GreenYes Digest V98 #234

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:25:27 -0500

GreenYes Digest Sat, 7 Nov 98 Volume 98 : Issue 234

Today's Topics:
Call for Motions for Upcoming NRC Board meeting
How to Give Away $
The Kids Get It! Zero Waste Committee

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Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 20:56:35 EST
Subject: Call for Motions for Upcoming NRC Board meeting

The National Recycling Coalition Board will be having its first full Board
meeting since the National Recycling Congress in Albuquerque on December 11,
1998 in Washington, DC. Agenda items for this meeting are due to NRC by
November 11, 1998. The primary focus of this December Board meeting is
expected to be the Annual Workplan and Budget for NRC. It will also be an
opportunity for Board members to get together to work on different committee

Of particular interest to me will be the status of plans for new agreements
with state recycling organizations, future plans to develop new policies and
procedures for technical councils and alliances, plans for the 1999 National
Recycling Congress, updates on America Recycles Day and the National Recycling
Challenge, updates on the Policy Committee work on landfill regulations and
plans for NRC regional conferences/workshops around the US.

Other Board meetings scheduled for 1999 are:

March 5, 1999 (location to be determined, selected by competitive bid, from
recycling organizations proposing to host this meeting)

September 25, 1999 in Cincinnatti, OH, in conjunction with the National
Recycling Congress.

Agenda items and motions for action of the NRC Board require a description of
the issue or circumstance the motion is intended to address and how it impacts
NRC's mission, membership, operational effectiveness, or long-term
sustainability, and the budgetary impact to NRC and how that will be

If you have any motion you would like me to propose for this upcoming Board
meeting (or subsequent ones) or issues you would like me to address, please
email that to me by November 10, 1998.


Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485


Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 16:16:04 EST
Subject: How to Give Away $

Dear Stephen,
Chris Cloutier from MN forwarded to me your questions for another
perspective. I run a plastics injection molding company that works
exclusively with waste plastics that are not normally recycled. I have had
lots of experience with the California Waste Burocrazies, have been a member
of the Board of Directors for the Calif. Resource Recovery Assoc. For four
years, and give frequent talks at lots of conferences.
Anyway I've inserted my comments amongst your questions below. Each one of
my lines will begin with "---".

Stephen Suess

Thanks for the heads up on Time Magazine.

I thought, based on our conversations at NRC, that you might enjoy answering

some of Steve's questions. He certainly could use a perspective other than

that of other state bureaucrats.

Chris (

> ----------

> From: Long-EQE, Stephen[]

> Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 1998 2:40 PM

> To: Multiple recipients of list

> Subject: Request for assistance in development of grant program


> Request: I am writing to request that administrators of state business

> assistance grant programs provide some examples of paperwork used for

> proposal evaluation and contracting. THANKS!


> Suggestion on Responses/Future: I do not expect anyone to answer the

> numerous questions directly and hope that a variety of different states

> forms will address most of my concerns. Responses can be sent directly to
me. However, evaluation and contracting issues may be appropriate for

> subsequent editions of the JTR Tool Kit.


> Description of grant program: DEP's Recycling Industries Reimbursement

> Credit (RIRC) provides incentives worth up to $50,000 (feedstock use,

> equipment lease, research & development, prototype development and sales)
directly to companies to either establish or expand their use or processing of
recycled feedstocks in Massachusetts. RIRC proposals are required to address
technical and economic barriers of using difficult to recycle materials
(carpet, electronics, food waste, mercury-bearing wastes, mixed color glass
cullet, mixed paper, mixed plastics 3-7, paint, paper aseptic cartons and
tires). Companies will be reimbursed to insure accountability.


> QUESTIONS: (I've attached a section of the application below this section

> which attempts to require applicants to answer most of the questions. You

> may want to read through it before you read the questions.)


> Evaluation Questions: I've drafted an evaluation form which mirrors the

> grant application form so reviewers can screen out ineligible proposals

> and score eligible proposals. How do other states answer the following due
diligence questions:

1) The grant is intended to act as an incentive and not a subsidy. How can
DEP insure that the company has not already used (or plans to use) its own
resources to accomplish the same goal?
--- So what? If a company wants to do good, why not reward them. Whether
it is an incentive or a subsidy really is irrelevant as both are money into
the companies pocket. The goal is to get businesses to do good and since the
only thing a business really understands is money, giving them money is the
way to get their attention. This is not a new idea. We already reward
companies in a big way for merely do what they do as described in detail by
this weeks Time Magazine. According to Time, every wage earner in America
works two weeks per year to support Corporate Welfare that primarily goes to
big business with no net gain to the country or the overall economy. And the
Time article doesn't even address the trillions in virgin materials subsidies
we given to business over the last hundred years. If you ask me, government
needs to stop giving money away for things that are bad for the environment,
for things that do not help the whole, and ought to start giving some of that
money away to inspire good things to happen! If you want to be really popular
give some of the saved money back to the tax payers in the form of reduced tax
levels. See Paul Hawkens Ecology of Commerce for more details on this.
But to answer your question more from the questioners point of view: The
very act of asking the question lets me know that you (the granting agency)
does not feel confident in your ability to evaluate businesses. I've found
governmental people tend not have developed this ability, but frankly it
doesn't matter because someone will always succeed in deceiving you. So it
come back to the fact that the best system is one where you do not need to
look at a grant recipient so closely.

