GreenYes Digest V97 #100

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:13:26 -0500

GreenYes Digest Tue, 6 May 97 Volume 97 : Issue 100

Today's Topics:
Agenda for Next Millennium Draft 3 and resolution
beverage containers in Sweden
Coke's response to Web site inquiry (2 msgs)
EPR for Plastics: Does it work?
Funding Recycling (2 msgs)
help with internalized costs argument
San Diego Earth Times May 1997 issue is online
Synopsis of Report on Field Test of ONP Home Storage to Alleviate Market

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Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 09:05:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tedd Ward <ncol0043@TELIS.ORG>
Subject: Agenda for Next Millennium Draft 3 and resolution

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Hi Marty!

Attached is Draft 3 of the Agenda for the Next Millenium, California's
version of the GRRN message. I have also attached a draft resolution that
one of the GRRN members was drafting for his community. Del Norte endorsed
the three messages of the Agenda without such a resolution. If anyone does
pass a resolution, please put it on the net. Thanks.


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Agenda for the Next Millennium
Summary of Working Draft 3

We simply cannot continue our current course of increasing material
consumption per person.
Although Americans comprise only 5% of the global population, we use 30% of
the world's
resources. Global population doubled for the first time during the last four
decades and can be
expected to double again over the next four. Unlimited growth is a more
appropriate ideology
for a cancer cell than it is for a human society or a material culture.

Today we pay three times for most materials in our lives: once as consumers,
again to discard,
and again in taxes to clean up the litter or leaking landfills. There is no
convenient, reliable way
for our people to compare the environmental, social and political impacts of
processing, packaging, delivery and ultimate disposal of different products.
Even worse, during
the past ten years we have witnessed a dramatic growth in the amount of
deliberately misleading
information produced by and for the profiteers of the throwaway culture. As
the oldest state
recycling organization in the United States, and as professionals in reuse,
repair, recycling and
composting, the California Resource Recovery Association offers our vision
of how we can move
towards a more sustainable resource efficient economy. The way nutrients
and materials are
recycled in nature is our model. Our goals are:

1.Zero waste. The goal is startling, audacious, and real. In a world
without waste, items
which cannot be safely assimilated into the environment simply could not be
sold, but only leased.
Local governments could still collect and compost putrescibles, but the
other materials would
remain the property and responsibility of those who aim to profit by their
sale. Garbage is an
unfunded mandate. Until the lifecycle costs of goods are fully incorporated
into the purchase
price, we must lead with a label to inform citizens about the extraction and
processing impacts of
the goods we use.

2.End welfare for wasting. We need to improve the resource efficiency
of our economy,
and reduce the waste associated with resource extraction, processing and
packaging, distribution and sale. Although the adverse environmental
impacts of litter and even
legal disposal can be significant, reducing waste through reuse and
recycling preserves the
environment mainly by reducing our need to mine and process new goods to
replace those we
failed to reuse, repair or recycle. Federal and State stewardship of public
lands is undermined by
outdated policies which encourage wasting over conservation, and have often
sped the
unsustainable extraction of the resources in the name short term economic
development. We
must reform both the tax and campaign finance systems to improve the
resource efficiency of our

3.Jumpstart jobs with design and discards. Recent research shows that
reuse, repair,
composting and recycling operations generally create many more jobs for the
amount of discards
processed than disposal alone, and reuse businesses like tire retreaders or
bottle washers create
more local jobs than their disposable competing products. Reuse, composting
and recycling
conserves resources, creates jobs and builds communities.

To truly improve the material efficiency of our culture and economy, over
the next forty years we
must change everything: how we manage our public lands, how our elected
officials finance
campaigns and assess taxes, how we design and manage our communities, how we
products and services, how industries and government work together to
improve resource and
energy efficiency, and how we define waste. We invite you to join us in
helping to achieve this


As the oldest state recycling organization in the United States,
As people devoted to salvage and recovery,
As collectors, recyclers, composters, materials processors, brokers,
reusers, repairers,
As designers and craftspeople building more resource efficient communities,
As businesses reducing wastes and buying reusable and recyclable products,
As California professionals working for governments, non-profits, and
private enterprises
dedicated to resource conservation and recovery, and
As we approach the next thousand years of human civilization,

We are inspired to assess the progress of our material culture and chart a
course for the future of
resource conservation in California. For the first time in history, people
over 40 in their lifetimes
have witnessed both a doubling of the global population, while the average
residential space per
American also doubled. As global population can be expected to double
again over the next
four decades, we simply cannot continue our current course of increasing
material consumption
per person in California.

