GreenYes Digest V97 #107

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GreenYes Digest Tue, 13 May 97 Volume 97 : Issue 107

Today's Topics:
A small success
can I sign on?
Draft Mandatory Recycling Ordinance
hard to dispose bill in NC Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 23:24:16
In Buz: Career Opp's in Zero Waste
recycling PET-bottle
Wants Help Explaining Recycling To Kids (2 msgs)
What would it cost Coke & Pepsi to do the right thing?

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Problems you can't solve otherwise to

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 09:49:27 -0700
From: Carolyn Chase <>

In only 2000 words she covers some of the most critical issues of our time
and links together
environmentalism and social justice. Amazing.


[People in the Ohio Valley have spent 15 years fighting one of the world's
largest toxic waste incinerators, known as WTI.[1] One grass-roots community
leader in the WTI fight, Terri Swearingen, was honored this week by receiving
the Goldman Environmental Prize for North America --the environmental
equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

The WTI incinerator, in East Liverpool, Ohio, was initiated in 1982 by one of
President Clinton's wealthy political backers in Arkansas --Jackson Stephens
of Stephens, Inc., in Little Rock.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore visited East Liverpool while
campaigning for election in 1992; at that time, Mr. Clinton said that, if he
were elected, WTI would never be allowed to operate. Mr. Clinton was elected
in 1992.

In 1992, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admitted during
Congressional hearings that it had illegally issued an operating permit to
WTI. The huge incinerator began burning hazardous waste in 1993, 1100 feet
from an elementary school. Mr. Clinton has not returned to East Liverpool
since he became President.

Here is Terri Swearingen's acceptance speech for the Goldman Environmental
Prize, given April 14, 1997.

I am like the turtle on the fencepost. I did not get here alone. In addition
to the many caring and courageous people I work with in the Ohio Valley,
special recognition goes to Greenpeace, and to Dr. Paul Connett and his wife,
Ellen.[2] And all my love, respect and deepest gratitude go to my husband,
Lee, my daughter, Jaime, and my family. I accept this award on their behalf,
and on behalf of all the environmental activists across the country who are
working just as hard, but whose work has not been recognized in such a
profound way. It is appropriate that the work of grass-roots activists be
recognized. I am excited about this award, not just for personal reasons, but
I believe it vindicates the efforts of thousands and thousands of grass-roots
activists in this country, and around the world, who work on environmental
issues on a daily basis. To the Goldman family, my most heartfelt thanks.

I am not a scientist or a Ph.D. I am a nurse and a housewife, but my most
important credential is that I am a mother. In 1982, I was pregnant with our
one and only child. That's when I first learned of plans to build one of the
world's largest toxic waste incinerators in my community. When they began
site preparation to begin building the incinerator in 1990, my life changed
forever. I'd like to share with you some of the lessons I have learned from
my experiences over the past seven years.

One of the main lessons I have learned from the WTI experience is that we are
losing our democracy. How have I come to this sad realization? Democracy is
defined by Merriam Webster as "government by the people, especially rule of
the majority," and "the common people constituting the source of political
authority." The definition of democracy no longer fits with the reality of
what is happening in East Liverpool, Ohio. For one thing, it is on the
record that the majority of people in the Ohio Valley do not want the WTI
hazardous waste incinerator in their area, and they have been opposed to the
project from its inception. Some of our elected officials have tried to help
us, but the forces arrayed against us have been stronger than we or they had
imagined. Public concerns and protests have been smothered with meaningless
public hearings, voodoo risk assessment and slick legal maneuvering.

Government agencies that were set up to protect public health and the
environment only do their job if it does not conflict with corporate
interests. Our current reality is that we live in a "wealthocracy"--big
money simply gets what it wants. In this wealthocracy, we see three
dynamics at play: corporations versus the planet, the government versus the
people, and corporate consultants or "experts" versus common sense. In the
case of WTI, we have seen all three.

The second lesson I have learned ties directly to the first, and that is that
corporations can control the highest office in the land. When Bill Clinton
and Al Gore came to the Ohio Valley, they called the siting of the WTI
hazardous waste incinerator --next door to a 400 student elementary school,
in the middle of an impoverished Appalachian neighborhood, immediately on the
bank of the Ohio River in a flood plain--an "UNBELIEVABLE IDEA." They said we
ought to have control over where these things are located. They even went so
far as to say they would stop it. But then they didn't! What has been
revealed in all this is that there are forces running this country that are
far more powerful than the President and the Vice President. This country
trumpets to the world how democratic it is, but it's funny that I come from a
community that our President dare not visit because he cannot witness first
hand the injustice which he has allowed in the interest of a multinational
corporation, Von Roll of Switzerland. And the Union Bank of Switzerland.
And Jackson Stephens, a private investment banker from Arkansas. These
forces are far more relevant to our little town than the President of the
United States! And he is the one who made it that way. He has chosen that
path. We didn't choose it for him. We begged him to come to East Liverpool,
but he refused. We begged the head of EPA to come, but she refused. She
hides behind the clever maneuvering of lawyers and consultants who obscure
the dangers of the reckless siting of this facility with theoretical risk

