GreenYes Digest V97 #248

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GreenYes Digest Tue, 14 Oct 97 Volume 97 : Issue 248

Today's Topics:
Business waste reduction
Campaign finance
Extended Product Responsibility
Financial Incentives for Recycling
FW: Financial Incentives for Recycling

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Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 17:33:45 +0000
From: Noam Glick <>
Subject: Business waste reduction

Does anyone know of any studies which have examined the costs/savings
associated with business waste reduction? I'm particularly interested
in aggregate data, either economy-wide or industry specific.


Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 09:45:00 -0400
From: Michele Raymond <>
Subject: Campaign finance

Dear Greenyes folks:

Does anyone in the states have any data on campaign finance vis a vis trash
haulers, or virgin material interests?

Any info or reference would be appreciated. Will pay for copies, etc.

Michele Raymond
State Recycling Laws Update
Fax 345-4768


Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 19:59:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: "David A. Kirkpatrick" <>
Subject: Extended Product Responsibility

Manufacturers enticed to improve environmental ways =20
October 13, 1997 09:00 AM PDT=20

A new principle may entice U.S. manufacturers, suppliers and distributors
to take more responsibility for their product's life cycle, beginning with
extraction of raw materials, continuing through manufacture and
distribution, and ending with the product's ultimate fate: recycling or

This principle, called Extended Product Responsibility, may achieve improved
environmental protection while U.S. industries boost efficiency, reduce
waste and increase profitability.

Consumers can do their part by supporting product recycling programs and
purchasing goods from environmentally responsible manufacturers.

An article on EPR co-authored by a team of researchers from the University
of Tennessee appears in the September issue of Environment magazine. The
article, titled "Extended Product Responsibility: A New Principle for
Sustainable Production and Consumption," explores several EPR approaches.

Through voluntary take-back programs, companies commit to recycling or
reusing used equipment, parts, or packaging.

For instance, Xerox Corporation, dismantles used copier cartridges and
cleans, sorts and repairs them to meet standards for new parts. Through this
effort and other elements of Xerox' asset recycling management program the
company saved more than $50 million in logistical, inventory and
raw-material costs in 1991 alone, the program's first year.

Automakers Ford and Saturn Corporation have established take-back programs
aimed at recycling automotive plastics from damaged or discarded cars.

Under leasing agreements, a firm accepts responsibility for maintaining a
product during the term of the lease and then recycles the product at the
end of its useful life. Interface Flooring Systems, based in La Grange,
Georgia, offers consumers the option of leasing -- rather than buying -- its
carpet products. Customers pay a monthly fee, and the company installs,
maintains, and ultimately removes and recycles the carpeting once it's worn.

Product stewardship, another EPR approach, involves promoting a product's
safe use. The Chemical Manufacturers Association's Responsible Care Program,
created in 1988, informs consumers of proper use of and risks associated
with various chemicals.

Though EPR lacks the drama of environmental initiatives that grow in
response to such things as oil spills and other pollution releases, it
boasts the potential for achieving significant long-term benefits.=20

"EPR does not produce the kind of dramatic results that grab headlines, but
it quietly builds a solid and sustainable infrastructure for meaningful
environmental protection," says Jack Barkenbus, executive director of UT's
Energy, Environment, and Resources Center.

Barkenbus co-authored the Environment article with Gary Davis, director of
UT's Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies (CCPCT), and Catherine
Wilt, senior research associate with UT's Waste Management Research and
Education Institute.

CCPCT, which has spearheaded efforts in the areas of pollution prevention
and improved product design, convened the first U.S. conference on EPR in
1994 and has since maintained a leadership role in advancing the principle.=

EPR has been endorsed by the President's Council on Sustainable Development,
and both the council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are
looking to CCPCT and other research centers for help in devising ways to
implement the EPR principle in the United States. Sweden, Germany, and the
Netherlands have mandated varying forms of EPR.

The Environment article summarizes the results of three reports produced by
Wilt and Davis since 1995. The first includes the proceedings of a 1994
national EPR symposium sponsored by CCPCT in Washington, D.C. The second,
which was funded by the EPA's Office of Solid Waste, presents case studies
of voluntary EPR programs adopted by U.S. corporations, primarily in the
automotive, appliance, electronics, and chemical sectors. The third report,
also funded by EPA, summarizes and analyzes regulations and policies that
support EPR programs in 12 developed countries.

