GreenYes Digest V97 #238

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:07:56 -0500

GreenYes Digest Fri, 3 Oct 97 Volume 97 : Issue 238

Today's Topics:
A New Look at Food Waste
Another name for pyrolysis? (3 msgs)
Internet Guide To Recycling and Waste Management
Pulp Fact or Pulp Fiction
URGENT: HELP STOP S.1028!!! (Quincy Logging Bill)

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Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 13:08:34 -0700 From: Robin Salsburg <> Subject: A New Look at Food Waste

Thought you all might find this piece interesting. Following the =3D article is some information about a research project looking at =3D preventing food waste. Both these postings were on the Waste Prevention =3D Forum, a project of the National Waste Prevention Coalition.

Robin Salsburg Monterey

Excerpted from Sept. 21, 1997 article by Peter Passell in Sunday New York Times "Week in Review" section (commentary and analysis):

CUTTING WASTE CAN BE A WASTE A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study estimated that 96 billion of the 356 billion pounds of food available for human consumption in America were lost somewhere between farmers' fields and household disposals. In response, Vice President Al Gore and Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman last week sponsored a "national summit on gleaning and food recovery" in Washington, with the goal of squeezing enough waste out of the distribution system to feed an extra 450,000 hungry Americans.

But many economists view "waste not, want not" campaigns of any sort with a jaundiced eye. Avoiding waste has long been a middle-class reflex. But in an era of abundance, one in which time and labor are more precious than the mass-produced goods of modern farms and factories, economists argue that prices should rule.

>From this perspective, the decision to wrap and store the dinner leftovers - or to recycle the Sunday newspaper - should depend on whether there is a better way to spend the time and effort. Indeed, Robert Hahn of the American Enterprise Institute suggests that the Vice President has it exactly wrong - that waste is a sign of societal success rather than failure. "If ever there was a non-issue, this is it," he argued. "The primary reason so much gets tossed is that America has the cheapest food in the world." =3D20

According to the Department of Agriculture, a bit of food is lost when it is processed or shipped, a bit more when retailers discard spoiled or out-of-date perishables. The lion's share, though is deep-sixed by restaurants, commercial food services and families. In 1995, according to the department's estimates based on its surveys, 11.3 billion pounds of fruit, 15.9 billion pounds of veggies, 8.2 billion pounds of meat, poultry and fish and 17.4 billion pounds of fluid milk never made it from refrigerator (or plate) to mouth.

According to the Department, consumers too often needlessly and unwisely discard safe, tasty perishables. They fail to finish oversize portions in restaurants. They are prone to losing half-used containers in the recesses of their cupboards and refrigerators. One answer, the Department primly suggests, is education: "Improved meal planning and purchasing skills can reduce the discard of food items." =3D20

Another, directed at restaurants, is better handling in mass preparation: "Eggs taken out of their shells by processing machines may mean lower rates of processing loss." Yet another is charity. The Washington summit highlighted the efforts of organizations like FoodChain, Foodservice and Second Harvest, which collect leftovers from restaurants and food services to feed the poor.

But economists remain skeptical about relying on the gospel of thrift rather than on markets to induce consumers to conserve. "When coffee prices shot up in 1955, purchases of coffee went down by half - but consumption only fell by a quarter," economist Thomas Schelling said. Apparently people wasted less: they went to the trouble of brewing smaller pots more frequently when it became worth their time.

Lester Lave at Carnegie-Mellon University says consumers determine how companies use resources. "McDonald's wastes potatoes every day so we can have our french fries fresh, hot and fast," he says, and most diners wouldn't have it any other way.

The one area where economists and the vanguard of the food bureaucracy seem to be in accord is in asking consumers to count the cost of disposal in their calculations of what to consume or recycle, and what to toss. Some 2,000 municipalities now charge for waste collection by the bag rather than by flat monthly fees, the Department of Agriculture notes with approval. And the result has been a cut in household solid waste (some of it food) ranging from 25 to 45 percent.

>From the economists' perspective, the most insidious misunderstanding =3D is the idea that eliminating waste is a key to ending poverty. Indeed, many see it as a cop-out, a way to transform clear societal obligations into murky individual responsibilities.