Federal and State stewardship of public lands is undermined by outdated
policies which encourage
wasting over conservation, and has assumed the role of facilitating the
extraction of the resources
in the name of short term economic development. Under Federal and State
regulations, new
landfills are designed to be dry tombs with relatively little direct impact
to water or air for a 30-
year design lifetime, but these will almost certainly leak or require repair
for hundreds or
thousands of years afterwards. Because of these regulations and the
political challenge of siting a
new landfill, we are witnessing the loss of local self-reliance as small
local landfills are replaced by
larger landfills receiving waste from a much larger geographic region.

Local government has been given the responsibility for administering safe
collection and disposal,
composting or recycling of all discards. So although the legal disposal
cost of many of the
products collected at household hazardous waste collection days far exceed
the original purchase
price of those products, local governments have been forced to tax the whole
community to
manage these materials. We have also witnessed a dramatic growth in amount
of deliberately
misleading information produced by and for the profiteers of the throwaway
consumer culture
Yet the producers and sellers pay nothing for, nor have compelling reason to
consider, the
services required to reuse, repair, recycle, compost or safely dispose of
their products and
packaging, no matter how toxic or expensive the packaging and product
residue may be.

What have we learned? Most environmental impacts of our material culture
come not from
disposal, but from the extraction, processing, and delivery of material
goods. It's as if each
product has a long shadow from the impacts of mining, clearcuts, refineries,
and trucking.
Environmentally, the problem with our material culture is not disposal, but
the need to mine and
process new goods to replace those we failed to reuse, repair or recycle.
Despite being widely
acknowledged as a "top priority," waste prevention remains a very small part
of most municipal
waste reduction programs. Collecting mixed waste in a single truck reduces
the labor costs of
waste collection, but often drastically reduces the value of materials which
may be recovered from
the waste stream. Variable can rates can reduce waste, but increase reliance
on other recovery
systems. Incineration of mixed waste has nine times the negative
environmental impacts of
recycling facilities, while competing for resources which may otherwise be

As citizens or businesses, almost by definition, most people don't really
want to deal with
garbage. After a product has finished its useful life, most people still
just want a safe place to get
rid of it, whether into a trash can, recycling bin or compost bucket. Today
citizens pay three
times for the stuff in our lives: once as consumers, again for someone to
collect and manage our
discards, and again in lost quality of life or taxes to clean up waste which
has been littered,
dumping, or leaked from the eventual failure of the disposal system. There
is no convenient,
reliable way for citizens to see the environmental, social and political
impacts of extraction,
processing and delivery of the products in our "free market." Without such
information, the
market is not truly free, is no longer efficient, and can actually
accelerate environmental

Recycling isn't what it used to be. During last two an a half decades our
members have
instigated the most rapid increase in recycling and composting facilities
California has ever seen.
Mandated to divert wastes from landfills, communities rushed to implement
new collection
programs. Entrepreneurs took risks, and invested in composting like never
before. And the
business climate changed. In California, as the rest of the United States,
for many members of our
communities the term recycling has become nearly synonymous with all
resource conservation:
whether it be waste reduction, composting, repair, or water conservation.

Simultaneously, the recycling industry changed. California has witnessed
the assimilation of
hundreds of smaller haulers by larger refuse collection companies. Garbage
collection franchises
now regularly have provisions for recycling, and many communities have built
materials recovery

The legal mandate for California communities to cut our waste in half is not
what it once was.
There have been efforts to define all discarded materials as waste, and
therefore under the
territorial monopoly of garbage collection franchises. Both incineration
and use of alternative
daily cover in landfills have been redefined by the legislature to count as
"recycling." Six years
later, there still is no legal mechanism requiring State agencies to comply
with the recycling laws
the State places upon local governments.

