Justin, you have provided us a perfect example of how our traditional waste
management system faces a conceptual dilemma trying to plan. Waste managers
know a lot about waste, but they don't know anything about what's in the waste.
The simplest place to look for data on local generation of throwaway
products is sales data for those products. And we know who has that data:
the companies that sell the products. They would be able to tell you how
many aluminum cans or how many pounds of ONP to expect at the curb in every
neatly-segmented community in their market.
This is why Extended Producer Responsibility is the sensible way to manage
the post-consumer stage of the life cycle of products. The producers can
use the sales data to manage collection and reverse-distribution programs,
exploiting opportunities for collaboration similar to the ones they use for
distribution and retailing. Their programs will be much more precisely
controlled than municipal waste managers who are trying to guesstimate what
they will find out there using "broad cross sections of data sets"....
Meanwhile, as you spend your valuable time figuring out how to clean up
after the producers of throwaway products, I bet you are letting tons and
tons of compostable organics go to your local landfill, where it is
contributing to global warming and groundwater pollution.
At 01:43 PM 11/24/2004, Justin Stockdale wrote:
No doubt y'all are right on with these thoughts...but there must be data out
there that is fairly universal in nature? I have spent the past few days
pouring through EPA waste characterization analyses and what y'all have said
suggests that this data is less than worthless? Yes, consumption
varies...and can do so dramatically between even neighboring counties. I
think of the vagaries between mountain resort communities and neighboring
"local" ranching communities.
I go back to Kevin's original question...is there really no "typical" data
out there? As with any statistical data....as long as you draw from a broad
cross section of data sets, the variations should find a fairly responsible
middle ground, no? Otherwise y'all are suggesting that we all need to behave
like Wal Mart and assemble data on individual consumers to be able to
accurately assess what is going to show up at the curb. I can see it now,
the NRC will have Ashcroft at the next NRC extolling the value of the
Patriot Act to assembling "accurate" estimates of waste composition!
Have a great turkey day!!!!
From: Pat Franklin [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 2004 2:12 PM
To: Jerry Powell; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: RE: [greenyes] Single-stream composition
AMEN Jerry! Aluminum beverage can sales vary from region to region and so
do glass and plastic beverage bottle sales. This is due in part to climate,
marketing and regional preferences, but also because beverage sales vary by
region. There is a much higher per capita consumption of beer and soda in
the southeast and southwest and higher per capita consumption of bottled
water and other non-carbonated drinks in the northeast and pacific coast.
RE: Resource Recycling...is it really America's thinnest magazine? It may
be thin in size but it's thick in substance.
From: Jerry Powell [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 2004 3:30 PM
Subject: [greenyes] Single-stream composition
Recycling planners need to be cautious when using composition data due to
the wide variance in materials consumption among communities. Numerous
examples exist of problems in comparing data from outside a local region.
For example, the Los Angeles Times is America's thickest newspaper (as an
aside, Resource Recycling is America's thinnest magazine). Using data from
Southern California will over-report the percentage of ONP in a
single-stream program. Houston and Birmingham, Alabama are said to have the
highest per-capita levels of aluminum can consumption (heat, humidity). As
a result, UBC percentages in the Southeast will be high. Some major dairies
in several regions have moved away from using plastic milk jugs, thus
resulting in a decline in percentage for HDPE in these areas. Religious
restrictions regarding alcohol consumption result in lower percentages of
glass in some regions, such as in the Mormon-dominated Rockies (about three
quarters of glass production is for packaging beer, wine and liquor). These
are only several examples why recycling officials will find a low level of
similarity among composition data from various communities.
Jerry Powell, Editor and Publisher
Resource Recycling Magazine
Plastics Recycling Update
P.O. Box 42270
Portland, OR 97242-0270
(503) 233-1305 office
(503) 233-1356 fax
(503) 781-2183 cell