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[greenyes] Spring Report (zero waste and happiness)

Richard Anthony
Recycle Scene June 2005

Spring Report

As I look forward to the July 10-13, 2005 California Resource Recovery
Association Annual conference at the downtown Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel
(, I think about some of the things I have learned while attending Recycling
and Zero Waste conferences this spring in Beijing, China; New York City;
Coventry, England; Waterville, Vermont; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Beijing event actually happened in January and really was the planning
committee for the program for the R05 ( conference in Beijing
September 25, 2005. We asked the co sponsors, the Chinese Academy of Science, to
let us add a couple zero waste workshops to the technical program. The closed
circle concept is popular in China.

Last year at the Community Recycling Network (CRN) conference in London, I
spoke about zero waste, this year I attended because my company is helping a
local NGO plan and build a reuse park. Sometimes you make great friends at these
events. What motivates Suffolk CONNECT is the opportunity to do Good. As
expressed at the CRN conference by the keynote speakers from the Friends of the
Earth and the Member of the European Parliament, ââ global warming and
climate change are real threatsâ. sustainability means ending incineration and
landfill â.working for zero waste. â

At PACE University in lower Manhattan, New York City, the Grassroots
Recycling Network ( held their second zero waste action work shop.
Peter Montague of RACHELsâ Environmental and Health News and spokes person for the
precautionary principle and environmental impacts called forââ producer
responsibility and product redesignâzero waste as the goal. Our sponsors Hugo Neu
(a metals recycler) Aveda (a cosmetic manufacturer) and Ecocycle (a recycling
company) supported the workshop as a means to develop community leadership in
initiating zero waste programs.

The New England Resource Recovery Association (NERRA) held their event in the
Vermont Mountains. The fact that most of the incinerators that were built in
the 1980ies are up for new contracts and the Yankee spirit of self reliance,
filled the zero waste communitiesâ workshop with transfer station and citizens
advisory committee representatives. To them zero waste is savings. I also
learned that mountain biking in the rain can be quite thrilling

The Nova Scotia event combined happiness with sustainability, wellness,
education and governance. This conference on gross national happiness was held in
Bhutan last year, the home of the Dali Lama. Key Bhutan government officials
and a large delegation attended this event at St Francis Xavier University
near Halifax Nova Scotia. Bhutan has declared happiness a national objective.
Among other things, environmental quality has been declared by the government
linked to happiness. I spoke in a pre conference workshop on zero waste and
spoke and moderated a sustainability workshop on resource management in the new
millennium with talks about sustainable city planning and building in India,
living off the grid in Canada, and rural solar education in India. The work
shop participants concluded that limits were important.

Bringing it home at the San Diego Citizens advisory committee where we are
working to getting organics out of the landfill, I suggested that a zero waste
system for organics that composts and uses the material for making agricultural
soil amendments may be the best way to creating the most happiness in San
Diego County on this issue. The committee seemed to like the idea.

See you at CRRA in July.
Rick Anthony

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