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[GreenYes] Fwd: Conversion Technologies on CIWMB Agenda 2/20
See CIWMB staff report at:

Gary Liss

>To: CIWMB-Boardmembers
>From: Gary Liss <>
>Subject: Conversion Technologies on CIWMB Agenda
>Cc: GRC & CRRA Bd.
>CIWMB Boardmembers:
>The Global Recycling Council (GRC) of the California Resource Recovery 
>Association is concerned with the policies being developed for 
>'conversion' technologies.  Please consider the following comments as 
>input to Agenda Item 41 on the Board agenda for 2/20/2002.
>GRC recognizes that some 'conversion' technologies can make a positive 
>contribution to sustainable resource conservation.  For example, 
>composting is a natural process in which living organisms 'bio-convert' 
>organic material into soil.  Likewise, technologies of the 'Carbohydrate 
>Economy' espoused by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and others are 
>consistent with Zero Waste.  And we recognize that making methanol and 
>ethanol from some discards could help meet California's air pollution 
>controls for transportation.
>The key to determining when 'conversion' is consistent with Zero Waste, 
>however, lies with whether feedstocks are source-separated, what 
>temperatures are used, and whether these technologies count as diversion 
>in the CA AB 939 system. GRC considers conversion technologies using mixed 
>garbage feedstocks or high temperatures to be incompatible with Zero Waste 
>systems.  Certain conversion technologies represent an 'end-of-pipe' 
>approach that could serve as yet another obstacle to increased waste 
>reduction.  We don't want to artificially limit recycling or waste 
>diversion to 50% in California.
>GRC believes that use of homogenous feedstocks without alternate markets 
>(e.g., biomass or tires) can be compatible with Zero Waste systems, 
>provided that equal or greater investment is made in developing 
>environmentally superior end uses.  GRC seeks to discourage subsidizing or 
>otherwise encouraging conversion processes that use mixed garbage as a 
>feedstock, because of safety concerns and because such systems tend to 
>undermine programs that maximize the value of source-separated discards.
>GRC considers conversion technologies that operate within the range of 
>biological temperatures (temperatures of living things) to be compatible 
>with Zero Waste, while those that operate at high temperatures are 
>intrinsically dangerous and should be avoided, particularly for mixed 
>waste feedstocks.  At high temperatures used in burning and pyrolysis, 
>toxic metals are liberated and poisonous substances, like dioxins, 
>created.  Such toxins are dangerous at extremely minute levels.  Since 
>failsafe systems have not been demonstrated to control migration of these 
>toxins to the environment, it is better to apply the Precautionary 
>Principle and seek safer alternatives.
>Finally, GRC does not believe that conversion technologies should 'count' 
>as diversion under AB939.  We are concerned that allowing conversion 
>technologies to count could have similar deleterious effects in the 
>marketplace as ADC has, particularly if the conversion technologies are 
>subsidized for energy production.
>Gary Liss
>Global Recycling Council

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485

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