GreenYes Digest V98 #170

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GreenYes Digest Thu, 27 Aug 98 Volume 98 : Issue 170

Today's Topics:
GreenYes Digest V98 #169
Help on plastic health hazards....
Planet GSA (2 msgs)
Re[2]: Planet GSA
Used Auto Oil Filters (2 msgs)

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Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 08:55:45 -0500
From: "David L. Turner" <>
Subject: GreenYes Digest V98 #169

Are all telephone, televisions, and computers using these
materials or just some? Which ones do and how can I tell?
How much exposure do I need to get brain damage? Am I
getting it now by typing this message on my computer and
ansewering my phone? How are they released? Does it
off-gas into the air, leach out into landfills and then
migrate into drinking water? Can I get exposed by touching
the plastics? To how much?

Flame retardants are used in many materials other than
plastics and I am sure that many other devices (modems,
printers, video games, VCRs, kitchen appliances,...) use
the same plastics or retardants. National and international
safety standards specifiy flame retardant characteristics
of many devices.

I believe it is possible that these materials do cause the
problems claimed, but without some more detailed
information, it is hard to take this kind of announcement
seriously. I need more details about what I should
consider doing and not doing.

The people we need most to convince of the environmental
degradation that our use of technologies and lifestyles
cause do not respond favorably to this kind of claim.
The-World-Is-Ending-And-We're-All-Going-To-Die approach
does not inform, it only frightens or is dismissed as
extreme and not worthy of consideration.

These devices are ubiquitous in many countries. People are
not going to stop answering their phones or watching TV
based on this kind of approach. I think the material
broadcast on TV is a far greater danger than the material it
is made of. That stuff DOES turn brains to mush, impair
thinking, and damage children.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I didn't get a harrumph from that man!
The Gov in "Blazing Saddles"


David Turner
YSI Safety & Environmental Coordinator
1725 Brannum Lane
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
Phone 1-937-767-1685 ext. 270
Facmetaphor: 1-937-767-9353


Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 09:53:03 -0400
From: "Fritz R. Franke" <>
Subject: Help on plastic health hazards....

To Muna Lakhani and other interested readers,
Over a period of time, I have collected info on the plastic industry. When I
was running the Environmental programs at the University of Virginia, we
were one of the first universities to get hit with the drink machine
conversion from aluminum to plastic. I gathered information on plastics and
successfully stopped the conversion. I have continued collecting info on
the subject. Some of it is a bit old, and the sources untraceable, but it
might also jar someone else's memory to help Muna with this project.

After Muna's letter below, are some excerpts from some of the info I've
collected. It's quite a bit of info, so for those not interested, hit the
delete key. I hope this info helps Muna or anyone else. Fritz Franke

At 09:44 AM 8/26/98 +0200, you wrote:
>Greetings from the Rainbow Nation!
>I am urgently requiring information, websites, etc. that show why plastics
>and plastic packaging harm human health - for example, I remember some info
>on PET bottles with plastic drinking straws releasing toxins, but cannot
>find it.
>Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedule, as I wish to respond to
>our South African Plastics federation on this issue soon.
>Many thanx and kind regards,
>Muna Lakhani
>South Africa

From: Susan K. Snow
Subject: Re:Bullets? Seeds? Hormone disrupting chemicals in plastics
Date: Wednesday, April 23, 1997 3:18PM

Hormone disrupting chemicals don't just affect females of various
species. They also affect males. For more information, see:
Introduction to hormone toxicity at:
Notice, Dr. Michael Warhurst has a section on phthalates--plasticizers
that are in some plastics such as vinyl chloride (PVC), modified
polystyrene, and possibly others. However, phthalates are also in some
pesticides --that kill insects, weeds, and possibly fungi.

But, that is not the only chemical found to disrupt the endocrine
system. Chemicals in liquid soap and detergents, and a variety of other
uses contain alkyphenols, which Dr. Warhurst says are estrogenic.

Bisphenol A is also a plasticizer and is called bpa-polycarbonate. If
you buy your bottled water (because your tap water is poisoned from
leaking landfills and agricultural/lawn care chemicals) and your bottled
water comes in 5 gallon plastic bottles, chances are it contains BPA.

For Immediate Release Contact: Pat Franklin
July 16, 1997 202/797-6839

Research Group Bursts Soft Drink Industry's Bubble
Soft Drink Container Recycling Rate Drops Again

WASHINGTON, DC (July 16, 1997) -- The Container Recycling Institute (CRI)
today accused the soft drink industry of distorting the soda container
recycling numbers released yesterday by their trade association. "We hate to
burst the soft drink industry's bubble," said Pat Franklin, Executive
Director of CRI, "but the numbers they released yesterday are flat out wrong."

In a press release issued yesterday, the National Soft Drink Association
(NSDA) claimed that a record number of soda containers were recycled last
year. But, according to CRI, the number of soda containers recycled in 1996
was exactly the same as 1995 -- 48.4 containers -- and the recycling rate
for soda cans and bottles actually decreased.

"Whether the discrepancy was a manipulation of the numbers or simply an
oversight, NSDA should issue an immediate retraction," said Franklin. "The
public should know that soft drink container recycling is declining, and
that the recycling rate has dropped for the third year in a row." Franklin
attributes the drop in soft drink container recycling to the drop in PET
soda bottle recycling, which fell more than 17 percent last year. "Because
1 out of 5 soft drink containers is a PET bottle, even a small discrepancy
in the PET numbers skews the entire calculation," she said.

Franklin explained that the American Plastic Council (APC), this year,
changed the way they calculate the recycling rate for PET bottles. They now
use the number of pounds of bottles collected, whereas in the past they used
the number of pounds of bottles processed. The new method was adopted by
APC, because it is the method used by other industries.

"Using the old method for 1995 made it look like their was an increase in
PET soda bottle recycling, when actually there was a decrease," said
Franklin. "When you are measuring trends," she said, "you have to be
consistent in your method of calculation, otherwise you end up comparing
apples and oranges." Using the same method for both years, the number of
soda containers recycled in 1995 was 48.4 billion soda containers--exactly
the number recycled in 1996, and the recycling rate declined from 58.5
percent to 57.6 percent.

NSDA credits comprehensive recycling programs for the high soft drink
container recycling rate. But, based on data in the same U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency study referenced by NSDA, CRI estimates that soft drink
and beer containers are recycled at an average rate of 78 percent in states
where they have a deposit value, and only 26 percent in the other 40 states.
"The credit for the relatively high levels of soft drink and beer container
recycling is due to the high rates of recovery in the ten bottle bill
states," said Franklin, "not curbside recycling programs."

# # #

Soft Drink Containers
1995-96 Recycling Figures

Total Units Shipped
(Billion Units)

1995 1995 1996
Aluminum Cans 64.6 64.6 64.3
Glass Bottles 2.2 2.2 1.0
PET Bottles 16.0 16.0 18.7
TOTAL 82.8 82.8 84.0

Total Units Recycled
(billions of units)

1995* 1995** 1996
Aluminum Cans 40.2 40.2 40.8
Glass Bottles 0.8 0.8 0.4
PET Bottles 6.6(old method) 7.4(new method) 7.2(new method)
TOTAL 47.5 48.4 48.4

Post-Consumer Recycling Rate

1995* 1995** 1996
Aluminum Cans 62.2 62.2 63.5
Glass Bottles 35.0 35.0 36.0
PET Bottles 41.0(old method)46.0(new method)38.6 (new method)
TOTAL 57.4 58.5 57.6

* Old method of calculating PET bottle recycling
**New method of calculating PET bottle recycling

Date: Wed, 11 Dec 1996 15:41:41 -0800
Subject: National Boycott of PETE

Its Time To Push Alternative Containers
by George Dreckmann

PETE, once the star of plastic recycling, has fallen upon hard times.
Prices have plummeted, markets are disappearing, and some recyclers are
stuck with loads of material that they cannot move. While this sounds
suspiciously like the problems that plagued newspaper recycling a few months
ago, the problem with PETE runs much deeper and its implication for
recycling programs that accept plastic containers are greater.

Why has happened to PETE? Its not the economy, stupid. Its the stupid
actions of major chemical companies who are flooding the market with virgin
resin and destroying the markets for recycled PETE. This was the message
that four plastic industry insiders brought to a forum on PETE recycling
sponsored by the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance on December
5th in St. Paul.

Please wait until I go through my entire presentation before you slit
your wrists. Dennis Sabourin, Wellman Inc.

During 1996 major chemical companies including, DOW, Shell, Eastman and
Hoechst Celanese have greatly increased their production of virgin PETE.
This increase in production has far outpaced the growing demand for their
material. Rather than reduce production, these multi-billion dollar giants
have continued to produce millions of pounds of excess resin.

The chemical companies aren't slowing down, said Peter Lobin of RIB
Corporation, a plastic recycler in Jefferson Wisconsin. They are dumping
trainloads of material on the market.