"If you want to feed the poor, give them food stamps," Mr. Hahn said.

>--------------------------------------- >From David Allaway, Harding Lawson Associates consultants, Portland, =3D OR:

Regarding the NY Times article about food waste reduction that was >posted on the Forum earlier this week: We're working on two projects right now (one is just about to start) >where we're planning to document savings resulting from food waste =3D prevention >- not gleaning, or worm composting, but actually buying less food. > >Before I explain, I'd also like to ask if anyone else out there knows =3D of >other documented efforts to reduce food waste, particularly in the >non-residential sector? > =3D20 >The first project is at a large, upscale retirement center near =3D Portland. >The retirement center has three kitchens. We are working primarily =3D with the largest kitchen, which operates on two five-week menu cycles (almost the >same; the only differences are in a couple of special entrees: prime =3D rib one >cycle, lobster the next - this is not a shabby place!). We are =3D currently in >the midst of a five-week baseline data collection period at the largest >kitchen. After this data comes in and we analyze it, the kitchen will =3D be >making changes in two areas. First: reducing overproduction of food =3D (better >forecasting). An example of this is the 50+ pounds of cabbage rolls =3D which >were prepared but not served to the residents. They were reheated and >another 20+ pounds were fed to the employees the next day (meals are an >employee benefit), but in the end, around 30 pounds had to be tossed. =3D Fewer >cabbage rolls could have been purchased, heated, cooled, re-heated, and >tossed in the first place. The second initiative is to redesign the =3D 5-week >menu cycle to improve opportunities for (appropriate, tasteful, and =3D healthy) >secondary use of food. For example, if leftover roast beef has a 3-day =3D life >in the cooler, then roast beef sandwiches (lunch), beef noodle =3D casserole >(dinner?), and perhaps Scotch broth could be planned for each of the =3D three >days following the initial serving. This sounds like common sense, and =3D the >kitchen is already doing it. But what we're doing is turning it from =3D an art >into a science (sorry, Julia Child) and have developed a method to =3D evaluate >different possible menu re-designs, based both on improving =3D opportunities for >secondary use (waste reduction), and variety (don't want all beef on =3D one >week, all chicken the next, etc.). I have simplified the =3D considerations - >they're actually a bit more complicated than what I've written - but =3D call me >if you want to know more. I hope to be able to report some real $ and =3D waste >reduction savings in a few months. (Other things they're already doing =3D to >prevent waste include inventory control, offering food choices, and =3D offering >smaller portion sizes for those who want less.)=3D20 > >I should add that our work at this retirement center is part of a much =3D larger >project sponsored by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, =3D with >some funding assistance from EPA. The Resource Efficiency Project =3D works >through local public-private partnerships in each of five Oregon =3D communities=3D20 >to offer comprehensive material, water, and energy efficiency =3D assessments to >businesses and government facilities. It is very exciting, both =3D because >we're focused on waste prevention rather than recycling, and also =3D because the >businesses really like the "one stop shopping" approach to resource >conservation (energy, water, and materials). > >The second food waste project which you may be interested in is a =3D pollution >prevention project for restaurants, sponsored by the Hawaii Department =3D of >Health. The project is just starting. We are working with the Maui >Recycling Group (not-for-profit education organization) and several >restaurants in Hawaii. At one of the restaurants, the restaurant owner =3D is >very interested in surveying customers about portion sizes =3D (specifically - >were they too large?). Again, this is an example of basic, fundamental >research which I am very excited about because it moves us all closer =3D to >being able to successfully reduce waste by saving businesses money. We =3D all >know that portion sizes appear "wasteful" at some restaurants, but how =3D much? >What are the trade-offs involved in shrinking portion sizes (food and =3D waste >savings vs. potential loss of repeat business)? This an issue we're =3D planning >on exploring further. =3D20 > >Please let me know if you have questions about either of these =3D examples, or >know of any other successful, documented food waste reduction =3D strategies >(other than gleaning and vermicomposting). For the Hawaii project, =3D we'll be >preparing a guidebook about pollution prevention (including waste =3D prevention) >for restaurants, so this could be your chance to be famous! Thanks! > >-David Allaway (503) 227-1326 >-----------------------------------


Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 09:48:28 -0600 From: "John Reindl" <> Subject: Another name for pyrolysis?

