GreenYes Digest V98 #53

GreenYes Mailing List and Newsgroup (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:33:05 -0500

GreenYes Digest Sun, 1 Mar 98 Volume 98 : Issue 53

Today's Topics:
EPR, Take-Back Legislation, & Refundable-Deposits on Everything!
Job Opportunity
Producer Responsibility - Continued Discussion
recycling rates for major cities
Waste Management

Send Replies or notes for publication to: <greenyes@UCSD.Edu>
Send subscription requests to: <greenyes-Digest-Request@UCSD.Edu>
Problems you can't solve otherwise to
Loop-Detect: GreenYes:98/53

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 22:45:25 EST
From: Jango <>
Subject: EPR, Take-Back Legislation, & Refundable-Deposits on Everything!

David Turner's description of the trials, tribulations and complexities
of recycling and reuse from a manufacturer's standpoint are well worth
the read. He makes an eloquent and thoughtful case for why much of this
field is so difficult. If you didn't read it, I post it here for your



From: (David L. Turner)

>waste should be returned to the manufacturer - after all,
>the originator is in the absolutely best position to be
>able to re-use, recycling, or redesign a product.

Perhaps the originator is in a slightly better position
than the consumer, but not the best position by far. It is
likely to be true in the future, but now and for the near
future, it is not.

The recycling and reuse processes for most manufacturers
are not trivial. If a process involves making the material
to be recycled or using material or parts ONLY used for one
thing (e.g., a bottle) it is easier to recycle or reuse
than if the product has many parts and types of material in
it (e.g., a VCR).

We make electronic instruments which consist (primarily)
of a case and a printed circuit board. The cases have metal
and other parts in them that make them unacceptable to the
suppliers of plastic for reclamation. We cannot remove the
electronic parts and reuse them without testing them like
the manufacturer does. Reusing them without complete
testing is unacceptable and creating test equipment for
all the parts we use would require us to duplicate a large
portion of the electronics part manufacturer's factory. We
are left with a printed circuit board we can send for lead
reclamation and the rest to save for the future or
landfill. We are looking into a company that reclaims
electronic parts, and are hopeful that works out, but in
the end most of the material will be landfilled

Another issue is appearance. Just because a part is
reusable doesn't mean customers will be happy to buy
something with scratches and dents. We cannot reuse beaten
up instrument cases (we make environmental monitoring
equipment that gets LOTS of use outside in severe

We send scrap plastic parts back to our supplier for
regrinding when we can. They don't take everything
however, and if a plastics plant can't use it, we, a
manufacturing organization, will be even less likely to be
able to use it. We also reclaim metals, recycle paper and
cardboard, and are investigating recycling/reclamation of
electronic parts, but these practices have taken a long
time to implement. We are working on introducing the
process of Life Cycle Analysis in our designs, and I hope
and believe we can make the situation better with this.

This is a philosophical and cultural issue as well as a
logistical one. Customers must also change habits and
expectations. If we are to make reuse of parts acceptable,
consumers must be willing to accept used parts and
multicolored bottles. While I'm perfectly willing to do
this, I bet the bulk of the consuming population is not yet
ready. The manufacturers and the consumers of their
products are tied together in this.

Lest I come across as a money-grubbing capitalist pig dog,
let me assure you I fight for these ideas almost daily,
but the reality is that those who have the power to change
must be convinced to do so. Demands for them to change for
reasons they do not buy into will be seen as shrill
silliness instead of reasoned arguments. The anger and
condescension I read in many of these postings drives
people away rather than supporting a valid position.
Accusing a company or individual of being bad and demanding
immediate change won't advance the cause.

The problems are complex and there is no single or simple
solution. It is important to understand the limitations on
the people and systems currently in existence. Then we can
be in a better position to develop appropriate means for
affecting changes.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Profit is the result and reward of
doing things right and doing the right
things. Therein lies the balance.
Randy Berger, Comdial Corporation


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



David Biddle
7366 Rural Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19119
215-247-2974 (voice and fax)


Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:40:47 -0800
From: Myra Nissen <>
Subject: Job Opportunity

I am posting this for a friend.

GB Industrial, an industrial plastic recycling company in Alameda
County, CA is looking for an expereinced bi-lingual foreman
(english/spanish). Salary based on experience.

If you are interested please contact GB Industrial directly:

Thank you.

Myra Nissen


Date: Fri, 27 Feb 98 00:59:56 -0800
Subject: Producer Responsibility - Continued Discussion

Your logic is sound, and we should be looking for these priorities. However,
I have always believed that one path to a world of durable (refillable)
containers could be helped by deposit systems. This is because a deposit
environment is more friendly to refillables than say, a curbside program. I
assume it may be because the infrastructure is established and there is
probably an educational element.
Your mention of a need to recycle electronics as a durable
suggests a priority that may exceed that of durability - toxicity.

Roger Diedrich

Dear Hop:

With all due respect to the arguments you adduce in favor of container
deposits - I don't disagree with them but in some ways they don't address my
concerns. I blame myself for not making my previous messages clearer.

1. We must not confuse discussions of principles versus politics. (Though
those who are venally opportunistic act only in terms of the latter.) In an
ideal world all products (if we really need them) should be designed to be
reusable and then recyclable. We are not in that world right now.

2. How do we achieve the world we desire by our principles? By achieving
actions that get us there incrementally because we don't want to get too far
ahead of those who we hope to persuade and because of our own resource
constraints. Many of us believe that universal container deposits must be
these first incremental steps. I don't want to disagree or argue with this
position. I am also not arguing for any cessation of political activities in
support of their adoption. I do accept that universal container reuse /
recycling (when we must use containers) must eventually be part of the world
that we all want.

3. I do want to argue that working on durable product reuse may be less
politically arduous, may have greater intrinsic economic rewards in the long
run and divert even more materials from disposal (I also admit that future
history can prove me wrong). For these reasons, I would like to avoid
situations where a focus on container (or non-durable product) reuse /
recycling diverts our attention from durables reuse / recycling.

4. I recognize that an argument can be made that we should pursue both
issues. Well, if you have the resources(eg. financial, political,
organizational, creative, etc.) to pursue both issues equally well and
effectively then you should. However, when your resources are constrained
(as it is for most of us) then I believe you need to assess where your
scarce resources can best be put to use in support of our principles. In
some cases this assessment may still favor pursuing non-durable product
reuse / recycling issues. On the other hand, I believe there may be times
when it may be better to refocus on durable products. However, I also
believe that durable product reuse / recycling has not gotten the attention
it deserves because of a)lack of widespread activist history on its behalf
and b)in many cases very fundamental questions on how to reuse or recycle
many classes of durable products (such as electronic products) have yet to
be worked out.

Roger M. Guttentag
TEL: 215-513-0452
FAX: 215-513-0453


Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 12:22:34 +0000
From: Pat Imperato <>
Subject: recycling rates for major cities

PRC and others are preparing testimony to go before Philadelphia City
Council to try to motivate members to demand a better residential
recycling program. Currently, pick up is every other week and the
residential recycling diversion rate is 7%. Can anyone help me easily
find residential and commercial recycling diversion rates for cities>1
million? My non-profit can't afford calling each city individually.

I'm aware of the controversey about how to calculate rates. However,
I'm looking more to motivate Council towards seeing that Philly's
program needs a boost RELATIVE to other city's programs than quibbling
over statistics. The city will be hiring a new recycling coordinator to
replace Al Dezzi.

Send info to me at

I promise to share my findings with interested parties.

Thanks. Pat Imperato (610-353-1555)


Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 17:13:10 -0600
From: "RecycleWorlds" <>
Subject: Waste Management

According to the February 27, 1998, Wall Street Journal, in an article
on the recent accounting writedowns at Waste Management, "Waste
Management Clenas Its Books, Not Its Outlook," by Jeff Bailey:

"Recycling, meanwhile, advances even in the face of rising costs.
[sic] According to Franklin Associates Ltd., a Prairie Village, Kan.
consulting concern, the U.S. is recycling about 27% of its trash these
days, and will boost that to 30% by 2000 and 35% by 2010.

"That is tens of millions of stuff that won't go to dumps. It also
means Waste Management and its rivals are stukc, if they want to hang
onto municipal collection contracts, with handling the materials. In
its big charge, Waste Management set aside $137 million to cover the
cost of municipal contracts, mostly for recycling, that aren't

Peter Anderson
RecycleWorlds Consulting
4513 Vernon Blvd. Ste. 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Phone:(608) 231-1100/Fax: (608) 233-0011


End of GreenYes Digest V98 #53