Zero Waste & Producer Responsibility (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:12:07 -0500

Let me summarize my concerns. I apologize to those who are tired of all the
talk, but this discussion is really important. The first steps of any
organization can guarantee its success or doom it to failure. Also, we may
have two organizations here (not one), that are taking very different paths
achieve Zero Waste. Some of us do not support what appears to be a growing
anti-business agenda within
GRRN. It might be better that we form a separate organization, but continue
to use the GreenYes listserve to share info.

GRRN has already taken a very public first step (the campaign against Coke)
as a result of a steering committee decision. Myself and some others at
Eagle Rock were not included in the decision making process and did not
support this move. We saw it as negative first step and an unfortunate
reinforcement of the public's view of the typical environmentalist as being
anti-business. GRRN is composed o
f environmentalists and recycling businesses who came together to promote
Zero Waste, not necessarily to attack business. We expressed our sentiments
to the GRRN leadership at Eagle Rock, but took no other action.

Now, many in GRRN want Producer Responsibility (PR) to be our next step. The
PR resolution does not even mention Zero Waste or waste elimination. It
merely shifts the financial burden of waste disposal from government to
business. It is punitive. It gives no further information on what comes
next. It leaves the business, government, and the public in a huge vacuum of

How does PR work? Is there a plan? Who's going to provide the leadership?
What are the rules? Who's going to make the rules? Who's in charge of
enforcement? Are businesses supposed to know what's expected of them through
osmosis or divine inspiration?

The Zero Waste Resolution/Campaign calls for the creation of a government
plan to eliminate waste (rather than the current use of recycling goals),
with significant emphasis on PR. Zero Waste/Discharge/Emissions is a concept
that has already been accepted by many in the business community and
government (i.e., Canberra, UN's ZERI, Dupont, Interface, etc.) It now needs
to take on a more definite sh
ape, which includes acceptance among the general public, as well as
enforcement under federal and state law.

Can we support two plans/resolutions? Maybe. Many of us understand the need
to spread the concept of PR. However, it will be very difficult for us to
attach our names & organizations to it if PR shifts the entire financial
burden of waste disposal onto business, does not mention government's role,
does not include a Zero Waste (waste elimination) component, and does not
provide some information on
how it will work.

Lynn Landes

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