GreenYes Digest V97 #180

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:10:16 -0500

GreenYes Digest Mon, 28 Jul 97 Volume 97 : Issue 180

Today's Topics:
Fwd: job posting
Landfill in a Tube
New Listserve on Electronic Industry Impacts

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Problems you can't solve otherwise to

Date: Sun, 27 Jul 1997 20:50:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Fwd: job posting

Forwarded message:
Subj: job posting
Date: 97-07-18 14:36:33 EDT
To: Silverini

Job Posting - 7/15/97

Solid Waste Professional - CET, a non-profit organization, is
seeking a lead staff person for a 2 year technical assistance
project to facilitate on-farm composting of commercial organic
waste in western Massachusetts. Responsibilities include
assisting waste generators, haulers and farmers in developing
and implementing economically and environmentally
successful arrangements for collection, transport and
processing of organic materials. Fulltime position with
benefits. EOE.

Email resume and cover letter to or send ASAP to:

Center for Ecological Technology
SW Position
26 Market Street
Northampton, MA 01060

or fax (413) 586-7351


Date: Sun, 27 Jul 1997 17:40:19 -0500
From: Jim McNelly <>
Subject: Landfill in a Tube wrote:
> Dear Susan K. Snow & Jim McNelly,
> I was facinated by the details in Jims article on composting vs.
> landfilling and the heavy metal problems....

Hi Steve,

Most of the negative feedback I have seen and heard from people
evaluating the quality of mixed waste compost had been regarding the
obvious contaminants such as glass and plastics. I wish that a greater
concern was given toward the heavy metals in the household batteries
which are not so obvious. But that is why I find the household battery
issue so disturbing; they are invisible to the untrained eye and are not
being detected using current sampling and testing methodologies.

> As a plastics recycler I am often confronted with the reality that it is
> often the additives that make plastics toxic rather than the plastic itself
> (Not all plastics of course).

I know what you mean. In the mixed waste composter I ran, I installed
an air classifier and de-stoner at the back end of the system. The
light fraction that came out of the cyclone was 75% plastics, a mixture
of polyesters, film plastics, clothing fibers, and so forth. But
actually it was quite light and fiberous, and made an excellent spaghnum
peat substitute in a hanging basket potting mixture. The tests we ran
at the University of Florida showed very promising results. But I was
surprised at the relatively high levels of lead and cadmium in the
media, mostly from the film plastics where, I was told, lead was used as
a binder and cadmium as a coloring agent. We never saw such levels in
colored paper.

I've always felt that in a perfect world in
> which some plastics exist we would - make plastics from vegitable oils, and
> only those kinds that do not decay into troxic monomers such as vinyl, and
> not add toxic additives such as lead, and reuse and recycle as much as
> possible.

I remember writing letters and raising a fuss about the lead cork
wrappers on wine bottles. There is no reason for these to be made out
of lead! I see them less and less now days, so maybe someone got the
message to get the lead out...

After as much reuse and cascading as possible we would pyrolyze or
> even burn the remaining left over and would be able to do so safely as
> nothing toxic was in it.

The oversize material resulting from the initial screening stage using
the Eweson digester had very clean and stable plastics. It seemed like
an ideal feedstock for refuse derived fuel. At the very least, it was a
good landfill ingredient, free of organic matter (except wood) and very
stable. I doubt that the mixed film products would be very recyclable
back into plastics, though. They had multi-wall bags mixed with
everything else, and would be a nightmare I would think to turn back
into a plastic-something.

> It seems to me that much of the fear of composting the entire waste
> stream hinges around the same fear of contamination by toxics which we seem
> to insist on spreading around all over the place.

My current pet-peeve is treated lumber. Arsenic levels are over 3,000
parts per million, but surprisingly, lead levels are also high, around
1,000 PPM.

> As chair of the CRRA ZERO WASTE conferene we seek a Zero Waste world,
> and a part of that ought to be the elimination of putting toxics into our
> biosphere. With such a goal we might well arrive to a point in time when
> these are gone, and then the complexities of what to do with waste become
> much much easier - it can all be safely composted or recycled....

Agreed. Despite Roder Russo's (Bedminster promoter) misunderstanding of
my objections to mixed waste composting as a *stand alone* technology, I
recognize that there is an important place in the overall plan of
integrated waste management for a mixed waste system. I just don't
think that it should include clean source separatable organics as a part
of its feedstock. It should process the contaminated feeds where it is
ideally suited, and refine the mixed organics back into a useful

> In conclusion - This example highlights the fact that these little
> batteries exist in the waste stream and thus makes it much harder to compost
> the organic part of the waste stream. This means we spend much more money in
> handling this waste stream than we would if there were no such batteries in
> it!

