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Re: [greenyes] "we don't really recycle, so why should i?"myth,
I couldn't agree more.   

Over the last year or two, I had been increasingly hearing these kinds of anecdotal, apocryphal reports from local colleagues and skeptics.    Then there were a flurry of trade media articles which documented convictions or broken service contracts due to landfilling of recyclables--the service providers' defense/excuse was usually that "there were no markets" but often this translated into "there was not as much profit as disposal".    

There were then some articles by environmental organizations starting to question recycling's effectiveness....but it was Michael Moore[generally a progressive and environmental friend]'s discussion of why he doesn't recycle in "Stupid White Men", the top selling non-fiction book for half of last year, which really tipped the scale for me.  

It's one thing to have the anti-recycling interests making unfounded accusations, but when your FRIENDS have been influenced by their arguements, which are reinforced by the bad practices of some in your industry; you're really in trouble.

For my last [Sept 2002] NRC Board meeting, I had asked that we place this issue on the agenda; it wasn't.    

My suggestion was to be simple...that NRC, as the national voice for recycling's broad coalition, ask ALL members to denounce these deceptive/fraudulent practices, and to pledge to their customers/constituencies that they will not knowingly dispose of materials that have been properly separated by customers and collected for recycling.  I was further going to suggest that those who HAD done such practices...and especially those who had been publicized for it...make it a practice to also publicly apologize for having done so.

I'll try to follow up on why it was not on the agenda and to see if there is an interest on the part of any board members to carry this mantle...

Any other ideas out there on how to start turning around this increasing public belief?   What about responding to the reported incidences with letters to the editor?    I have seen many colleagues make statements about "not dignifying with a response"  or confronting the anti-recycler press because "we can't win" with them...do others out there also feel that we should also sit silently and not respond to mainstream stories of wrongdoing by a few unscrupulous psuedo-recyclers when the reputations which we've tried to build with our programs are impugned by association? 


Pete Pasterz, Manager
Office of Recycling and Waste Management
Michigan State University

Chair, College and University Recycling Council
National Recycling Coalition

"UNLESS someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot,
 nothing is going to get better.   It's not." -- The Lorax

>>> <RicAnthony@no.address> 04/09/03 12:42PM >>>
In a message dated 4/9/2003 7:24:23 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
pcrecycles@no.address writes:> The cleaning company at our college has a pretty 
> bad image, in so much as many faculty and staff believe that they do not 
> really recycle their paper in the offices, but simply throw it in the 
> trash.  While this is not true (!),.... In an attempt to dispel this "we 
> don't really recycle, so why should i?" myth, ....

Michael Moore who wrote "Stupid White Men" has a bit on why he doesn't 
recycle.  He doesn't believe the stuff really is recycled and he has tells 
stories about Cities where companies have been seen throwing away separated 
recyclables.  

We need to discuss this emerging excuse and how to counter it.

ricanthony@no.address 







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