Re: Plastic/PET products vs safe containers (glass, stainless

David Haskell (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:26:18 -0500

I'm enjoying the fruits of my first "posted" message ... the diologue
generated has been enlightening. With regrds to Pip Russell's comments:
I would have thought that any product which occupied 7-9% of a landfill
was signicicant. I'm not sure if Pip is refering directly to PET or all
plastics. Interestingly as we Zero Wasters succeed in approaching our
target - the intractables begin to take on a greater percentage
component. With the diversion of organic material - paper - inorganic
recovery items - construction wastes - inerts - along with the
traditional recyclants what's left takes on greater importance. PET
falls into this category in New Zealand - The glut of PET in a market of
reduced demand has suppressed the international comodity price for PET to
a new low level of $140 (according to Peter Thorn of Ak. Paper Reclaim).
Most PET is recovered via domestic kerbside schemes which cost twice that
amount to recover plastic product - PET being the most difficult because
it is so hard to bale. Pip may be right when he states PET/Plastic take
up only 7-9% (actually its 13% in the Waikato) - but that is by weight.
The figure doubles to 26% when volume is considered - and volume is the
way landfills operate. Far from Ho-Hum and insignificant.

"Cradle to grave" is not good enough and reflects linear thinking. The
Zero Waste slogan is "From conception to reincarnation". Pip's defense of
plastics has a ring similiar to the slogans I use to hear as a child
about the "Peaceful Atom". I know from my own experience that most
chemicals - let alone the mixing of different chemicals - are safe until
proven harmful. I personally do not disagree with practicing precaution -
it is important to be sure of facts before going public.