That is it in a nutshell, Steve. But alas, many mixed waste composting
vendors do not recognize the importance of keeping these batteries out
of the compost and design their system accordingly. Bedminster does,
but the system must still be run in a manner to remove these batteries

One of the ironies in this discussion is that the supposedly rechargable
nickel cadmium batters are often the worst problem! They are hundreds
of times more toxic than conventional or alkaline batteries because of
the toxicity of nickel and cadmium. How often have we seen these
batteries tossed out accidentally? Even worse, these batteries have a
"memory" problem, meaning that if they are not discharged and recharged
perfectly, they quickly lose their ability to hold a charge. Where do
these super-toxic batteries go when they have forgotten how to hold a
charge? You guessed it. Into the trash and subsequently into the

Lets carry this logic out and fight to eliminate anything toxic from the
> waste stream, which would then save tons of money in recycling, landiflling,
> etc. costs! At the least we should fight to include this extra cost we are
> incurring inhandling these toxics in the cost of those toxic containing
> materials and stop subsidizing their disposal! hmmmm....

The connection I see, Steve, in putting together a national agenda to
Washington and the State governements, may be in connecting landfill
abatement to carbon credits for the energy companies. The connection
may be in reducing atmospheric warming gasses such as methane from
landfills and storing carbon into massive sinks such as the biosphere
and the humusphere. If we started to value renewable carbon like we do
fossil carbon, then we may see the waste stream, which is 70% organic
matter, treated with more respect.

Jim~ McNelly       
NaturTech Composting Systems, Inc.   320-253-6255 
Information on Composting and Sustainable Futures
The Humusphere           HTTP://


Date: Sun, 27 Jul 97 10:01:47 PST From: Subject: New Listserve on Electronic Industry Impacts

>From: >Date: Fri, 25 Jul 97

>Subject: New Listserve on Electronic Industry Impacts

>Dear Friends,

>The Campaign for Responsible Technology (CRT), a project of the Silicon >Valley Toxics Coalition, was formed to promote grassroots participation to help >develop sustainable practices within the global electronics industry >(already the world's largest and fastest growing manufacturing sector). CRT >is now expanding its efforts to develop a network of individuals and >grassroots groups -- both in the US as well as globally -- that is dedicated >to holding the high-tech industry accountable for its environmental, >economic, labor, community and health impacts. > >We are starting an internet list-serve to share experiences, struggles, >strategies, and technical information by increasing communication among the >world's grassroots activists who are concerned about high-tech development. > >By joining this list-serve you will be linking with others like you who are >fighting for clean air and water, healthy workplaces and communities, and >greater accountability and sustainable practices from the electronics >industry. > >Through this list-serve we plan to send out periodic updates such as: > >1. news about high-tech developments in differentcommunities around the world >2. short abstracts from books and papers on various issues including, >labor, occupational health, new less polluting technologies, efforts >towards toxic use reduction/pollution prevention, environmental impacts, >economic and financial information about high-tech development, etc. >3. updates about community efforts to promote effective action and advocacy >that prevents pollution and supports community sustainablility as well as >corporate and government accountability. >4. more detailed and in-depth information than is currently available on >our website > >For further information, please visit our website where you can see: > >1. the executive summary of Sacred Waters, our new book on water pollution >and overuse by high-tech companies in the Southwest(co-published with SNEEJ) >

>2. an article from our latest newsletter "Responsible Technology Goes >Global" that describes the activities at the 6th European Work Hazards >Conference and the decision to form an International Campaign for >Responsible Technology

>3. a list of transnational high-tech firms and their locations in different >parts of the world -- >4. a factsheet for communities and workers near high-tech companies -- >

>5. the list of high-tech superfund contamination sites in Silicon Valley - >

>6. a critique of the EPA's Project XL community participation process >

>7. a list of those currently serving on the CRT Advisory Board - > > > >We hope that you will join our list-serve. It is a closed and moderated >list, so you will not be innundated by e-mail. Please take a few minutes to >fill out this form and reply to If you have information that >you think would be interesting for others, please send it in and we will >share it with others on the list-serve. Also, please forward this message >on to others who you think might be interested. >------------------------------------------------------------------ >____Yes, I want to be part of the CRT list-serve. >____No, I don't want to be part of your list-serve, please remove my name >from your list. > >Name: >Organization >Street Address: >City, State, Zipcode >Country >e-mail address: >Phone: >Fax: >website: > >My principal interests: >_____labor _____environmental impacts >_____economic impacts _____ community impacts >____ corporate welfare (subsidies) ______worker health > >Other: > >Please list companies that are of particular concern to you: > >Anything else you want us to know at this time? > >Ted Smith and Leslie Byster >CRT, (a project of Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition) >760 N. First Street >San Jose, CA 95112 >408-287-6707-phone >408-287-6771-fax > >

>Leslie Byster >Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition >760 N. First Street >San Jose, CA 95112 >408-287-6707-phone >408-287-6771-fax > > >>NOW AVAILABLE AT OUR WEBSITE -- New information about our new book, SACRED WATERS: >LIFE-BLOOD OF MOTHER EARTH, Four Case Studies of High-Tech Water >Exploitation and Corporate Welfare in the Southwest >>


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #180 ******************************