GreenYes Archives
[GreenYes Archives] - [Thread Index] - [Date Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]

Re: [GreenYes] RE: [BBAN]: My two cents on Tierney

    I just cannot agree with making a blanket statement of that sort, and I
would have to assume that you may not have either.  Each individual
component has to be decided discretely on its own merits otherwise (and as
how they will work together), otherwise you'll add too much debt to service
with the revenues that you can bring in.

    And, as before, a too singleminded focus on more MRF technology can
sometimes make recyclers forget when they need to demand front end changes
in the design of packaging to avoid the entire need for the separation, and
how intensive technology is so prone to abuse to ramp up throughputs that
will increase residue rates to the breaking point.  As I explained earlier,
so long as landfills continue to operated unsafely and are, therefore,
massively underpriced, it will be cheaper to misuse collection automation
and compaction and single stream high tech processing to push more material
through faster -- and cheaper than when done properly to maximize diversion.
No recycling can compete against landfills that are underpriced by
underperforming. Not only does more recycling not overcome that debit, but
rather its ability to be abused only makes the situation worse.  Moreover,
not only does it make things worse in the ultimate outcome, but if recyclers
embrace the technology, it makes it that much easier for those who intend to
abuse it to convince the public works departments that this is all
(including the abuse) a good thing.

    Anyway, that's my considered judgement.  If you want to call to talk
more sometime, let's do that.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Denice Zeck
  To: ; ;
  Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 7:22 PM
  Subject: Re: [GreenYes] RE: [BBAN]: My two cents on Tierney

  I also feel that manual sorting should be reduced in the future, to suit
our American lifestyle, among other reasons.  The investment needed would be
well worth it.   On the other point, recycling certainly makes for a poor
substitute for religion.  As the Bottle Bill is incentive based and
non-punitive, it would seem to hold appeal for Americans of all political
leanings, while still being a subtle counter to the untrammeled profit

    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 9:29 PM
    Subject: Re: [GreenYes] RE: [BBAN]: My two cents on Tierney

    I wish I could be confident in John Waddell's guess that anyone who
    believe Tierney isn't reading the paper, but I am not.  I suspect that
    of the same people who voted for George W (and endorse his various
    appointments: Whitman, Norton, O'Neill, etc.) DO indeed read the NYTimes
    CAN be swayed by Tierney's anti-recycling tirades.  As such, I do think
    represents a real threat to the formation of public opinions about
    which have already suffered as global warming etc. have moved onto
    stage and competed for the limited attention span of the American

    I agree with Waddell's suggestion that we should investigate the
    economics of landfilling versus recycling, but I disagree that this is
    best way" or the only way to counter Tierney.  What if a new megafill is
    permitted somewhere in the NY metropolitan region and tip fees suddenly
    plummet--will that make it OK to stop recycling?  This is a narrowly
    constructed "downstream" view of the economics of solid waste
management, and
    ignores other important issues:

    1) the true economics of landfill disposal frequently discount
    externalities (or direct costs) that will be realized in the future.

    2) the "upstream" environmental externalities of replacement production
    landfilled commodities is ignored in this landfill-based analysis.  This
    nothing to do with Tierney's rejection of global commodity "scarcity;"
it has
    to do with the multiple social and enviromental damages from virgin
    extraction and processing associated with manufacturing new consumer

    Because American per capita energy and resource consumption dwarfs that
    people in the rest of the world, I believe that there IS some
    value to hands-on involvement in minimal at-home sorting of recyclables
    (co-mingled in a blue bin is fine with me, as is returning goods for a
    deposit refund), and I have serious reservations about moving toward a
    MRF" system which removes all conscious decision-making from the consum
    er/disposer--even if a "dirty MRF" COULD produce marketable, clean
    commodities--which remains a question.