We are a big part of the solution

Despite these challenges, California has taken more definitive action during
the past ten years to
reduce its waste than at any time since World War II. Passage of the bottle
bill, the Integrated
Waste Management Act, market development and buy-recycled programs have
resulted in more
convenient recycling and composting through drop off and buy-back recycling
centers, curbside
collection programs, materials recovery facilities, municipal composting
facilities, and new
recycling-based manufacturing facilities. CRRA and its affiliated
organizations have more clearly
defined the commodities collected and processed for recycling, and prices
for these commodities
are even traded on the futures markets of the Chicago Board of Trade.
Similar efforts are
underway to set standards for the quality of finished compost by CRRA's
Compost Quality

As other programs have been cut, the money from recycling is also a
substantial portion of the
income for many of California's most destitute citizens. This too can be an
opportunity. All
across the state, recycling programs are operated by non-profits who also
serve youth, seniors,
the mentally handicapped, and the homeless. Recovery, reuse, recycling and
businesses tend to be smaller and more locally-based and produce far more
jobs than disposal
alone. For products with deposits, there stand ready citizens who are
willing and able to expand
collections. Tire retreading operations, bottle washing facilities and
diaper services all create more
local jobs than their single-use counterparts. We must help manufacturers
take greater
responsibility to their products and applaud, support and demand their
action to do so.
Businesses and citizens are incorporating lifecycle design into processes
and products under
conservation paradigms such as ISO14000, Permaculture, Biologic, industrial
ecology, Designing
for the Environment, natural building, and co-housing. We really can save
money, increase jobs,
and help the environment all at the same time.

On individual level, a movement to "Live simply" is quietly bursting into
blossom. Many people
are beginning to realize that we can each live better lives with less stuff,
which comes down to
valuing and enhancing each object we touch and each person we meet. Waste
is ignorance and
unfamiliarity. When we use or do things which are unfamiliar, we are more
wasteful. Loving the
age and craftmanship of durable, repairable, reliable, harmonic systems is
the sentimental side of
zero waste. Truly, we waste less by loving more.

To truly improve the material efficiency of our culture and economy, over
the next forty years we
must change everything: how we manage our public lands, how our elected
officials finance
campaigns, how we design and manage our communities, how we design products
and services,
and how we define waste. We must move towards a state of zero waste: items
which cannot be
safely assimilated into the environment simply cannot be sold, but only

Our 2020 vision of the future includes:

1. A national materials policy encouraging conservation and resource
recovery and
monitoring and reporting and/or taxing extraction and pollution. In a
Zero Waste world,
product designers simply could not avoid considering the impacts of
their products and
services on their suppliers' and clients' communities.

2. Public information and local control. Local communities would be able
to set higher
local standards for environmental quality and tax for depletion or
degradation of
resources. Local government would educate citizens about waste
prevention, composting,
and proper handling of durables and non-saleables, and would undertake
enforcement and reporting on compliance with environmental laws.
Measures of national
and state success such as Gross Domestic Product would be modified to
subtract costs for
environmental cleanup, crime, and social dissolution, and count the
value of volunteer and
other non-monetary contributions to the economy. Citizens and
businesses could access a
convenient reliable source of product information including linked
descriptions of the
most common materials, mining and processing methods used to produce

Waste: A discard which does not yet fit into one of the following categories:

3. Consumables: the compostable fraction. Consumables would be
compostable, or a safe
food for a living organism, or otherwise rendered stable and non-toxic.
Local government
would retain the responsibility for administering the collection of
putrescibles as necessary
to protect public health.

4. Durables: services not stuff. Many products including cars, TVs, tires,
materials and computers would remain the property and responsibility of
the manufacturer.
Manufacturers would be entirely responsible for the costs for
separation, collection, and
recycling, this would ultimately encourage repairable products made
from fewer, more
easily separated and recycled materials.

5. Non-saleables: makers takers. This portion of the materials stream
includes toxins,
refined heavy metals, and items which cannot be rendered stable and
non-toxic or safely
used as food for a living organism. These products would be tagged to
identify the
manufacturer, and remain their property and responsibility.

Zero Waste is our guiding principle We will make this 2020 vision a reality
in stages, following
the short and long-term strategies described in the following sections. We
do not expect that this
initiative will be popular with those who profit from the inefficiencies of
our material economy.
This change will likely only be possible through a cooperative effort with
all organizations and
individuals promoting conservation, waste prevention, recycling, and
composting and
complementary perspectives. We want your help, and we stand ready to support
all who step with
us down the path to Zero Waste.

