GreenYes Digest V97 #103

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GreenYes Digest Fri, 9 May 97 Volume 97 : Issue 103

Today's Topics:
About PET
Local Governments as Keys to Producer Responsibility
Please help with internalized costs argument

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Problems you can't solve otherwise to

Date: Thu, 08 May 97 03:08:35 PST


By Berny Morson
Rocky Mountain News, April 3, 1997

DENVER -- Americans have opted for "feel good" recycling
programs, instead of attacking the source of pollution in industry
and wasteful consumer buying, a former congressional
environmental analyst said yesterday.

Joel Hirschorn said the U S. Environmental Protection Agency
during the Reagan administration chose to regulate industrial
discharges to the environment, instead of demanding more
fundamental changes in the products industry makes. For
example, the government could have pursued agriculturally
based plastic substitutes as an alternative to regulating plastic
producers, Hirschorn said.

"Because we haven't had an emphasis on the broad strategy of
pollution prevention, we haven't supported what I would call the
restructuring of technological industry into completely different
ways of making materials and using materials," said Hirschorn,
who was with Congress's Office of Technological Assessment
from 1978 to 1990.

"The EPA and our current regulatory system basically sustained
the existing major industry that we have, from petroleum to
chemicals to paper."

Hirschorn was among the speakers at the convention of the
Washington-based National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.
Some 500 environmental workers from government and industry
are attending the meeting, which runs through Friday.

Hirschorn, now a private consultant in Maryland, is well-known
in the pollution prevention movement for his view that the nation
needs fundamental industrial change.

He said in an interview after the panel that recycling is "a feel-
good kind of activity for individuals. Why feel good about
recycling your aluminum cans, when you should really be
questioning why we consume so many products packaged in
aluminum cans?"

"Recycling was a brilliant strategy on the part of mainstream
industry to preserve their existing products," he said.


Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 13:31:23 -0700
From: "A. Kamijo" <> (by way of Carolyn Chase)
Subject: About PET

Can someone send a decent summary reponse to this??

Hi. I would like to know the system of recycle about PET-bottle in
the U.S. In which people concern about recycling? I mean, which state the
people are interested in recycling? Also, I heard that the PET-bottle
could born into another things. What kind of things do the PET-bottle
change? If you know about that, please let me know. thanks.
>From Azusa


Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 14:33:53 +0900
From: (Hop)
Subject: Local Governments as Keys to Producer Responsibility

Dear Jennie,

The approach you describe below is working very well in Australia
(particularly New South Wales) as well. And your comment on the attitude of
local government staff, as opposed to elected representatives, is also
clearly evident (although beginning to change for the better since the
introduction of new laws raising expectations of greater responsibility
from industry).

>In our work here, we focus on LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. We have
>been patiently making the case that their local taxpayers are
>unfairly bearing the burden that belongs responsibly with the
>producers of disposable products and packaging. And it's worked.
>Local governments in Canada are the strongest force driving for
>Product Stewardship. Wait: an important distinction! The
>ELECTED OFFICIALS are definitely more ardent in their support
>of product stewardship than the ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT
>/ RECYCLING COORDINATORS, who favour something more
>like "shared responsibility" (so they can keep their comfortable
>government sinecures).


Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 14:33:59 +0900
From: (Hop)
Subject: Please help with internalized costs argument

Dear Amy,

Further to your question about how to convey in simple terms the
'internalized costs argument', I find the following useful:

Industry will 'naturally' have to internalise the waste-related costs of
production when the products and packaging it generates are returned to
them at the end of their useful life (eg. through voluntary initiatives or,
more likely, as a result of take-back legislation being introduced to
ensure producer responsibility).

In answer to the question many may subsequently ask, "Why should the
responsibility for such products and packaging rest with the original
manufacturer, instead of with a third party, such as a recycler?", I'd
answer, "Because the originator has the greatest ability to ensure that:
1. the product/packaging is redesigned to be least wasteful
2. the product/packaging is reused
3. the product/packaging material is incorporated into the production
process (thereby limiting resource use both absolutely and when compared to
open-loop recycling/reprocessing which tends to 'cascade' materials towards
4. the product/packaging residue is properly disposed of once all of the
above opportunities have been fully exploited.
5. the costs/savings associated with any/all of the above are incorporated
into the cost of the product/packaging (ie. internalised) - allowing
consumers to make purchasing decisions based on the financial cost, which
better reflects the environmental cost.

>To: All
>Fm: Amy Perry, MASSPIRG
>Does anyone on this list have a simple way of explaining this argument, like
>1 or 2 paragprahs, that they have written or read, that I and possibly others
>who, although experienced in the field, could learn from??


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #103