GreenYes Digest V98 #152

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GreenYes Digest Wed, 5 Aug 98 Volume 98 : Issue 152

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GreenYes Digest V98 #146
Playa Vista Recycles Almost 90 Percent of Demolished...
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Date: Tue, 04 Aug 1998 19:32:28 -0600
From: Katharine Bennett <>
Subject: GreenYes Digest V98 #146

A BIG thank you to all that helped us win!

Non-profit, mission-driven recycling has scored a major victory in
Colorado and reveals lessons for the grassroots recyclers of the nation.
<bold>Eco-Cycle</bold>, the largest nonprofit recycler in the country,
has prevailed in

a hard-fought battle for survival by winning the contract to operate the
new MRF planned for Boulder County, Colorado (pop. 280,000).

On Wednesday July 1, the Boulder County Recycling and Composting
Authority (BCRCA) voted unanimously to begin negotiations with
Eco-Cycle to help design and operate a new recycling facility for the
county. Then on July 15, the BCRCA voted to begin negotiations for a
sole-source contract to design and build the facility with Taylor-Ball
(Construction), RRT (MRF design) and SEA Architects.

The last few months of the selection process has been one of ups and
downs for the Authority and the bidders.

In May, Eco-Cycle had been ranked by the BCRCA consultant RW Beck as last
out of three bidders, despite the act that its bid was the lowest of the
three by $7 million. The BCRCA was poised and ready to negotiate a
contract with the highest bidder ($12 million), Western Disposal
Services, a Boulder-based trash hauler. Eco- Cycle's bid was labeled
"deeply flawed."

What turned it around? "Time and sunshine," says Eco-Cycle Executive
Director Eric Lombardi. The consultants valuation was, in our opinion,
incomplete, inaccurate and biased and needed to be re-worked or rejected.
An unusual step had been taken by the BCRCA which was the start of many
problems, the bids by the three vendors (Eco-Cycle, FCR and Western
Disposal) had been made public within 24 hours of their submission!!!
Thus, the BCRCA Board decided later that the consultant couldn't ask
"clarifying" questions to the bidders (a standard practice), and their
evaluation was limited to assessing only what was written and what they
"thought" the vendorse were proposing. On top of that serious problem, a
second mistake was made (and later confirmed by the BCRCA lawyer) that
BECK had been told NOT to evaluate the 11 options which Eco-Cycle had
attached to our base bid, even though the RFP had "encouraged" the
bidders to create options which enhance the project!!

When it became evident that the BCRCA was willing to overspend tax money
and cause the demise of Eco-Cycle, Boulder County recyclers sat up and
paid attention. Hundreds found their voices and made themselves heard! On
May 17th, when the Authority was to have announced its selection of
Western Disposal, more than three hundred Boulder County residents
attended a public hearing, protesting the rankings and voicing confidence
in Eco-Cycle's bid. Eric Lombardi made an impassioned plea for the
Authority to NOT use the consultants report as the basis for their
decision, and to delay their choice long enough to receive clarifying
information from all three of the vendors. The Authority listened and
postponed making a final decision, until after a public "clarifying"
session on a Saturday could take place.

In the next two weeks that followed, hundreds of letters appeared on the
editorial pages of local newspapers, all in support of Eco-Cycle. A
citizens group launched a petition drive and gathered over 6,000
signatures in ONE MONTH which demanded that Eco-Cycle be given the
contract and protesting the Authority's willingness to negotiate with the
highest bidder and ignore the role Eco-Cycle plays in Boulder County.

On the day of the clarifying meeting, a real bombshell dropped. Even
though Eco-Cycle and numerous citizens had protested inconsistencies with
Western Disposal's proposed annual operating costs, no action was taken.
There was a $800,000 mistake (annual understatement) which had been
missed or overlooked by the consultant that had ranked the three bids.
When a local newspaper pursued this issue, the public really began to
howl. Western eventually admitted a "potential mistake" and at the
Saturday meeting told the Authority that they couldn't stand behind their
original proposal.

The Western bid was widely regarded as dead at that point, and Eco-Cycle
was now Number 2, behind North Carolina-based FCR (whose bid was $3.8
million more than Eco-Cycle's). However, the recently announced purchase
by KTI of FCR became an issue because KTI had never gone through the
"pre-qualification" steps, and

the Authority knew nothing about them. In addition, concerns were raised
about the FCR "public place" design (which was ranked last)...

On June 17, BCRCA threw out all three bids, opening the door for them to
chose a vendor and sole-source the contract. On July 1 BCRCA voted to
design and build the facility, and to sole-source the processing contract
with Eco-Cycle. Additionally, the Authority agreed to find a way to house
and fund Eco-Cycle's annual expenditures of a quarter of a million
dollars for its award-winning educational programs and publications.

Eco-Cycle's victory in Boulder County is a victory for non-profit,
mission-driven recycling. We were the lucky one. Too many of our
non-profit brothers and sisters have not survived this process in recent
years, and recycling and the environment suffer because of it.

A major lesson for us all is that community recycling is, at its core, a
social and political issue... no matter how "businesslike" we have all
become, (by necessity, which I heartily support!), it is critical to
maintain your roots and connection with your supporters... keep the
membership lists growing, don't stop the newsletter, find money for that
block-leader program, stay active in the local schools and keep your
citizen supporters engaged in your mission by constantly creating new

On May 13, our death sentence was delivered in the consultants report and
was headlines the next day... we had only 13 days until the official
vote... so when we called out our supporters, and our supporters called
us, we were able to fill City Hall and STOP the process in its tracks...
and then, there was some time for a more rational, and community-based
(vs "official"-based), look at the situation.

In addition, we had the support of many of our friends out there in
"cyberland." Thank you for your letters, faxes and emails, especially
those of you who took time to write thought-provoking letters to members
of the BCRCA. Let us all keep our ears to the rail and rally our support
when other mission-driven recycling entities is threatened.

For a more detailed chronology of Eco-Cycle's victory, visit our web site

Kat Bennett and Eric Lombardi

Eco-Cycle, Inc.



Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 08:38:27 EDT
Subject: Playa Vista Recycles Almost 90 Percent of Demolished...

Playa Vista is the largest multi-use development project in Los Angeles County
history (we also have the Newhall Ranch proposal, the largest subdivision
project in the county with 24,000 housing units, but that's another story...)

It is about development, not sustainability. The developers have flagrantly
violated the Endangered Species Act by bulldozing active nests of southwest
willow flycatchers, and harmed breeding grounds for pelicans and other
wildlife. The project would permanently destroy hundreds of acres of wetlands
which represent a significant portion of the county's coastal wetland habitat.

Activists have been fighting this environmentally destructive project for
years. Nonviolent civil disobedience by outraged neighbors occurs regularly
on the site. Let's not let the developers green-wash their greed-deeds by
promoting recycling. It's all so much spin control, in the city that invented

For further information, contact Marcia Hanscom at Wetlands Action Network,
<>, 310-457-0300.

Thanks for your consideration,
David Orr


Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 09:40:10 -0500
From: (Sara Kendall)
Subject: unsubscribe


Sara Kendall, Washington, D.C. Representative
Western Organization of Resource Councils
110 Maryland Avenue, NE, Suite 307
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 547-7040 (phone)
(202) 543-0978 (fax) (email)


Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 15:45:21 +0200
From: Scheller Herbert-AHS003 <>
Subject: unsubscribe



End of GreenYes Digest V98 #152