Many EPR programs go beyond providing for environmental protection and offer
significant cost savings for corporations through increased efficiency and
reduced waste.

"Any time you're discarding something there's a cost involved," Wilt says.
"When you can redesign a process or a product to remove that waste, you're
reducing the cost, and that benefits to the company."=20

Though EPR programs may offer long-term gains, they may initially increase,
rather than reduce, manufacturing costs as production facilities retool and
corporations evaluate the environmental profiles of suppliers and retailers
up and down the supply chain. However, according to Davis, forward-thinking
corporations like Xerox that adopt EPR programs now, despite initial cost
increases, will likely enhance competitiveness in the future.=20

"U.S. companies that hope to compete both at home and abroad will implement
EPR business strategies today," he says. "The ones that do will prosper in
the 21st century; the ones that don't, won't."=20

For more information, contact David Brill, EERC, (423)974-4251, email:


Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 09:07:45 -0700
From: Victor Aguiar <>
Subject: Financial Incentives for Recycling

We produce reports for businesses showing financial incentives for waste
reduction. Send me a message and I'll send you a copy.

-- Victor Aguiar, Ecology Action


Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 18:33:09 -0400
From: "" <>
Subject: FW: Financial Incentives for Recycling

Mr. Fredericks:

You are questioning the fundamental obligation of humans to responsibly =
manage our waste. How do you justify your attitude that we have the =
right to ruin any part of the earth, solely for our own convenience? How =
do you justify your data? Your waste generation figures are unrealistic. =
In 1996, The United States may have generated more than 1.5 billion tons =
of waste. In 1995, 325 million tons of "municipal" waste were =
generated. However, using Pennsylvania as an example, "municipal" waste =
is only 1/5 of the total amount of waste generated. In addition, this =
figure doesn't include foreign waste imports. Below is an article I =
wrote for general distribution. This article address the general topic =
of waste elimination and government responsibility.=20

Contact: Lynn Landes Executive Director, Zero Waste America, Inc. (215) =

The United States is sinking under a "river of waste." Zero Waste =
America (ZWA) estimates that in 1997, Americans will
dispose of more than 1.5 billion tons of domestic and imported waste. =
That amounts to approximately 5 tons of waste
disposed for every person in the country.* The cost to public health and =
natural resources is incalculable.

In 1970, Congress passed legislation establishing National Environmental =
Policy to "enhance the quality of renewable
resources and approach the maximum attainable recycling of depletable =
resources." That policy was a mandate from
Congress. It should serve as a lifeboat to a sustainable environment, to =
no more landfills or incinerators, and to Zero Waste.

Instead, the U.S. has no effective national plan to eliminate or reduce =
waste. There is no government effort to create
sustainable markets for recyclables. There is no national ban on the =
disposal of waste, compost, or recyclables into landfills or =
incinerators. There is no limit on the amount of waste imported from =
other countries. The EPA does not even track the total amount of waste =
that is generated, imported, or disposed in the U.S.

The free market has not provided a foundation this nation needs to =
reduce, eliminate, or recycle waste. Voluntary programs of waste =
recycling and reduction have not been sufficient to curb the =
ever-increasing need to build more landfills and incinerators.=20

Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is a good example of failed policies and =
enforcement by both federal and state authorities. Bucks County disposes =
of approximately 2,000 tons of county waste daily. Waste Management =
(WMX) is permitted by PA's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) =
to dispose of 20,000 tons of waste each day in Bucks County. Federal law =
requires that states must have a "state solid waste management plan" to =
ensure maximum recycling and resource conservation, and to assess =
environmental impact of waste disposal facilities. Pennsylvania has no =
such state plan, yet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows =
the state to continue accepting waste and issuing permits for more =
disposal facilities. Currently, Pennsylvania is the leading importer of =
foreign and domestic waste in the nation.

Many states complain that waste imports undercut their efforts at waste =
reduction and recycling. For the last several years,
states have looked to proposed federal legislation that promises states =
protection from imports. This proposed legislation will not protect =
states for three reasons:

=B7 The proposed legislation only applies to "unwanted" waste. A state =
cannot prohibit a municipality from accepting waste, if an agreement is =
reached between the host municipality and a waste disposal company. This =
invites the waste industry to "shop" for disadvantaged communities who =
may want the host fees to offset tax increases, or can't afford to =
defend themselves against well-funded waste industry legal action.=20

=B7 There is no limit on other types of disposal waste that can be =
imported from other states or nations. Only "municipal" waste will be =
affected by this legislation. That may account for as little as 20% of =
all waste disposed in a state.=20

=B7 This legislation will encourage the importation of more toxic waste, =
such as: hazardous, industrial, infectious, asbestos,
sewage sludge, contaminated soil, and incinerator ash. Much of this =
waste is allowed in municipal landfills, as well as in private and =
commercial landfills and incinerators.=20

So, what's the answer? In the absence of Congressional action or federal =
enforcement of current environmental law, how do states eliminate waste =
and protect themselves from waste imports?=20

First, states can issue waste "disposal bans" for both in-state and =
imported waste. They can begin by banning compostables, such as food and =
yard waste. A general rule is that waste must be free from hazardous =
materials in order to be composted or recycled safely.=20

Second, states can legislate a variety of measures to sustain recycling =
markets. They can set minimum recycled content
standards and establish bottle bills and other "take-back" legislation. =
With markets guaranteed, recyclables can be banned for disposal.=20

Lastly, states should store hazardous waste until it can be safely =
recycled. Never bury or burn waste!

In order to withstand legal challenge by waste importers, states must =
apply disposal bans equally to both in-state and
out-of-state waste. In August 1995, The Federal Court of Appeal, 7th =
Circuit in National Solid Waste Association v. Meyer
(representing Wisconsin), ruled that Wisconsin could ban designated =
waste and recyclables. However, Wisconsin could not discriminate against =
waste imports; it could not apply disposal bans only to out-of-state =

As a nation, we can turn this "river of waste" into a "reservoir of =
recyclables." We should do whatever it takes to eliminate
waste. Zero Waste is our goal. A healthy and clean environment...let =
that be our legacy.

* ZWA based its estimates on publicly available documents, including =
Biocycle Magazine's April 1997 issue which reported 1996 data of 235 =
million tons of mostly "municipal" waste disposed. We calculated that, =
in some states, "municipal" waste accounts for as little as 20% of total =
waste disposed.=20

Zero Waste America, Inc. is a non-profit environmental organization =
dedicated to the elimination of waste and pollution through legislative =
reform and the encouragement of "zero waste" business and practices. We =
provide analysis and a wide range of information on waste issues. =
Membership is free.

Lynn Landes, ZWA Founder and Director=20
Pennsylvania's Solid Waste Advisory Committee for Dept. of Environmental =
Protection (PA DEP) 1995-96
Pennsylvania Municipal Waste Stakeholder (PA DEP) 1995-96
Sierra Club, Solid Waste Chair for Pennsylvania 1995-96

From: Bill Sheehan[]
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 1997 9:56 AM
To: GreenYes (E-mail)
Subject: Mandatory Recycling


Thought you might be interested in a discussion happening on
recycle@envirolink. A brave soul with great faith in the
freeness of the free market is weighing in with the usual Lynn
Scarlett-John Tierney-Cato arguments (in fact one commentator=20
pointed out that the selection has apparently been lifted
attribution from Reason Foundation materials. Like it or not,
views are in the political ascendancy in many places and=20
big-picture recyclers ignore them at risk.

Since greenyes is supposed to be more for policy issues (and
recycle@envirolink more for technical issues) I am taking the
liberty of reposting this here.

--Bill Sheehan

Mandatory Recycling

Recycling can be a useful exercise, reducing the need for
raw materials and the costs of waste disposal. Recycling can
also be a wasteful use of energy, time and money. Even from the
environmental standpoint, recycling is not always the best
option. The benefits of recycling, environmental and otherwise,
vary on a case-by-case and material-by-material basis.
Recycling can even impose environmental costs, such as the
sludge generated from recycling paper or the increased energy
use of collecting and sorting some recyclable products. Whether
or not to recycle a particular material or product should be
determined by the marketplace, not by government fiat.

The primary problem with recycling is that for most
materials it is far more expensive to sort, collect and process
recyclables than it is to use raw materials. Indeed, the costs
of collection alone are often more than the value of the
recyclable materials. Where using recycled materials is not
more expensive than other options, recycling typically occurs
absent government intervention. Thus mandatory recycling
programs act as a hidden tax on consumers who must pay for the
additional cost of recycling through higher prices, higher
local taxes, or higher waste hauling assessments. It is likely
that most people who support recycling are not aware that it
will cost them more.