I always thought of the President of the United States as an all-powerful
person, who could even, if necessary, launch a war to protect his nation's
people. But in the case of WTI, we have this peculiar situation where the
President dare not come to East Liverpool, Ohio. It may be the one place in
the whole of this country, maybe even the world, where he cannot go. He
cannot go to East Liverpool to see for himself what he has allowed. He cannot
go to East Liverpool to see with his own eyes where this incinerator is
operating. We know that if he came to East Liverpool to see it for himself,
he would not be able to say that it is okay. We know that he would never have
allowed his own daughter, Chelsea, to go to school in the shadow of this toxic
waste incinerator. And that's precisely why he dare not come to East
Liverpool. He knows that it is wrong. He knows that it is unacceptable. The
decision to build the incinerator there was political, and the decision to
allow it to operate, despite the stupidity of its location, is political. The
buck stops with President Clinton. No child should have to go to school 1000
feet from a hazardous waste facility, and no president should allow it. He
cannot shove off the responsibility to a bureaucracy. I believe you cannot
have power without responsibility.

The third thing that I have learned from this situation, which ties in with
the first two, is that we have to reappraise what expertise is and who
qualifies as an expert. There are two kinds of experts. There are the
experts who are working in the corporate interest, who often serve to obscure
the obvious and challenge common sense; and there are experts and non-experts
who are working in the public interest. From my experience, I am distrusting
more and more the professional experts, not because they are not clever, but
because they do not ask the right questions. And that's the difference
between being clever and being wise. Einstein said, "A clever person solves
a problem; a wise person avoids it." This lesson is extremely relevant to
the nation, and to other countries as well, especially in developing
economies. We have learned that the difference between being clever and
being wise is the difference between working at the front end of the problem
or working at the back end. Government that truly represents the best
interest of its people must not be seduced by corporations that work at the
back end of the problem -- with chemicals, pesticides, incinerators, air
pollution control equipment, etc.

The corporate value system is threatening our health, our planet and our very
existence. As my good friend, Dr. Paul Connett, says "WE ARE LIVING ON THIS
PLANET AS IF WE HAD ANOTHER ONE TO GO TO." We have to change the way we look
at the world. We must change our thinking and our attitude. This is so
important. We MUST change the value system. We have to live on this planet
assuming that we do not have another one to go to! We must get to the front
end of problems so that we avoid the mistakes of the past. Thinking about our
planet in this way puts a whole new perspective on what we do and how we act.

For example, if we are dealing with issues of agriculture, we need to be
thinking about sustainable agriculture with low chemical input. If we are
looking at energy, we need to look at solar energy, energy that is
sustainable. If we are discussing transportation, we should be looking at
ways of designing cities to avoid the use of cars. And when it comes to
hazardous waste, we should [be] talking about clean production, not siting
new incinerators. We should be trying to get ahead of the curve. People at
the grass-roots level get taught this lesson the hard way --they get poisoned
by back-end thinking. They learn that we have to shift to front-end
solutions if we are to save our communities and our planet.

Citizens who are working in this arena -- people who are battling to stop new
dump sites or incinerator proposals, people who are risking their lives to
prevent the destruction of rainforests or working to ban the industrial uses
of chlorine and PVC plastics -- are often labeled obstructionists and
anti-progress. But we actually represent progress -- not technological
progress, but social progress. We have become the real experts, not because
of our title or the university we attended, but because we have been
threatened and we have a different way of seeing the world. We know what is
at stake. We have been forced to educate ourselves, and the final exam
represents our children's future. We know we have to ace the test because
when it comes to our children, we cannot afford to fail.

Because of this, we approach the problem with common sense and with passion.
We don't buy into the notion that all it takes is better regulations and
standards, better air pollution control devices and more bells and whistles.
We don't believe that technology will solve all of our problems. We know
that we must get to the front end of the problems, and that prevention is
what is needed. We are leading the way to survival in the 21st century. Our
planet cannot sustain a "throw-away society." In order to survive, we have
to be wise, not just clever.

This is why, ultimately, it is so disastrous that there are people who think
that they've solved the WTI problem with more technology. You cannot patch up
an injustice --an unjust situation -- with technology. The developers behind
WTI made a fundamental mistake in the beginning by building the incinerator
next door to an elementary school and in the middle of a neighborhood. This
is a violation of human rights and common decency. As Martin Luther King

Even after seeing so much abuse of the system that I have believed in, I
still hold on to the slender hope that my government could once again return
to representing citizens like me rather than rapacious corporate interests.