I was asked today by an author for another name for pyrolysis that he=20 has heard. The word begins with the letter "c", and means the heating=20 up of solid waste in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere to produce a gas=20 with a fuel value.

He says he has heard and even used this word before, but can't remember=20 it.

Anybody else heard of this?

Thanks much!

John Reindl (608)267-1533 - fax (608)267-8815 - phone


Date: Thu, 02 Oct 1997 10:18:12 -0700 From: "Tedd Ward, M.S." <> Subject: Another name for pyrolysis?

Alternative descriptions of pyrolisis include:=20 (from Integrated Solid Waste Management by Tchobanoglous/Theisen/Vigil)

Pyrolysis: external heat source drives endothermic pyolysis in oxygen-free environment. Also called destructive distillation, cellulose conversion, charcoal production. The products include Char, pyrolysis oil, and a flammable mixture of gasses.

Gassification: Self-sustaining partial combustion of solid waste, including the use of less than stoichiometric air and/or oxygen. The process produces a flammable gas and char. Other names include starved air incierator, controlled air combustor, pyrolitic combustor, or modullar combustion unit. Types include vertical fixed bed, horizontal fixed bed, and fluidized bed. To improve performance and reduce emissions, in most cases, this type of system uses refuse derived fuel with metals and inerts removed. =20

Hope this helps.

Tedd Ward


Date: Fri, 3 Oct 1997 13:27:44 +0200 From: (Remi BLANCON) Subject: Another name for pyrolysis?

Perhaps "calcination". The word exist in French and possibly in English.

---------- > De : John Reindl <> > A :; > Objet : Another name for pyrolysis? > Date=A0: jeudi 2 octobre 1997 17:48 >=20 > I was asked today by an author for another name for pyrolysis that he=20 > has heard. The word begins with the letter "c", and means the heating=20 > up of solid waste in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere to produce a gas=20 > with a fuel value. >=20 > He says he has heard and even used this word before, but can't remember=20 > it. >=20 > Anybody else heard of this? >=20 > Thanks much! >=20 > John Reindl >=20 > > (608)267-1533 - fax > (608)267-8815 - phone


Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 09:04:39 -0400 (EDT) From: "Roger M. Guttentag" <> Subject: Internet Guide To Recycling and Waste Management

Dear List members:

My book, "Recycling and Waste Management Guide To The Internet," has been recently published and is now available. If you would like further information on this professional reference please e-mail, fax or call me. = =20


Roger M. Guttentag TEL: 215-513-0452 FAX: 215-513-0453


Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 15:16:13 -0400 (EDT) From: Subject: Pulp Fact or Pulp Fiction

Forbes magazine September 8 '97 had an interesting slant on the recycled= pulp mill situation in an article on page 152 titled "Sue the White House".

Zipped version: 1993: Clinton directed federal agencies to buy +30% recycled paper and allowed anyone who built mills to finance with tax exempt bonds. Brokers, lured by underwriting fees on a billion dollars worth of notes, teamed with developers and equipment manufacturers and fanned out into the boonies.=20 This produced high yield (+12%) tax exempt bonds which were snapped up by money managers in 1994/95. Late 1995 with pulp at $1000/ton Indonesian companies flooded the market= with low cost pulp driving the price to $500/ton. Recycled mills came online asking $800/ton for inferior pulp. By last year recycled pulp was selling for less than virgin pulp and much less than break-even. For most of these mills interest payments have been suspended as they can= not service their debt. One mill in Marion Co. West Virginia sold at 52c. on= the dollar.

Greg Flynn


Date: Fri, 3 Oct 1997 00:55:10 -0400 (EDT) From: Subject: URGENT: HELP STOP S.1028!!! (Quincy Logging Bill)

TO: Forest Activists - Please Redistribute Widely - Apologies for any=20 cross-postings FR: John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute




"The Quincy bill is twice as bad as the Salvage Rider."=20 - Debbie=20 Sease, Sierra Club Legislative Director

Dear activists:

It is not often that we at John Muir Project call on you for help, but=20 this is a matter of the utmost urgency. Accordingly, we ask that you=20 take a minute to read this announcement, for the future of our national=20 forest system hangs in the balance, and a phone call from you to Senator=20 Boxer's office THIS WEEK would make a REAL difference.

We urge you to act quickly to help stop one of the greatest timber=20 industry ripoffs and threats yet to our national forests - the so-called=20 Quincy Library Group (QLG) bill, S. 1028. We have the chance to stop it,=20 and we need your help BADLY to do it! Here's what's going on, and what=20 you can do:

QLG IS A TROJAN HORSE: This bill masquerades as "community input" but in=20 reality it's a hoax designed to eliminate existing controls in the law=20 that protect national forests from overcutting, watershed damage, and=20 species extinction. QLG is a scam written by and for the timber=20 industry, and while it directly affects only forests in the Sierra Nevada=20 mountains, it's a Trojan Horse designed to open the door to similar bills=20 for ALL national forests. If this one goes through, MORE WILL DEFINITELY=20 FOLLOW! Your national forests will be next!

QLG IS A FRAUD: Lots of talk about protecting communities from wildfire,=20 following environmental laws, and protecting roadless areas from logging.=20 But when you read the fine print, it's REALLY about getting the cut out=20 - the FINAL cut! This bill is worded in the most deceptive ways=20 imaginable. You have to dig deep to see that it's really about doubling=20 logging rates, increasing fire danger, and subverting our environmental=20 laws. Even our friends in the House of Representatives got taken in by=20 this fraud!

THE SENATE IS THE ONLY PLACE WE CAN STOP IT: The House voted=20 overwhelmingly to pass this bill. Now the Senate is considering it, and=20 word from the Hill is that mark-up is now scheduled for mid-October. =20 That's TWO WEEKS. California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer=20 are the original sponsors of the Senate version, S. 1028. Feinstein has=20 rarely been a friend of the environment, but Senator Boxer is one of our=20 few real environmental champions in the Senate. We must persuade her to=20 remove her name from the QLG and actively oppose it!

BOXER IS THE KEY: Since QLG directly affects only some national forests=20 in California, the Senate Rules afford us an opportunity to kill this=20 bill. If one Senator from California opposes it, it's normally enough to=20 ensure its quick death. Environmentalists have been able to rely on=20 Senator Boxer in the past; now is the time to make sure she doesn't make=20 the most grievous mistake of her career!

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please pick up the phone and call Senator Boxer's=20 office in Washington. =20

The number is 202-224-3553. =20

Tell her that you want her to do the following:

(1) Remove her name from the bill; and (2) Officially and publicly oppose it; and (3) Place a "Senatorial Courtesy Hold" on the bill, which will=20 effectively kill it.


Here are some sound bite arguments you can use:

- QLG is a FRAUD. It doesn't represent any interests except those of Big=20 Timber; - QLG will more than DOUBLE THE CUT on the national forests in the=20 affected region; - QLG will OVERRIDE ALL ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS such as NFMA, NEPA, and ESA=20 despite hollow assurances to the contrary; - QLG is a CORPORATE WELFARE HANDOUT to Sierra Pacific Industries of=20 Redding, CA; - QLG will INCREASE FIRE RISK, according to the best available science; - QLG is a BUDGET BUSTER. It will cost millions of dollars in direct=20 taxpayer subsidies; - QLG is a TROJAN HORSE. It opens the door to privatizing national=20 forests nationwide; - QLG is NO SOLUTION to rural communities' problems. It's just a=20 short-term payoff; - QLG will DESTABILIZE RURAL ECONOMIES by increasing logging rates; and - QLG is the WORST FOREST DESTRUCTION LAW CONGRESS PASSED THIS CENTURY.

Finally, Debbie Sease's quote bears repeating: "The Quincy bill is twice=20 as bad as the Salvage Rider."

You get the picture. Thanks for making this critical call. Please ask=20 others to join you, ASAP. Redistribute this message far and wide. Let's=20 make this one count. Ring Senator Boxer's bell really good this time,=20 because our national forests may pay the ultimate price if we don't!


We thank you and our forests thank you,

David Orr and Chad Hanson Directors, John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute email: <>


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #238 ******************************