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[GreenYes] To the Editor: How About Tax-Free Diaper Recycling?
>From Waste News, Dec. 23, 2002
Letter to the Editor

THE PRODUCER'S CASH

Waste News and other national media recently carried the story
of a California community that launched the nation´s first diaper
recycling program ["City changing diaper disposal," Nov. 25].
The City of Santa Clarita, Calif., announced the program on
Nov. 8.

The GrassRoots Recycling Network applauds efforts to recycle
diapers. However, we believe we are also missing a golden
opportunity to fundamentally change the way waste issues are
addressed.

State and local taxpayers are putting up $500,000 for this
demonstration project. The recycling company is putting up
$20,000. And diaper makers are putting up exactly zero.

Why should diaper recycling be a municipal responsibility? And
why should taxpayers finance this project, instead of the brand
owners who make and profit from the product? Cleaning up after
industry is an open prescription for more disposable, hard-to-
recycle products at an ever-increasing cost to taxpayers.

The most effective resolution to this and other recycling and waste
management challenges employs a principle gaining widespread
acceptance in industrialized nations around the world. Called
extended producer responsibility or producer take-back, the
principle assigns to manufacturers the responsibility for the
environmental impacts of their products throughout the product´s
life cycle, including at the end of life. The focus is on producers
because they have the greatest ability to reduce product
environmental impacts through redesign.

Producer take-back is being used to good effect to curb waste of
many products, including computers, beverage containers, general
packaging, automobiles and pesticides -- all at no expense to
taxpayers.

As communities we can be truly innovative while doing the right
thing by saying to diaper producers: "If you want to sell your
products in our community, you must pay for a system to take
them back and reuse or recycle them. You´ll have two years to
set up the system (which you can do yourself or pay someone
else to do), and then we´ll ban them from our waste management
system. Only those producers who have a take-back system can
sell their products here after that."

Anne Morse, President
GrassRoots Recycling Network

[Waste News is a good news source and good value.
Subscription info at http://www.wastenews.com/subscribe.html ]


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