The virgin PETE that is being dumped on the market is being sold at
rock bottom prices. Prices usually reserved for resin that did not meet
specifications, so called off spec or wide spec resin. Where virgin resin
may cost $.30-.45 per pound to produce, the chemical companies are now
dumping perfectly good resin on the market at off spec prices of $.18-.25
per pound.

Since it cost $.25 -.35 per pound to convert post consumer PETE bottles
into flake or pellets, PETE recyclers cannot compete with the resin being
dumped on the market. A practice which is likely to continue through 1997.

Markets Are Vanishing

The new economics of PETE have forced most PETE processors, like RIB
Corp., out of the PETE business. According to Lobin there used to be 50-60
reclaimers like RIB in PETE. That number has dropped to 20 at least 8 of
those firms may not be in business long.

In addition to the loss of reclaimers, recycled PETE has lost most of
the strapping market. According to Larry Koester of PETCO USA, the
producers of strapping have started using virgin resin and stopped taking
almost all recycled PETE. The strapping market was the primary market for
green PETE bottles. Without the strapping market, it won't be long before
green PETE bottles begin to pile up on the loading dock of recyclers around
the country.

The Pile of PETE Bottles Is Getting Bigger

As recycling markets are disappearing, the volume of PETE plastic
bottles is growing. There will be some 8.5 billion single serve PETE bottles
sold in 1996 and billions more larger bottles. The volume of single serve
PETE containers is expected to grow by 78% annually according to Mr. Sabourin.

These single serve containers are replacing the more easily recyclable
aluminum can and glass bottle. The small PETE bottle is also being sold at
venues such as ball parks where collection can be difficult and costly.
However, since the plastic industry has created the expectation n the part
of consumers that we can recycle PETE, communities will be under pressure to
recycle PETE at these public locations.

Time For Minimum Content Legislation

One answer to the problems of PETE recycling is for recyclers and
consumers to push for minimum content laws for PETE. Among targets for
minimum content legislation are strapping, carpeting, and beverage
containers. The technology for adding recycled materials to all of these
items exists and was price competitive prior to the current overproduction

In fact, Coca-Cola is using recycled content bottles in a number of
international markets including Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and
Switzerland. However, the soft drink giant has no recycled content bottles
on the shelves in the US at this time. Neither does Pepsi, which combined
with Coke is responsible for using over half of all PETE bottles in the US.

( In addition to pushing to minimum content laws, recyclers should
contact their members of Congress and the US Senate and ask them to prod the
FDA to speed up its process for approving recycled content PETE food
packaging. This will assist packagers in meeting minimum content
requirements and provide some lower costs recycled PETE alternatives.)

Putting On The Pressure

In the late 1980's we were able to hold a political gun to the head of
the plastic industry they responded with some efforts to make their products
recyclable. However, now that the gun is back in the holster, we are seeing
the plastic industry in full retreat from its recycling commitment.

The national recycling goal of 25% has been abandoned. Heavy lobbying
has killed California's minimum content law. The PETE recycling market has
been destroyed by a gross oversupply of virgin resin with no change in
sight. The plastic public relations blitz that created the public
impression that plastic could and should be recycled has been dropped in
favor of ads that simply state, Ain't plastic great.

Well, I've had it with low prices, bulky bottles that take up space on
my trucks, chemical companies dumping resin and high paid, industry funded
lobbyists out to stifle our efforts. Think the only way to put pressure on
the plastic industry is to call for a consumer boycott of plastic soft drink
and water bottles until minimum content laws have been enacted.

There are currently recycling friendly alternatives to plastic bottles
on store shelves throughout the country. We should encourage consumers to
purchase aluminum cans and glass bottles while leaving plastic bottles on
the shelve.

The Time to start the consumer boycott and call for minimum content
laws is NOW. I've lined up several people in Wisconsin who are willing to
call for action and I'd like to see people involved from all over the
country. It might be nice for us to all act together and call for the
boycott on December 20th, at the height of the holiday buying period.

Please contact me and let me know what you think. You can reach me at
608-267-2626 or e-mail to

from various sources:
* Plastic cannot really be recycled. It can only be "downcycled".
Downcycled means that when a plastic bottle is melted down and sent to
be re-processed it will not be made back into a plastic bottle, but
instead will make up part of a lower grade plastic item such as a park
bench or plastic pipe. New virgin plastic will be manufactured to make
a new plastic bottle. Aluminum in contrast can be recycled over and
over again into the same product.

* If different plastic types are used in the manufacturing of downcycled
plastic products they can give off toxic emissions.

* Recycling alumnium into new cans uses 95% less energy than making it
from virgin bauxite ore. The Reynolds Aluminum home page has more
information on the life cycle of an aluminum can and the efficiency of
recycling it.