If they do, then perhaps there is a future for our species; if they don't,
we are doomed.

Carolyn Chase, Editor, San Diego Earth Times,
Please visit ;-)

Tel: (619)272-7423 (SDET)
FAX: (619)272-2933
P.O. Box 9827 / San Diego CA 92169

'You've got to conserve what you can't replace'

"Every citizen is involved in politics; it's just that some people do
politics, some have it done to them."


Date: Mon, 12 May 97 22:43:25 PST
Subject: A small success


Some time ago, I posted a message pertaining to EPA's intention to retire an
old regulation, never enforced, that required federal facilities to place a
deposit on beverage containers. The notice said the rule would retire if
there was no adverse comments. Well, I guess there WAS adverse comment,
because on May 2, they announced that they would NOT retire that part of the
rule pertaining to the BB. They go on to present the conditions of the
systems to be used. Now mind, there are a number of loopholes so it may not
work in all cases, but we actually got them to respond to our wishes! Thank
you to all who wrote.
Just think, every military base, federal building, and National Park to
name a few, is supposed to institute a Bottle Bill. Before they figure out
which loophole to go for, suppose we each wrote a nearby facility manager, and
asked how and when they will be implementing the new (retreaded) rule? At
least if they are inclined to, they can justify the action.
You can find it in the EPA website - it was 5/2/97, 40 CFR Part 244 on
pages 24051-24054. I can send if you wish, I thought it was too long to
broadcast. Sorry, I left the address in the office.

Roger Diedrich


Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 11:40:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: can I sign on?

someone just forwarded me an excerpt from GreenYes Digest. I'd like to
subscribe. Please tell me how. Thanks!
-Connie Cloak, C2: Alternative Services


Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 12:23:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: "David A. Kirkpatrick" <>
Subject: Draft Mandatory Recycling Ordinance

Draft ordinance being developed by the waste reduction committee
of the People's Alliance for consideration by the Durham, NC
City Council. Comments and suggested edits welcome through 5/14/97.


WHEREAS, the state of North Carolina has a 40% per capita waste
reduction goal by the year 2001; and

WHEREAS, Durham has only made partial progress toward this
goal; and

WHEREAS, a new landfill / transfer station will be required of
Durham as of January 1, 1998; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the host neighborhood
and of Durham as a whole to minimize the quantity and
toxicity of solid waste disposed in the landfill thereby
reducing truck traffic, noise, dust and environmental
pollution; and

WHEREAS, the greater the quantities of recyclables recovered in
Durham, the greater the generation of entrepreneurial and job
opportunities for Durham citizens and economic benefits for
the city as a whole; and

WHEREAS, convenient recycling services are provided through
city funding for all Durham residents; and

WHEREAS, voluntary and educational outreach has resulted in
only a fraction of Durham residents taking advantage of the
recycling opportunities provided; and

WHEREAS, all Durham residents and businesses should share in
task of discarding waste in an environmentally and
economically responsible manner; and


1. That as of January 1, 1998, target recyclables shall not
be accepted at any sanitary landfill, temporary transfer
station or solid waste receptacle in the city of Durham.

2. That target recyclables include those items easily
recycled through curbside collection, drop off or other
community collection programs. These items presently include:
recyclable newspaper
glass bottles and jars
steel / tin food cans
aluminum beverage cans
plastic soft drink bottles (PET #1) and plastic milk jugs
and other HDPE #2 plastic bottles
recyclable corrugated cardboard
yard trimmings (grass, leaves, sticks and brush)

3. That as of January 1, 1999, the city shall assess whether recyclable
opportunities have expanded to allow for the expansion of the ban.
Future banned items could include:
vitamin bottles, syrup bottles and other #5 and #7
plastic bottles
milk and juice cartons and juice boxes
plastic six-pack ring beverage carriers
aluminum foil and foil pie pans
glossy magazines and catalogs

4. That a surcharge equal to double the applicable tipping fee shall be
assessed against any person who empties loads containing any amount
of target recyclable into a sanitary landfill or a transfer station.
This surcharge shall be assessed in addition to any applicable
tipping fee. (Did we want to completely delete this?)

5. That any solid waste receptacle containing target recyclables shall
not be collected by city sanitation staff or its contractors. Such
containers shall be tagged with a warning notice regarding compliance
with this resolution. On second violation, any residential containers
may be assessed a $10 penalty and commercial containers may be
assessed a $100 penalty.

