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[GreenYes] Re: Styrofoam or paper cups?

This sounds like the foam/plastic industry. Just like its supposidly less
energy and less landfill volume to use plastic bags instead of paper at the
grocery store. Besides that it seems like you can get 3x as many grocerys
in a paper bag...I personally feel better about using a renewable resource
paper bag that is hopefully recycled content and is recyclable with mixed
paper in many communities. (Of course we all try to use cloth bags or reuse
the 'disposable' bags as much as possible.)

One of my biggest concerns is litter - and foam cups and plastic don't
answer that question. Sure it's a behavior issue and weather a product is
biodegradable or not doesn't mean toss it on the ground...But unfortunately
foam cups and plastic bags terribly litter the landscape.


Stephen N. Weisser, Sales Manager
GreenLine Paper Company, Inc.
631 S. Pine Street
York, PA 17403
stevew@no.address <>


From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address] On Behalf
Of Naomi Yaeger
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 3:40 PM
To: Green Yes
Subject: [GreenYes] Styrofoam or paper cups?

any of you scientic people know if the statments below are true?

I am working to get people to quit using styrofoam and use paper cups and
plates instead.

Should Some Goods Be Banned?
Some have argued that we should simply ban certain products. For example,
styrofoam cups have gotten a bad name because they take up more space in
landfills than do paper hot-drink cups, and because the styrofoam remains in
the landfill forever. Yet according to a widely-cited study by Martin B.
Hockman of the University of Victoria, the manufacture of a paper cup
consumes 36 times as much electricity and generates 580 times as much waste
water as does the manufacture of a styrofoam cup. Moreover, as paper
degrades underground, it releases methane, a "greenhouse gas" that
contributes to warming the atmosphere. In a similar vein consider disposable
diapers, which have been trashed by their opponents because a week's worth
generates 22.2 pounds of post-use waste, while a week's worth of reusable
diapers generates only 0.24 pounds. Because disposable diapers already
amount to 2 percent of the nation's solid waste, the edge clearly seems to
go to reusable cloth diapers. Yet the use of reusable rather than disposable
diapers consumes more than three times as many B.T.U.s of energy and
generates ten times as much water pollution. It would seem that the
trade-offs that are present when we talk about "goods" are just as prevalent
when we discuss "bads" such as garbage.
Some Adverse Effects of Government Regulation
It also appears that more government regulation of the garbage business is
likely to make things worse rather than better, as may be illustrated by the
tale of two states: New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A number of years ago, to
stop what was described as price-gouging by organized crime, New Jersey
decided to regulate waste hauling and disposal as a public utility. Once the
politicians got involved in the trash business, however, politics very
nearly destroyed the business of trash. According to Paul Kleindorfer of the
University of Pennsylvania, political opposition to passing garbage disposal
costs along to consumers effectively ended investment in landfills. In 1972
there were 331 landfills operating in New Jersey; by 1988 the number had
fallen to 13, because the state-regulated fees payable to landfill operators
simply didn't cover the rising costs of operation. Half of New Jersey's
municipal solid waste is now exported to neighboring Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania's situation provides a sharp contrast. The state does not
regulate the deals that communities make with landfill and incinerator
operators; the market takes care of matters instead. For example, despite
the state's hands-off policy, "tipping fees" (the charges for disposing of
garbage in landfills) are below the national average in Pennsylvania,
effectively limited by competition between disposal facilities. The market
seems to be providing the right incentives; in one recent year, there were
31 pending applications to open landfills in Pennsylvania, but only 2 in New
Jersey, despite the fact that New Jersey residents are paying the highest
disposal rates in the country to ship garbage as far away as Michigan,
Illinois, Missouri, and Alabama.
The Role of the Marketplace
Ultimately, there are two issues that must be solved when it comes to trash.
First, what do we do with it once we have it? Second, how do we reduce the
amount of it that we have? As hinted at by the Pennsylvania story, and
illustrated further by developments elsewhere in the country, the market
mechanism can answer both questions. The fact of the matter is that in many
areas of the country, population densities are high and land is expensive.
As a result, a large amount of trash is produced and it is expensive to
dispose of locally. In contrast, there are some areas of the country where
there are relatively few people around to produce garbage, where land for
disposal facilities is cheap, and where wide open spaces minimize the
potential air pollution hazards associated with incinerators. The sensible
thing to do, it would seem, is to have the states that produce most of the
trash ship it to states where it can be most efficiently disposed of--for a
price, of course. This is already being done to an extent, but residents of
potential recipient states are (not surprisingly) concerned, lest they end
up being the garbage capitals of the nation. Yet Wisconsin, which imports
garbage from as far away as New Jersey, is demonstrating that it is possible
to get rid of the trash without trashing the neighborhood. Landfill
operators in Wisconsin are now required to send water table monitoring
reports to neighbors, and to maintain the landfills for 40 years after
closure. Operators also have guaranteed the value of neighboring homes to
gain the permission of nearby residents, and in some cases even have
purchased homes to quiet neighbors' objections. These features all add to
the cost of operating landfills, but as long as prospective customers are
willing to pay the price and neighboring residents are satisfied with their
protections--and so far these conditions appear to be satisfied--then it
would seem tough to argue with the outcome.
Some might still argue that it does not seem right for one community to be
able to dump its trash elsewhere. Yet the flip side is this: Is it right to
prevent communities from accepting the trash, if that is what they want?
Consider Gillam County, Oregon (pop. 1800), which wanted Seattle's garbage
so badly it fought Oregon state legislators' attempts to tax out-of-state
trash coming into Oregon. Seattle's decision to use the Gillam County
landfill will generate $1 million per year for the little community--some 25
percent of its annual budget, and enough to finance the operations of the
county's largest school.
Faced with the prospect of paying to dispose of its garbage, Seattle quickly
had to confront the problem of reducing the amount of trash its residents
were generating. Its solution was to charge householders according to the
amount they put out. Seattle thus began charging $13.50 per month for weekly
pickup of one can, plus $9 for each additional can. Yard waste that has been
separated for composting costs $2 per month, while paper, glass, and metal
separated for recycling are hauled away at no charge. In the first year that
per-can charges were imposed, the total tonnage that had to be buried fell
by 22 percent. Voluntary recycling rose from 24 percent of waste to 36
percent--a rate almost triple the national average. By 1994, the "Seattle
Stomp" (used to fit more trash into a can) had become a regular source of
exercise, and the city was having trouble exporting enough garbage to
fulfill its contract with Gillam County.
The message slowly beginning to emerge across the country then, is that
garbage really is not different from the things we consume in the course of
producing it. As long as the trashman is paid, he will come, and as long as
we must pay for his services, his burden will be bearable.

Water is a human right, don't privatize or bottle it.

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