* The manufacturing processing of virgin plastic requires immense
amounts of petroleum. In 1987, according the book How to make the
World a Better Place the United States used almost 1,000,000,000
barrels of petroleum - enough to meet the nation's demand for imported
oil for five months - just to manufacture plastics.

* The plastic bottles that major vendors, such as Coca Cola and Pepsico,
are providing contain 8 more ounces and as a consequence they will
charge the consumer more to buy them. Prices will increase from 60
cents to $1.00.

* Contrary to what these vendors may tell you, there is NO SHORTAGE of
aluminum in this country.

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 11:52:05 -0600
From: RecycleWorlds <>
Subject: Plastic Prices

According to the March 9, 1998 Plastic News, between 1996 and 1997,
the proportion of postconsumer HDPE sold to bottle grade end markets
decreased by 5.4 percentage points and the proportion to plastic
lumber and pallets increased by 5.5%.

This is a very, very unfortunate trend because of its serious adverse
impact on the price that recycling programs will receive for the
plastic bottles.

A trended analysis that we have done indicates that -- after
subtracting for the 8 cents/pd. cost to pelletize sometimes required
by bottle markets -- the difference in the price paid by the high vs
the low end markets is 10-15 cents/pd.

Presumably, the downgrading that these aggregate figures show,
suggests that either (1) bottle makers are feeling less pressure to
use recycled content; or (2) the quality of the bottles collected by
recycling programs is declining. Since the price of HDPE postconsumer
and virgin was higher in 1997 than 1996, one would not expect that the
difference is accounted for economic reasons.

That's it. Good luck.
Fritz Franke
Fritz R. Franke

Check out Earth Systems Inc.


Date: 26 Aug 98 09:39:00 -0400
Subject: Planet GSA

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
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Add to Planet GSA rollouts:

The Caribbean Property Management Center (CPMC), including Puerto Rico, the
Degautau Federal Building and G.S.A. Center and the U. S. Virgin Islands, St.
Croix and
St. Thomas have planned mini Planet GSAs for each location for September 24,



Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 16:45:46 -0400
From: Cindy Shea <>
Subject: Planet GSA

I think Planet GSA is a great idea and I'd like to discuss it on our
website as a potential model for state
and local governments to use in their purchasing decisions, fleet
management, building practices, etc. I've called Fleming James and Sandy
Jones in Atlanta and read the PRNewswire release. Unfortunately, I still
don't have a good feel for where one goes to obtain detailed information
on the best products, and sources thereof. Given the rapidly changing
nature of these markets, does GSA plan to manage a website with current
information? Will this be available to an audience larger than GSA
employees and federal office buildings? Please advise. It's silly for
people to reinvent the wheel if you've already come up with good, usable

Cindy Pollock Shea


Date: 26 Aug 98 12:48:00 -0400
Subject: Re[2]: Planet GSA

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Disposition: inline

Great. Can you share an additional information you may have on this?
For example, how do they plan to kick the program off in the field office?
Who do they plan to involve, and will they need any assistance?


Jackie Robinson
_______________________ Reply Separator _______________________
Subject: Re:Planet GSA
Author: Horace Morancie at gsa-2p_2
Date: 8/26/98 9:39 AM
Add to Planet GSA rollouts:

The Caribbean Property Management Center (CPMC), including Puerto Rico, the
Degautau Federal Building and G.S.A. Center and the U. S. Virgin Islands, St.
Croix and
St. Thomas have planned mini Planet GSAs for each location for September 24,



Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 10:20:25 -0400
From: "Cheri Kennedy"<>
Subject: Used Auto Oil Filters

Is there a recycle market for automobile oil filters?

Cheri L. Kennedy
Naval Surface Warfare Center
Dahlgren, VA 22448


Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 09:56:59 -0600
From: "John Reindl" <>
Subject: Used Auto Oil Filters

Hi Cheri -

Yes, the steel mills seem most interested, but foundries are also a
market. The Steel Recycling Institute can help identify end markets.

Often, the markets will want the oil and possibly the paper filter

Some processors crush the filter to remove as much oil as possible.
Others will shred the filters, removing both the oil and the paper filter

Hope this helps!


> From: "Cheri Kennedy"<>
> To:
> Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 10:20:25 -0400
> Subject: Used Auto Oil Filters

> Is there a recycle market for automobile oil filters?
> Cheri L. Kennedy
> Naval Surface Warfare Center
> Dahlgren, VA 22448
(608)267-1533 - fax
(608)267-8815 - phone


End of GreenYes Digest V98 #170