues goes back to 1987 when we developed a model
to simulate trash/recycling economics for the Philadelphia recycling program.

David Biddle
Philadlephia, PA


Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 00:02:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Recycling article in Times Picayune

Forgive my last diatribe. Sometimes we don't read so clear when it is nearly
11:00 pm.

If it costs you 139,000 to landfill 10,000 tons of trash, your costs are only
$13.90 per ton for trash collection! I still don't believe this.

I agree with all Rick Anthony said in his post to you, but I would add one

Someone there who has control of the information doesn't like recycling.
Educate them or de-elect them...

Sincerely again and off to bed

David Biddle
Philadlephia, PA


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 09:33:34 -0800
From: Richard Anthony <>
Subject: Recycling article in Times Picayune -Reply

>>> Alicia Lyttle
10/28/97 04:48am >>>
If anyone has done a city-wide


Three things:
1) Using statistics. 15% of a
waste stream that provides only
curbside recycling is pretty good.
Without yardwaste (clean green)
pick up, a 15% diversion overall is
about 30% for the residential waste
stream. Remember, the residential
collections are about 50% of the
whole waste stream. Add Yard waste
and you get to 45%.

2. Money. It may take and
additional $160,000 to bury garbage
after it takes $1.2 million to
collect it. If its separated by
the public, the $160,000 landfill
fee is saved plus whatever revenue
is gained by selling the material.
Remember whether it is recycled or
land filled it still has to be

3. A landfill ban of designated
recyclables, or a Mandatory
separation ordinance will: level
the playing field, create steady
streams of separated recyclables
for industry to build upon, make it
clear in the community that this is
the way we handle wasted resources
in our county.

Rick Anthony
San Diego, CA


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #259