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[GreenYes] Refuse and Recyclables


It seems to me dangerous to speak saying "only 20% of what's in the refuse is recyclable." Those of us who propose higher recycling rates recognize that all discarded materials can be recycled, or, perhaps more accurately, given another useful life that does not require landfilling or incineration. The municipally-sponsored collection programs target some of those materials for collection but by no means all; it would be more accurate to remark that 20% of what's in the refuse is also targeted for inclusion in the existing recyclables collection program.

I think a major shift occurred in the opinions of recycling leaders about ten years ago when recycling was no longer seen as the things we kept out of the garbage but rather garbage was then seen as what we failed or refused to recycle. This shift is a tribute to the success of recycling programs in the earlier decades of our movement and is the foundation of all current talk about zero waste, producers' responsibility, the travesty of "integrated" waste management, or any other catch phrases now current.

Arthur R. Boone
Executive Director
Total Recycling Association
Oakland, California


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