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RE: [GreenYes] Should we do glass curbside
Sharon raised some good points, and thanks to others who replied to me as well.  Not to nit-pick, but I said "more homogeneous" -- and I do think producer responsibility works into this as well.
I'd like to ask for your help.  This weekend, as you go around, turn plastic bottles over (you all probably do this already, right?) and check for the resin code.  Let me know which ones you find that have a # 3 PVC, and whether you think the product relies in some way on it being bottled in PVC rather than some other type container.  My guess is that there's no compelling reason for it.  I've found store brand window cleaner in PVC and name brand in PET -- both under my sink.
My point is that since this is a very small segment of the plastic container market, it could be phased out with little or no effect on the products themselves, thus simplifying the post-consumer waste stream a bit.  And I do think there are ways to convince manufacturers that they could make a relatively simple change in order to promote a safer, easier product life cycle.
-- terri, anti-business environmentalist pinko (can't help it, I kinda LIKE that!)
-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 4:52 PM
Subject: RE: [GreenYes] Should we do glass curbside

I wanted to throw in my $.02 about an issue Terri raised:

>I know there are differences in the properties of different types of
>packaging -- vapor barriers, light barriers, etc. -- but where do I go to
>lobby for change?  How do we convince the big food companies (or the small
>ones) to use more homogenous packing materials so that volumes of certain
>waste streams will increase and potential markets will be strengthened?  

Nobody who knows me would accuse me of being an advocate of the "free" market, but it is important to take into account the society and economy in which we live.  If one were to lobby for legislation requiring homogeneous packaging materials across suppliers, one would likely be branded an anti-business environmentalist pinko (or words to that effect).  My point is that such a requirement would be mighty hard to get through any legislative body in this country.  On the other hand, the concept of producer responsibility resonates with many people.  Requiring a business to deal with the stuff it creates is not as far a stretch as requiring Coke and Pepsi to use the same bottles.  When businesses have to recycle the waste they produce, then they will see the value in increasing the volume of certain waste streams to simplify the marketing of recycled materials.  In other words, bottom-line decision makin! g will lead businesses to common packaging.  To paraphrase a common refrain of socially and environmentally sensitive businesses, they will do good by doing well.

Sharon Gates
Recycling Specialist
City of Long Beach, California
Phone: 562/570-4694
Fax: 562/570-2861

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