GreenYes Digest V97 #120

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GreenYes Digest Mon, 26 May 97 Volume 97 : Issue 120

Today's Topics:
Airline recycling/waste reduction?
Bar Coding for Take Back Packaging
best zero waste practices for beer
Recycling Stealth Attack
Some 80,000 industrial are unregulated
Today's 3R's

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Problems you can't solve otherwise to

Date: Sun, 25 May 1997 14:28:17 +0200
Subject: Airline recycling/waste reduction?

Corolyn Chase writes:

>It has struck me, after some recent airline travels, that to step on to a
>place and into the airport system is to step into a world of waste.
>Does anyone have a summary of what carriers and/or airports are doing in
>the way of recycling.

One small local carrier uses washable / re-usable cutlery and crockery;
after much nagging, our national carrier, SAA, now also uses ceramic plates,
etc. I would suggest that this is a better option than recycling - of
course, the balance (cans, for example, should all be aluminium, given their
value)ought to be recycled. It might be worth contacting the airport
companies as a starting point, as they seem to have a handle on those kinds
of stats...

Mr. Muna Lakhani

Cellfax: 082-131-416-9160
28 Currie Road - Durban - 4001 - South Africa
Phone: +27-31-20-28-291


Date: 22 May 97 22:33:19 PST
Subject: Bar Coding for Take Back Packaging

Back in April, Bill Carter mentioned the following idea for bar coding
to facilitate take back programs. Does anyone have more information on
this idea, particularly with respect to beverage container packaging?
Thanks in advance,
Bill Sheehan

>Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997
>From: Bill Carter <>
>Subject: GreenYes Digest V97 #81 -Reply
>A fascinating idea for how a manufacturer-responsibility system might
>work was presented by Trish Ferrand at an National Recycling Congress
>session a few years ago -- a system to link data about all packaging to
>the bar codes on products, so that a redemption center at a supermarket,
>for instance, could scan-in returned packaging of various sorts and
>automatically calculate deposit refunds or redemption credits toward
>purchases. No weighing materials, no adding, no hassle. Just remember
>not to tear across the bar code.

This is the principle on which reverse vending machines work. They take in
containers of all types (in separate openings), scan the bar
code, return the deposit and crush the container. Some machines can also
provide cupons to the customer. There is at least one U.S. firm, (in No VA,
ENVIPCO) and one in Sweeden (Tomra). Pat Franklin has details on this but
sometimes she gets a bit behind on her e-mail (I forgive you Pat, it happens
to all of us from time to time). I'm sure they could make machines to read a
greater variety of codes.
Roger Diedrich


Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 17:58:22 +0900
From: (Hop)
Subject: best zero waste practices for beer

I attended my first professional baseball game yesterday, in Tokyo. Icy
cold beer was served 'straight from the tap' into large paper cups as
vendors (both male and female) threaded their way through the crowd with
small kegs (about 15 litres each) strapped to their backs. As well as these
draught beer sellers, others were serving beer from 'long-neck' (630
millilitre) refillable bottles.

There was remarkably little waste remaining after the game as the 50,000+
crowd left the stadium.

>while in Freisland, Netherlands in 1995 I saw the Heiniken tanker pull up to
>a bar, unroll his hose and pump that beer right into the bar's barrels. This
>was adjoining the Hotel Water Sport in Heeg, Netherlands. No data, just the


Date: Sun, 25 May 1997 14:28:15 +0200
Subject: Recycling Stealth Attack

Jennie Alvernaz writes:

>I invite others to comment. Maybe, like the blind men feeling the elephant,
>we can pool our knowledge to understand better the shadowy movements of the
>anti-recyclers: the spies, moles, and flaks, and their corporate sponsors in
>the plastics, packaging, and oil industries.

Speaking from the so called "developing world", you may be amazed to find
that we have similar problems here: The plastics industry always say, for
example, that the definition of polluters must include the consumer -and
therefore take the responsibility from the time they buy the product! Even
when we tell them that we actually given no choice, they throw up the stupid
"free market - supply and demand " stories - we didn't have a choice there,

Plastics are particularly bad - locally, although we only have a small
volume of aluminium beverage cans, a 50% recycling rate has already been
achieved within 3 years, and is about the only financially viable recyclable.