    Tierney pooh-poohs consumer separation of recyclables as a silly
    exoneration of our consumer "guilt", but what he is really saying is
that he
    feels no guilt at all about the American piggy lifestyle--even if that
    lifestyle gets us into wars in the Persian Gulf, causes indigenous ways
    life to be destroyed all over the world, contributes to global warming,
    erosion, groundwater contamination, acid rain, loss of biodiversity,
etc.  To
    Tierney I say "OINK."

    Jennifer Gitlitz

    Senior Research Associate, Container Recycling Institute

    Home office:

    1010 Pleasant St.

    Worcester, MA 01602

    Phone: (508) 793-8516

    eFax: (928) 833-0460


    Container Recycling Institute
    1911 Ft Myer Drive, Suite 702
    Arlington, Virginia  22209
    Phone: (703) 276-9800
    Fax 703.276.9587

    In a message dated 2/20/02 10:33:04 AM, writes:

    << This estimate applies to modifications to the existing infrastructure
    MRFs.  As such, it does not change the basic cost structure of curbside
    much, since separate manual sorts in households and separate pick-up at
    curbside continue to be required.  Have you ever seen cost estimates
    to materials recovery out of the compacted (or slightly less compacted)
    normal household waste stream?


    Doug Koplow

    Earth Track, Inc.

    2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor

    Cambridge, MA  02140

    Tel:  617/661-4700

    Fax: 617/354-0463


    >>> "Michele Raymond" <> 02/20/02 10:06AM >>>

    Dear Greenyes

    We recently estimated that it would cost about $200 million to automate

    nation's top MRF's for plastics sorting, including installation, etc.

    amounts to one cent per pound of resin sold in the U.S. for two years.

    That's not much when you consider what is spent on PR from many of the

    companies.  Note that more than $500 million moves through California's

    redemption program annually.

    Manual sorting should be reduced in the future.  There seems to be no

    leadership or move to provide capital funding.


    Michele Raymond

    At 09:34 AM 2/20/02 -0500, Doug Koplow wrote:

    >If you ignore his sarcasm on the idea of tolls as sacraments (though

    >cruising by a long toll line with an automatic toll transponder could

    >close...), Tierney does raise one point worth further discussion.  I

    >it is probably true that increased automation in materials separation

    >could make a huge difference in the economics of materials recovery.

    >anybody on this list have insights as to the progress (or lack of

    >progress) in increased and expanded automated sorting?  What are the

    >current technical capabilities of the so-called "dirty MRFs" that take

    >commingled trash and recover recyclable materials from the waste

    >stream?  What are the major technical constraints towards breakthroughs

    >recovery of recyclables from normal MSW streams?



    >Doug Koplow

    >Earth Track, Inc.

    >2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor

    >Cambridge, MA  02140

    >Tel:  617/661-4700

    >Fax: 617/354-0463




    > >>> "Steen, Terri - Contractor" <>

    > 09:17AM >>>

    >Ah, John "recycling is garbage" Tierney strikes again!  I believe in

    >of the press, but this guy.... Can't somebody educate him, or muzzle
him, or

    >discredit him?? Something??!!


    >  -----Original Message-----

    >From:   Reindl, John []

    >Sent:   Monday, February 18, 2002 9:49 AM

    >To:     BBAN; ''

    >Subject:        [GreenYes] RE: [BBAN]: Recycling article in today's New



    >Given the subsidies to virgin materials, as well as un-internalized
costs of

    >landfills (a European estimate in December 2000 put this cost at about
$16 a

    >ton for new landfills, largely due to methane emissions), any
evaluation of

    >the economics of recycling vis--vis landfilling seems spurious to me.


    >John Reindl, Recycling Manager

    >Dane County, WI


    > > -----Original Message-----

    > > From: David Markert []

    > > Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 5:00 PM

    > > To: BBAN

    > > Subject: [BBAN]: Recycling article in today's New York Times

    > >

    > >

    > > Article below excerpted from today's New York Times.  I

    > > especially like the

    > > part about using the recycling budget to urge New Yorkers to

    > > pick up litter

    > > instead of for recycling.  Hah!  Does this guy even live in

    > > New York?  That

    > > strategy doesn't work anywhere else in this country, and it

    > > wouldn't work in New York.