2) How do we insure that the company is fiscally sound?
--- If you review their tax returns, inspect their accountant you can learn
a lot, but there is never a guarantee that any business really is fiscally
sound and will remain so. If you deal with a big business the particular
division you are dealing with becomes even harder to evaluate and the
probability of that division being closed or moved is no less risky than is
the success rate of what might appear a flaky small business.
Again, I believe government needs to read some of those statistics it
collects and recognize that 93% of all businesses are gone within ten years,
that most subsidies and grants do not bring back the return expected, and that
this is just fine. Just as government supports R&D in academia with the full
recognition that most of the money spent this way might as well be flushed
down the toilet, in this case government recognizes that what does pay back
does so in sufficiently huge ways as to make the whole thing worthwhile. I
guess the real issue is that in academia you are giving money to what are
essentially salaried employees who work for nonprofit educational
institutions, whereas giving money to for-profit business just doesn't seem so
kosher because you appear to be lining some fat cats pocket. But lets be
real, it happens every day!

> Contract Questions: I am seeking "boiler plate contract language which I

> can adapt to Massachusetts' requirements and the program's needs. I am

> hoping to find contract language which addresses the following issues:

> accountability, site visits, confidentiality, reimbursement process,

> expenditure approval process and activity remaining in-state. Thanks.

> 1) How do we insure that the activity or equipment will remain in MA?

> 2) What reporting is required? Data? Frequency?

> 3) How is company confidentiality maintained?

> 4) How many site visits are conducted?

> 5) What are some escape clauses if the company does not honor the

> contract?

> 6) How do we insure that the recycled feedstock is actually used?
--- I've found that granting organizations can come up with all kinds of
complicated and impossible protocols and forms to fill out. Most businesses
react by finding out what the reader of that form wants and simply put that
down no matter how absurd it may be. I am not proposing that you just throw
out money and expect nothing back. I am proposing that you keep things as
simple and easy to measure as is possible.
For example you could pay businesses for every unit of recycled material they
use. You can set up an as simple as possible standardized, statewide counting
system that is easy to audit, and inter grate this into the income tax system.
(I oppose tax credits because most small start up recycling based mfgs. Don't
make any money.... Tax credits only feed those who really do not need the
help.) This is akin to paying farmers not to grow so many tons of wheat, or
giving an oil company so many dollars per barrel pumped as a depletion
If you want to support the development of new technology you might want to
promise full funding but only hand it out in pieces as certain targets are
achieved. This is tricky and requires you have some smart people with
experience watching for you. Alternatively you can fund it through
universities but first you need to make them think this is sexy stuff, and you
might want to propose that they get royalties on any technologies they
develop. I worry that by helping individual companies to develop proprietary
technology you are impeding the spread of that technology and thus are not
getting your monies worth out of it.

> APPLICATION SECTION 2: Proposal Narrative

> In a separate attachment, fully describe the proposed activity for which

> you are seeking funding. This section should not exceed three pages. The

> eligible proposals will be scored according to how well the narrative

> addresses the following criteria:

2.1 How does the proposal address DEP's goals relative to: Potential market
impact: The total weight or volume of feedstock to be used and the value added
per ton. Investment justification: The increase in recycling in proportion to
the cost of the grant. Financial viability: The ability to make investments
and be reimbursed for expenses. Accountability: The budget coincides with the
amount requested under the grant. The costs identified can be distinguished
from other activities going on at the plant. Qualifications: The track
record and skills of the project leader(s).

2.2 How does the proposal address recycling market development goals
relative to: Technical Feasibility: The proposal is likely to accomplish the
proposed results. Marketability: The buyer or a market is identified for
your company's proposed end-product. Sustainability: The proposal provides
evidence that a RIRC grant is expected to be economically sustainable by
increasing the company's long-term interest in recycling by: a) lowering
feedstock or processing cost OR b) increasing sales volume or sales margin.
Financial Leverage: The proposal/company demonstrates support it can provide
and/or leverage support from outside sources (for example: private entities
such as trade associations or banks and public entities such as federal or
state government): a) financial support (such as matching contributions,
loans or grants); b) in-kind support (such as feedstock, labor, property,
etc.); and/or c) supplier or sales contracts and commitments.

--- These are good questions that a granting agency needs to have clear
ideas on before handing out a nickel. My concern is that this all sounds
somewhat vague, and to the experienced it sounds like you are looking for
specific answers. An inexperienced applicant will most likely fail this part
of the test or will not apply at all. The successful applicant will hire
someone, or make friends with someone in the department so that hey will learn
what it is that you want to hear, and they will give you those answers.
Remember politicians like to "point with pride", and thus many of these laws
are written with that in mind. Even the Times article points out how much of
corporate welfare is based on promises that make politicians look good but all
to often don't deliver the real thing.

These are not easy issues and I apologize for my all too brief and borderline
flippant answers, but I do believe that all too often we do the wrong things
in reaching for laudable goals and that an openness for different ideas is
something we need these days. After all the free market works because it is
the market that tests our methods and not the political process. Government
should see it role as setting the rules for the market place so that good
things happen, but it should let the market place figure out the most
efficient path towards those goals.

Anyway, Good Luck on you program

Stephen Suess


Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 14:34:44 EST
Subject: The Kids Get It! Zero Waste Committee

Hi Bill,

We may have that might be of help. In 91-93 we initiated a zerowaste program
for high schools in the King County (WA) school system. It was initiated with
a "zero in on waste" slogan and poster. Implemented vermi-composting of
cafeteria food prep wastes at one school, produced a teacher's guide and lots
of other activities. Jim Jensen managed production of the teacher's guide and
set up the worm bins for food waste.

Jeffrey Morris
Sound Resource Management (SRMG)
1477 Elliott Evenue West
Seattle, WA 98119

voice: 206-352-9565
fax: 206-352-9566
website (under revision at the moment) or

The address and phone numbers are new as we just moved from 119 Pine Street
and 206-622-9454 at the beginning of November.


End of GreenYes Digest V98 #234