Zero Waste: Garbage is an unfunded mandate

Garbage is an unfunded mandate. Citizens should not have to pay once to
acquire an object,
again to be rid of it, and yet again to cleanup the damage from the
extraction and disposal. We
have a market where the price signals, the incentives, and the information
do not fully reflect the
real costs of extraction and disposal. For example, the cost to legally
transport and dispose of
many products collected during household hazardous waste collection days far
exceed the
purchase prices. Furthermore, even with the most stringent controls,
neither landfilling nor
incineration adequately protect the environment, as both fail to preserve,
return or adequately
recover the resources discarded. Unless we fix these aspects of the
market, it will hurl us along
the path of environmental destruction, and the destruction will grow worse
as our population
grows and the depletion of our interconnected web of resources accelerates.

Steps toward Zero Waste

Stepping towards 2000

1. Continue to recognize and promote
innovative and effective programs,
including good examples of community
planning or innovative improvements in
material efficiency
Workshops, meetings, case studies, web sites,
existing awards programs.

2. Identify research and internship
Full-cost accounting of landfill disposal;
internships focusing on the collection, processing,
remanufacturing and marketing of a specific
material; performance testing of reusable, recycled

3. Advocate policy of industry-by-
industry model businesses and training
on waste prevention and resource
Promote voluntary adoption of Zero Waste
pledges by industry, WRAP awards, industry waste
reduction profiles through trade associations,
minimum content standards, advocacy of variable
can rates

4. Support the 50% diversion mandate
through 2000, with progress towards
zero waste afterwards measured by
additional jurisdictional five-year waste
reduction goals.
Zero waste would be achieved in each community
by banning a specific material from the landfill or
incinerator. Such bans could play an integral role in
the achievement of the waste reduction goals.

5. Support the right of local
communities to say how much or how
little environmental degradation they
are willing to tolerate.
States and cities have the right to restrict and
control the use of products and packaging that
pose an undue burden on the environment such as
non-recyclable, non-biodegradable, and toxic
materials and excessive packaging.

6. Advocate that State agencies must
comply with all local ordinances passed
to comply with State law. The State
should not be allowed to mandate local
responsibility without allowing for local
planning and control.
Existing law allows State agencies to sidestep
local ordinances and franchises, yet local agencies
are required to plan for recycling and disposal
capacity for these same agencies.

2020 Vision

1. Durables and nonsaleables must have
established recovery programs by
2005, or will be required to implement
take-back programs.
Existing recycling programs would at that time be
funded by a consortium established to coordinate
multi-industry material reprocessing systems.
Nonusable nonsaleables would be safely stored at
manufacturer's expense until they could be

2. Advocate requiring manufacturers to
be responsible for 50% of the
packaging sold in the state by 2010,
increasing to 100% responsibility by
This policy would be similar to that examined in
the 1993 California Futures report to the

End Welfare for Wasting

We can make little true impact on the material efficiency of our economy
until and unless we
place a higher value on the resources we extract form the earth than those
we can pull from the
waste stream. At very least, we must remove all subsidies which encourage
the exploitation of
the resources our government stewards for our grandchildren and their

Our laws must shift focus from managing wastes at the tail end of the pipe
to reducing the flow of
new materials into the economy. We need to improve the resource efficiency
of our economy,
and reduce the waste associated with resource extraction, processing and
packaging, distribution and sale.

No More Money for Mining

Studies in the past few years indicate that extracting and processing
materials causes much more
damage to our environment than disposal. The environmental motivation for
waste reduction is
not so much to save disposal space as to reduce the rate of extraction.

Both national and state studies have listed the numerous, complicated
subsidies for extraction and
energy production. As facilities built for virgin production rarely compete
directly with recycling-
based manufacturers, the primary impact of these subsidies is to make virgin
extraction and
manufacturing less expensive. If we have laws valuing resources in our
waste stream, we must
start by eliminating the laws which devalue our resources before they are

End Welfare for Wasting: No More Money for Mining

2020 Vision

1. Network of CRRA activists and
representatives work on tax reform and
national resource policy issues.
Have tax and resource policy web links on
homepage, newsletters, articles. Work with
groups and declare the theme for Earth Day 2000
to be Zero Waste

2. Support the elimination of timber
End subsidies include paying for establishing roads
on timber lands, and having a low timber yield tax.