A variant of mandatory recycling is to mandate a set
percentage of recycled content for particular products, such as
newspapers. As with other recycling mandates, recycled-content
laws increase costs for consumers while providing minimal
benefits. For example, it has been estimated that a 25 percent
recycled-content standard for plastics would increase the price
of soft drink containers by 10 percent. Additionally, some
materials that are more difficult to recycle are actually to be
preferred on environmental grounds, because they are lighter,
more compact, and require fewer resources to manufacture (the
widely popular "juice box" is a perfect example of this).
Finally, politically determined recycled-content mandates will
always be set at arbitrary levels. There is no environmental
basis upon which to prefer 10 percent recycled content over 12
percent or 7 percent.

It is important to remember that when recycling costs more
than other options, this reflects the higher value of resource
expenditures required to recycle. Dedicating these resources to
recycling means that they cannot be used for other things, no
matter how useful or important. If driven by the market,
recycling will only occur where it is the most efficient use of
resources. If driven by politics, recycling will be an
expensive and wasteful policy.

The United State generates approximately 200 million
tons-per-year of municipal solid waste. There is no doubt that
some portion of this will be recycled. How much should be
determined by market forces, rather than by government-imposed
mandatory recycling or recycled-content laws.=20

Q: Don't we need to recycle because we are running out of
landfill space?

A: No. 200 million tons sounds like a lot of solid waste to
dispose of in one year. However, disposing of that waste in
landfills poses little problem for a nation nearly three
million square miles big (not including Alaska). Indeed, all of
the solid waste produced in the United Sates over the next
one-thousand years could be landfilled on less than one-tenth
of one percent of America's land.

Q: Doesn't recycling save resources?

A: Sometimes recycling does save resources. Recycling
aluminum, for example, saves energy, and consequently money as
well. This is why aluminum has been recycled for decades even
without a government mandate. In other instances, however,
recycling may not save resources. Recycling may require a
greater use of energy or water, or even labor and money - all
of which are important resources. Finally, it needs to be
recognized that as resources become scarce, their prices rise.
This gives the market a signal to begin conserving, recycling
or developing alternatives. Recycling can be encouraged by the
market in this way, without political intervention.

Q: Doesn't recycling a ton of paper save 17 trees?

A: Not necessarily. Demand for paper is not a significant
factor in deforestation. Most paper is made from either sawmill
waste, scrap wood, or trees planted solely for that purpose.
The planting of trees has been a key factor in the growth of
America's forests during the past several decades; timberland
acreage has increased by approximately 10 percent since 1952
and there are now more trees in America's forests than at any
other time in this century. In fact, by reducing the demand for
paper, recycling could actually discourage timber companies
from planting more trees.=20

Phil Fredericks

Sent: Monday, October 13, 1997 1:38 AM
To:; 'KROWE'
Subject: RE: Financial Incentives for Recycling

Kristi: Why do we need financial incentives for recycling. Isn't =
survival enough? Must we make something simple, complicated. Even birds =
know not to foul their own nests. There are wide expanses of North =
American that now harbor deformed frogs. In "hot spots" that were tested =
recently (in the state of Minnesota), both the ground and surface water =
are contaminated with something that causes gross deformities in frogs. =
My guess is that the cause is the prolonged use of agricultural =
pesticides. How much would be the cost of such a clean-up? It will =
probably be impossible to clean it up. Once ground water is =
contaminated, successful remediation is very questionable. All landfills =
will eventually leak. Landfills can emit at least 12 different hazardous =
chemicals. How do you compare recycling costs to heath care and ground =
water clean-up costs?

Lynn Landes

From: KROWE[]
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 1997 10:01 PM
Subject: Financial Incentives for Recycling

I am in my final year of Environmental Engineering at the University=20
of Guelph (Ontario, Canada). I am supposed to write a research paper=20
on "financial incentives for recycling".=20

I have looked all through the university library and there are not=20
many articles. I also looked through the internet and was not very=20
successful. I am taking a GLOBAL perspective (i.e. incentives that=20
different countries use) and was wondering if you could point me in=20
the right direction. I would be interested in=20

government reports
conference papers
journal articles
anything else useful!!!

I have a fax machine, I am willing to pay a courier and my email=20
address is My phone number is (519) =20
824- 4933. Thank you for your time and effort.

Kristi Rowe


Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 08:16:58 -0400
From: "Quinn R. Davidson" <>
Subject: unsubscribe



Date: (null)
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End of GreenYes Digest V97 #248