    > >

    > > ******************************

    > >

    > > February 15, 2002

    > > Rethinking the Rites of Recycling


    > > Environmentalists may not like Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's

    > > proposal to

    > > suspend the recycling of cans and bottles. But it could be

    > > their best chance

    > > to save their reputations and do some good for the environment.

    > >

    > > The recycling program was sold to New Yorkers nearly a decade

    > > ago with the

    > > promise that it would save money. It did not. If New York had

    > > shipped all those recyclables to out-of-state landfills, the

    > > city would have

    > > saved more than half a billion dollars, and that figure

    > > doesn't even include

    > > the biggest costs, which are the labor and storage space that

    > > citizens are

    > > forced to donate to the cause.

    > >

    > > Recycling newspapers makes a certain amount of sense, because

    > > used newsprint

    > > often has economic value and people often have special bins for

    > > newspapers anyway. But why clutter the city with bins for

    > > stuff that's less

    > > than worthless? The city pays extra to collect and dispose of

    > > the bottles

    > > and cans, and then 40 percent of the stuff ends up in

    > > landfills anyway.

    > >

    > > Could this sort of recycling ever pay for itself, as

    > > environmentalists are

    > > still promising? Maybe, but only if its devotees abandon

    > > their passion for

    > > hand-sorted trash and their belief that we're running out of natural

    > > resources. They've expected recycling to become profitable as

    > > raw materials

    > > become more expensive, but they're on the wrong side of two

    > > trends. For thousands of years, the costs of natural

    > > resources have been

    > > falling in relation to the cost of labor.

    > >

    > > Recycling might someday pay if the sorting were done not by

    > > hand but by

    > > machines. Miners and oil drillers have used computerized technology

    > > extract small concentrations of materials that would once have been

    > > unprofitable. Maybe robots will one day profitably sift

    > > garbage for minerals

    > > and plastics.

    > >

    > > But many environmentalists don't like this vision. In some

    > > cities, they've

    > > fought plans to use automated sorting equipment because they

    > > wanted people

    > > to have the hands-on experience. Here in New York, one of the

    > > most expensive

    > > labor forces on the planet is being forced to sort materials

    > > that third

    > > world peasants wouldn't waste their time saving.

    > >

    > > Recycling has become a sacrament of atonement for buying too

    > > much stuff -

    > > for secretly loving stuff too much, as James B. Twitchell

    > > explains in "Lead

    > > Us Into Temptation," a study of consumer passions. "While we

    > > claim to be

    > > wedded to responsible consumption," he writes, "we spend a

    > > lot of our time

    > > philandering. Trash is lipstick on the collar, the telltale

    > > blond hair."

    > > Recycling is our way of saying, "I'm sorry, honey."

    > >

    > > Sinners have every right to repent, but in this country

    > > religious sacraments

    > > are not supposed to be legally mandated or publicly

    > > subsidized. Recycling

    > > bottles and cans next year would cost taxpayers more than $50

    > > million. Why

    > > don't its devotees find another ritual of atonement that

    > > might help the

    > > environment and save the city money?

    > >

    > >

    > > SUPPOSE that all the time and money spent exhorting children

    > > and adults to

    > > recycle were spent instead urging each New Yorker to pick up

    > > one piece of

    > > litter each day. Millions of pieces of trash would disappear;

    > > street-cleaning bills would plummet.

    > >

    > > Perhaps guilty consumers could get used to paying for their

    > > sins with cash.

    > > Environmentalists could urge the end of free trash

    > > collection. If people had

    > > to pay for each can of trash they produced, they'd find ways to

    > > waste, and the city budget would benefit.

    > >

    > > Or suppose environmentalists channeled their zeal for

    > > recycling into another

    > > political cause: putting tolls on the East River bridges.

    > > These tolls would

    > > have economic virtues (more on that in another column), while

    > > also reducing

    > > air pollution and fuel consumption by easing traffic congestion. The

    > > recycling program, by contrast, increases local air pollution and

    > > consumption by putting extra trucks on the roads to collect

    > > bottles and

    > > cans.

    > >

    > > Could the act of paying a toll be turned into a sacrament?

    > > Could children

    > > and adults be trained to regard the toll as penance for the

    > > extravagance of

    > > owning a gas- guzzling, polluting machine?

    > >

    > > Some recycling devotees might not be satisfied. Paying a toll

    > > on the East

    > > River bridges might seem too simple, too antiseptic, too easy

    > > by comparison

    > > with the mortification of sorting garbage. For these

    > > ascetics, maybe the

    > > best ritual would be for them to get out of their cars

    > > altogether and walk

    > > across the bridges, possibly on their knees. For extra penance,

    > > pilgrims could carry sacks filled with old bottles and cans.

    > >

    > > ******************************

    > >

    > > David Markert

    > > Container Recycling Institute

    > > 1911 N. Fort Myer Drive, Suite 702

    > > Arlington, VA   22209

    > > Tel:  703-276-9800

    > > Fax:  703-276-9587

    > > E-mail:

    > >

    > >

    > >

    > >

    > >

    > > _______________________________________________

    > > bb-action-ntwk mailing list

    > >

    > >

    > > To unsubscribe, email with

    > > your request.

    > >


    >To post to the greenyes list,

    >email to:


    >Subscription information for

    >this list is available here:




    >To post to the greenyes list,

    >email to:


    >Subscription information for

    >this list is available here:




    >To post to the greenyes list,

    >email to:


    >Subscription information for

    >this list is available here:



    Michele Raymond


    Recycling Laws International/ State Recycling Laws Update

    5111 Berwyn Rd. Ste 115 College Park, MD 20740)

    301/345-4237   Fax 345-4768


    To post to the greenyes list,

    email to:

    Subscription information for

    this list is available here:


    ----------------------- Headers --------------------------------
    Return-Path: <>
    Received: from (
[]) by (v83.35) with ESMTP id MAILINYB110-0220103304;
Wed, 20
    Feb 2002 10:33:04 -0500
    Received: from ( []) by
    (v83.35) with ESMTP id MAILRELAYINYB55-0220103216; Wed, 20 Feb 2002
    Received: (from grrn_42@localhost)
        by (8.11.0/8.11.0) id g1KFVct13250
        for a69973754-greenyes; Wed, 20 Feb 2002 10:31:38 -0500 (EST)
    X-Authentication-Warning: grrn_42 set sender to using -f
    Received: from ([])
        by (8.11.0/8.11.0) with SMTP id g1KFVb213245
        for <>; Wed, 20 Feb 2002 10:31:37 -0500 (EST)
    Received: from IECPRI-Message_Server by
        with Novell_GroupWise; Wed, 20 Feb 2002 10:32:37 -0500
    Message-Id: <>
    X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise Internet Agent
    Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 10:32:01 -0500
    From: "Doug Koplow" <>
    To: <>, <>,
    Subject: RE: [GreenYes] RE: [BBAN]: Recycling article in today's
        NewYork Times
    Mime-Version: 1.0
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
    Content-Disposition: inline
    X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by id
    Precedence: bulk
    Reply-To: "Doug Koplow" <>
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
    X-MIME-Autoconverted: from 8bit to quoted-printable by id


    Jennifer Gitlitz

    Senior Research Associate, Container Recycling Institute

    Home office:

    1010 Pleasant St.

    Worcester, MA 01602

    Phone: (508) 793-8516

    eFax: (928) 833-0460


    Container Recycling Institute
    1911 Ft Myer Drive, Suite 702
    Arlington, Virginia  22209
    Phone: (703) 276-9800
    Fax 703.276.9587

    bb-action-ntwk mailing list
    To unsubscribe, email with your

To post to the greenyes list,
email to:

Subscription information for
this list is available here:

[GreenYes Archives] - [Date Index] - [Thread Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]