Some of the greenwash includes: being told that plastics, becuase of their
lighter weight, make a better packaging product, but they never include the
environmental cost (surprise, surprise!) - dis-information is an on-going
problem. Two seperate, highly placed sources said from within the industry
two completely conflicting statements: One said that our 17% plastic
recycling rate was post-consumer; the other said that the majority of that
was off cuts collected from producers and packers, etc.

Unite against plastic pollution!

Mr. Muna Lakhani

Cellfax: 082-131-416-9160
28 Currie Road - Durban - 4001 - South Africa
Phone: +27-31-20-28-291


Date: Sun, 25 May 1997 15:50:22 -0500
From: Jim McNelly <>
Subject: Some 80,000 industrial are unregulated wrote:
> Susan,
> There may be some sludge in a small town somewhere that is free from
> dangerous chemicals and can be used on croplands but from our research it
> would be dangerous to assume that any sludge is safe, even if it meets EPA
> standards.

Hi Jeanne,

As a person who has been in the composting industry professionally since
1975, I have to step in and speak up for the important values of organic
material, including wastewater treatment biosolids. I have sat on state
committees evaluating the beneficial use of organics and have watched
the development of the EPA 503 biosolids management rules closely. The
term "biosolids" simply means wastewater treatment organci residuals
that can be used beneficially. "Sludge" is any solid or semi-solid
residual from wastewater treatment, of which only a few types are able
to be used beneficially.

The difference between "safe" and "toxic" is not always clear to a
person who may have the mindset of "non detectable" being the only
"safe" level. To try to find a technical resolution to this perceptual
problem, regulators have tried to quantify each priority pollutant in
terms of parts per million concentration, accumulated loading rate on
the land, the effect of the pollutant on plants, animal life, water
quality, and tue uptake of the pollutant into the food chain by animals
and humans. It is doubtful to me that any product has been more
throroughly tested and evaluated than has organic matter, particularly
wastewater treatment biosolids. Upon review of the data and having
worked with numerous wastewater treatment facilities, and considering
myself to be a promoter of the beneficial and non hazardous reuse of
organics, I am satisfied that the current EPA rules are a good benchmark
to evaluate the befecial use of biosolids and that "nearly all" not
"hardly any" of the biosolids resulting from wastewater treatment are
"safe" to use in their respective applications.

In some cases this is for unrestricted use, others for incorporation on
farmland, others for non-food chain crops, and others for restricted
access sites such as mined land reclamation. Each biosolids material
has to be looked at individually and the environmental conscientiousness
that I see on the part of the hundreds of plant operators I know is

> What can be done about it is problematical. It is probably too
> toxic to put anywhere, except in a hazardous waste dump (maybe not even
> there). But it certainly shouldn't be used on croplands.

No one is forcing any farmer to use biosolids, and all that do have
strict regulations regarding annual loading rates and accumulated loads
on the farm. The need for organics in the soil is so great that to
issue a blanket statement claiming that that biosolids are too toxic to
even take to a hazardous landfill is to deprive farms and our topsoil ov
valuable organic nutrients.

In the start of your statement, you claim that you have "research"
claiming that biosolids are toxic. Are you willing to share this
research with me or other organizations that are re-evaluating the EPA
503 biosolids management rules? I can assure you that if there is any
solid evidence of biosolids being a biohazard to plants, water, animals,
or human, that it should and will be evaluated and that if it is real,
that the rules will be adjusted to accomodate the affected species or

But I doubt that you actually have any such research and that your
objection to the use of biosolids is based more on a combined mistrust
of government, science and industry. It may even be that your objection
to the beneficial use of biosolids is related to a misplaced taboo
against human fecal matter in general.

Whatever the reason, there are so many other real and scientifically
documented biohazards such as mercury in air emissions, heavy metals in
household batteries, arsenic in treated lumber, pesticides in foods and
others that to "pick on biosolids" is misplaced and out of proportion to
the risk.

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


Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 01:03:48 -0400 (EDT) From: Subject: Today's 3R's

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, May 25, 1997: A youngster named Chris Peterson from Sartell, MN, went on a history class trip to tour an oldtime, one-room school house. The elderly guide asked the class if anyone knew what the 3 R's are. Chris piped up, "Reduce, reuse, and recycle." Move that kid to the head of the class! He obviously put his reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic to good use.

Gretchen Brewer Earth Circle


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #120 ******************************