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[greenyes] Bans

The discussion on landfill bans of organics has been very interesting. I
much appreciate all the thought and time that has gone into everyone's

As a solution to the issues that have been raised, how about a ban on
collection with mixed waste/garbage/trash, rather than a ban on landfill
disposal? To my simple minded way of thinking that avoids all these
complexities of inadvertently feeding an incinerator. It's the method we've
adopted here in parts of the Northwest (e.g., King County, Seattle) for yard
debris - a ban on collection in the garbage container rather than a ban on
disposal. It's also the way that Seattle intends to implement their ban on
disposal of recyclables - in practice it will be enforced at the generator's
(both households and businesses) garbage container, not at the transfer
station/disposal site.

I'm rather ignorant of the multitudinous variations in garbage collection
practices around the world, but it's hard for me to imagine anyone
collecting the separated organics stream and then sending it to an
incinerator rather than to a composting facility. That is, as long as there
is that dirty third stream of mixed garbage still being collected. (Thus,
my inherent distrust of any two stream system that has the "all other" in
either the recycling stream or the composting stream, or some of it in

Here's a follow on thought. Once we get businesses and households thoroughly
trained/accustomed/indoctrinated to putting all recyclables in the recycling
stream (whether single or multi-bin), and all non-recyclable organics in the
organics stream, that third stream will get down to the 10-20% amount -- or
less, assuming significant financial incentives for diversion, equally
convenient collection for the recycling and composting streams, enforcement
of bans on collection of organics or recyclables in the garbage stream, and
continual educational/promotional efforts to reinforce diversion. At that
point we can begin to do variable rates/pay as you throw charges on the
recycling and composting streams to push waste
minimization/reduction/prevention. That's my perspective on how to evolve
the collection system to promote both diversion from disposal and waste
reduction as well.

Meanwhile EPR policies will be pushing product manufacturers to make fewer
and fewer items that are not readily recyclable or compostable. (My concern
about some EPR schemes is that they might promote an excessive amount of
individual trips in cars to take back centers, which is a much less
efficient -- both economically and environmentally -- collection system than
putting discards in the recycling or composting bus when it comes by your
house or place of business. I.e., curbside collection is a mass transit
system for recovering discards.)

That's my hope for eventually getting rid of both landfills and incinerators
as we aim for zerowaste.

Jeffrey Morris, PhD - Economics

Sound Resource Management - Seattle

3436B 34th Avenue West

Seattle, WA 98199


360-319-2391 mobile


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