6. That the city shall implement an ongoing recycling education program
which will be particularly active from July 1, 1997 until January 1,
1998 on opportunities for recycling, reducing waste, composting,
reuse and on the upcoming implementation of the other sections of
this resolution as of January 1, 1998. The education program
should include notices in city water bills, local media releases,
public events, educational flyers on refuse containers, mention in
Durham s annual solid waste calendar, and citizen and neighborhood

7. That in the months of November and December, solid waste sanitation
staff may place reminder notices on solid waste receptacles regarding
the upcoming ban on target recyclables containing large volumes of
target recyclables.

8. That in the fall of 1997, Durham shall conduct a workshop for large
waste generators and solid waste haulers in the community to inform
them of this resolution and review waste reduction, recycling,
reuse and composting.


Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 10:35:02 -0400
From: "Blair Pollock" <>
Subject: hard to dispose bill in NC Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 23:24:16


Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 08:50:51 -0700 (PDT)
From: "David A. Kirkpatrick" <>
Subject: In Buz: Career Opp's in Zero Waste

See the article "Profiting by Cutting Back" in In Business, March/April
1997, p. 19-21 by Adrienne Touart. The piece describes the growth of Bob
O'Neal's Corporate Recycling Services, Inc. in Washington state. One
excerpt: "O'Neal had achieved local notoriety espousing a 'zero waste'
philosophy at Pay'n Save, A West Cost chain where he served as director of
croporate services. The chain recycled a whopping 92 percent of its solid
waste -- not a small feat with 5,000 employess working in 125 stores with
three distribution centers in five states." In Business is published by JG
Press at 610/967-4135.


Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 17:20:47 -0700 (PDT)
From: "A. Kamijo" <>
Subject: recycling PET-bottle

Hi, I would like to know the system of recycling PET-bottle. Which state
the people concern about recycling? And what kind of activity are held in
the city or State? Also the PET-bottle can rebirth another things? to
What? My English is terrible,but if you know some,please let me


Date: Tue, 13 May 97 01:18:39 PST
Subject: Wants Help Explaining Recycling To Kids

To: Bill Sheehan
From: Jeanne Becker, Freelance Writer
Re: Recycling Information Request for article in Myse

I am on assignment with Myse magazine, a new children's
magazine published by the publishers of Smithsonian Magazine
and Cricket. My assignment is to write a 2,000 word article on the
pros and cons of recycling.

The purpose of the article will not be to discourage kids from
recycling but, rather, to help children realize that complex
environmental problems cannot be solved by simple solutions.
I worked as a recycling and solid waste planning consultant for 15
years and, thus, am very familiar with the issues.

In preparation for this article, I have read publications of Lynn
Scarlett at the Reason Foundation, the 1995 Jeff Bailey Wall Street
Journal article, the 1996 John Tierney New York Times Magazine
article, and responses from the recycling community compiled by
the National Recycling Coalition. This morning I talked with
Mary Lou Van Deventer at Urban Ore and she will be sending me
her position on this issue. I am interested in your opinions about
these publications and similar ones which call into question the
value of municipal recycling.

Given my audience, I am not interested in industrial or heavy
commercial recycling but rather in the types of recycling in which
children are engaged: curbside, dropoff, and school-based
recycling. Whatever information you can share with me will be

Based upon your research, how would you answer this question:
If kids were to spend just one hour a week "protecting the
environment," how should those 60 minutes be spent? Should
they be spent using bikes as transportation, recycling, conserving
water, practicing waste reduction measures, picking up litter,
etc.? I realize that this is an artificial question, but my goal is to
translate complex cost benefit analyses into concepts which kids
aged 10 to 12 can understand

Thank you for your assistance. I look forward to your reply.


Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 07:19:11 -0400 (EDT)
From: Greg Smith <>
Subject: Wants Help Explaining Recycling To Kids

The way you frame the question makes what should be ordinary
actions--riding a bike for transportation and conserving water--seem
extraordinary. Recycling can take a LITTLE more time than just trashing
stuff. But unless the kids would otherwise drive or demand to be driven,
and unless they would be, for example, installing low volume toilets
themselves, I don't think it makes sense to give eco-brownie points some
activities. Unless you explicitly spin it a certain way, like "Many
things we do every day help protect the environment...."

Greg Smith
|| Internet:


Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 12:23:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: "David A. Kirkpatrick" <>
Subject: What would it cost Coke & Pepsi to do the right thing?

Typo correction on my previous excerpt from Plastic Recycling Update:

>Editorial Comment: What would it cost Coca-Cola and Pepsi to put 25 percent
recycled content in their bottles? The price premium for PET PCR is about 6
cents per pound more than virgin resin. However, only 25 percent PCR is
blended with virgin resin to make recycled-content bottles, which reduces
the effective price premium to 1-5 ** SHOULD READ "1.5" ** cents per pound.
With virgin resin selling for about 45 cents per pound, the premium on raw
material cost is about 3.3 percent to add PCR...

ALSO "PCR" = post-consumer resin.


Date: (null)
From: (null)


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #107