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[GreenYes] High-tech recycling on our horizon?
High-tech recycling on our horizon?
Lake County explores state-of-the-art system to ease landfill dependency
by Jerry Davich / Times of Northwest Indiana 26nov01 or (219) 933-3243.

Dear Jerry,

I am writing to you because a number of people on the GreenYes Listserve, as
well as myself, have strong disagreements with your article. They didn't
like seeing it on a listserve that focuses on creating a sustainable world,
and solving recycling problems and myths created by industry.

The most disturbing part for me is Bill Strazinsky quoted as saying "What
we'll do is take the tiny bits of leftover paper and film plastic and turn
them into pellets, which can be burned like fuel..."

It gets me quite upset to continually hear or read what solid waste people,
such as Bill, call recycling.

It is definitely not recycling, it is incineration. Incineration of plastics
such as PVC (vinyl), an extremely common and toxic plastic, creates dioxin.
Dioxin is an extremely long-lasting and devastatingly potent toxin. As
little as 1 part per trillion (ppt) can have an effect on the human body.
What 1 ppt looks like is one drop in 660 rail tank cars in a train six miles
long____________________ .

Right now, one scientist is completing research that may show that dioxin is
still toxic at 1/10 ppt. And it mimics every hormone in the human body and
disrupts their vital work. It is passed on to countless future generations
through the placenta, blood and breast milk of the mother, and through the
sperm and genetic code of the father. Dioxin is what made Agent Orange so
devastatingly toxic for thousands of Vietnam Vets, their children, and
Vietnamese and their children.

The people of Vietnam are now experiencing an increase in dioxin in their
bodies, 40 years after its use by US military. The new physical, emotional,
and mental deficiencies abound to this day in the newly born, and those
coming into puberty.

And here in America, we are not "curing cancer." Contrary to what most
believe, we are experiencing an ever increasing rate of incidence of cancer.
For children under the age of one-year-old, the rate of incidence for all
cancers (comparing the years 1976-84 to 1986-94) has risen 36%. And for that
same group, germ cell cancers (testis and ovaries) has risen 124%. (1)

Dioxin is an unavoidable byproduct of PVC production. It is impossible to
make PVC without making dioxin. The PVC industry has known this for decades
and refuses to stop making PVC. It is described by many sources aligned with
industry as an unintentional byproduct, but since Industry has known about
it for decades, it is therefore an intentional byproduct of PVC production.
It is an intentional disregard for the lives of the billions of human
inhabitants and all of nature that can be attributed to greed only.

PVC is made into quite a wide range of products from siding and shingles, to
toys and car seats, and even hospital equipment such as blood bags, IV
tubing, and kidney dialysis equipment is made of it. The toxic chemicals
come out of PVC just by using it. Children suck on it. People in hospitals
receive blood carried or stored in it. What comes out is toxic plasticizers
carrying all the other toxic additives along with them.

PVC is not the only plastic or chemical that is being incinerated, I can
only imagine what else is in those pellets. Most likely there are other
organochlorine chemicals like pesticides, mercury from thermometers, and so
on. PVC carries with it lead, cadmium, plasticizers and lots of other toxic
chemicals that when burned become even more toxic.

The creation and incineration of PVC is (unless you believe industry) the
primary producer of dioxin in the world. A lot of other chemicals go right
up the stack along with it. The incineration industry pumps out the myths
that today's technology cleans the stack exhaust better than any standards.
There are two major problems with that myth. 1) The standards do not in any
way, shape or form protect one living thing from the dioxin; and 2) no
matter what you have heard, dioxin is coming from those stacks across
America and its being dispersed across the entire globe. Thousands of miles
away in the Arctic, Inuit women's breast milk is extremely high with dioxin
and dioxin-like compounds that are coming from us.(2)

That said, I have one more issue I'd like you to understand.

Plastics recycling is an oxymoron.(3)

Plastic is only reused a few times before it must be buried or given to
people like Bill Strazinsky for incineration. The reason for this is that
each time plastic is reprocessed, it loses some of the properties that it is
purchased for. It is the virgin plastics that promotes recycling. And
because well-meaning people, such as yourself write stories such as the one
you wrote it gives people the wrong impression of what is really happening
in the world.

People think it's OK to use plastics because "it's being recycled." But it
isn't being recycled. They also think it's OK to be a wild consumer because
we've solved the dump problem. But we haven't.

More about dioxin mimicking hormones in the body:

You might find this article interesting as well.
In the mid-Pacific Ocean, there is six times more plastic floating around
than plankton.
"Synthetic Sea: Plastic in the Ocean"  - Transcription of video from
Algalita Marine Research Foundation 2001

I hope to speak with you Jerry. It's worth our time to have you understand
this issue and write further on it. Contact me directly please. If you'd
like to post a message on the GreenYes listserve, I would do it for you.


Paul Goettlich
PO Box 517
Berkeley  CA   94701

(1)  Gurney, J., Smith, M., Ross, J. Cancer Among Infants: Cancer Incidence
and Survival among Children and Adolescents US SEER Program 1975-1995
National Cancer Institute  5nov99

(2) Commoner, B., P.W.Bartlett, H.Eisl, K.Couchot. Long-range Air Transport
of Dioxin from North American Sources to Ecologically Vulnerable Receptors
in Nunavut, Arctic Canada Barry Commoner CBNS Final Report to the North
American Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Center for the Biology of
Natural Systems (CBNS), Queens College, CUNY Sep00

(3) Berkeley Plastics Task Force Report (8apr96).

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