3. Support the elimination of energy
End subsidies for energy related to oil severence
taxes, percentage depletion deductions, and
expensing of intangible drilling costs. Depletion
deductions also subsidize nonfuel mining.

4. Advocate replacing employment
taxes with equivalent taxes on disposal
and/or resource extraction.
Add containers to the bottle bill and increase
deposits on tires. Advance disposal fees and
disposal surcharges are an intermediate steps
towards including the full cost of landfill or
incineration into current prices. Tax bads, not

5 Advocate that tax policies be subject
to CEQA and NEPA.
As both State and National tax policies have direct
bearing on the costs of extraction, and the
magnitude of associated impacts, it is reasonable to
expect these policies should be subject to existing
standards of environmental review.

6. Support efforts at the national level
to eliminate timber and energy
subsidies, and tax pollution, disposal,
and resource depletion. In a political
climate dominated by debate of budget
deficits and program cuts, government
handouts of this magnitude are both
fiscally and environmentally inexcusable
and must be abolished.

Eliminate federal welfare for wasting includes
below-cost mining leases through the Mining Law
of 1872 (under which our government signed over
title to $15 billion of our mineral resources for
$16,000 in 1994 alone), below-cost timber sales,
energy subsidies (over $26 billion annually),
depletion allowances (over $1 billion annually),
and tax code benefits to the timber industry (over
$450 million annually). Conduct joint protests
with tax reform and conservation groups - perhaps
making Zero Waste a theme for Earth Day 2000.

Leading with a label

For a free market offer real choices, consumers must have full knowledge of
the product or
service they purchase, including the costs they pay to remediate the
environmental damage caused
by the extraction and processing of the product. As we surf the first waves
of the information
age, we must assure that citizens can make ever more informed decisions
about the life-cycle
impacts of products if they so choose. Until and unless manufacturers
are able to have the full
costs of their product included in the purchase price (i.e. no
externalities), such labeling should be

End Welfare for Wasting: Lead with a Label

Stepping towards 2000

1. Advocate for the reporting of coal
and mining wastes under EPA's Toxic
Release Inventory.
The quantity and toxicity of coal and metal mining
wastes dwarf the quantity of materials put into
landfills, and are key to describing the full impacts
of extraction.

2. Begin assembling a database of
resources available to the public which
are helpful in assessing the mass
balance of inputs, outputs, cross-media
transfers (e.g. evaporation of liquids),
and discards for all major industrial
processes, starting with the most
commonly used packaging materials.
The Packaging Study by the Tellus Institute
provides a model for assessing the first-order
lifecycle impact of a specific material.

2020 Vision

1. Work closely with industry
associations to develop and advocate
the form of environmental labeling.
The laudable efforts of companies such as Green
Seal and Green Cross are steps in the right
direction. The nutritional labeling of food
products also provides a good model of how to
briefly summarize a complex set of information.
Similar environmental labeling will be critical if we
are to harness market forces to allow citizens to
choose the level of environmental protection they

Campaign Finance Reform

As professionals in resource recovery, we are all too familiar with the
hundreds of political
campaigns each year in our state which are won using the contributions from
corporations which
are in return compensated with increased privileges or additional subsidies
for resource extraction.
Like tax reform, campaign finance reform is a very complicated topic, but
is critical to improving
the resource efficiency of our economy, and we must support actions by other
groups in this

End Welfare for Wasting: Campaign Finance Reform

Stepping towards 2000

1. Increase network communications
with groups working on campaign
finance reform.
Share articles , include web links, Earth Day 2000:
Zero Waste.

2. As opportunity arises, challenge or
reverse through legislation court
decisions that 1) corporations should
have the same rights as other citizens,
and that 2)money is equivalent to
speech under the protections of the
These two legal opinions are two of the most
fundamental hurdles to real campaign finance

Jumpstart Local Jobs with Discards and Design

Reuse, composting and recycling conserves resources, creates jobs and
builds communities. A
principle impediment to increasing material recovery is unlimited low cost
disposal. Large,
centralized systems are simpler for politicians to sell, governments to
manage and insure, banks to
finance, and businesses to make money on. Decentralized systems are more
local, more complex,
and a greater challenge to manage as a public works project, but
fundamentally more resilient to
changes in the marketplace.

Research has shown that reuse and repair are not only a top priority in
waste reduction, but also