GreenYes Archives

[GreenYes Home] - [Thread Index] - [Date Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]


[GreenYes] The death of recycling



Dear All,

I did not post my piece on Paul Palmer's zero waste article, because
it is too long for this venue and because I still have to fill in
some dates and footnotes. I will let everyone know when it will be
available. Sorry for inconvenience.

In short, I liked the article, and tried to emphasize the consistency
of efforts between zero waste and zero waste to landfill; and the
recent transitions. Naturally, I added a little history.

For those who do not know, Paul and I are long time friends and I am
working with him on zero waste projects. Paul is always stimulating,
if aggressive with his ideas.

I look forward to comments and dialogue.

Neil Seldman
On May 2, 2007, at 3:40 AM, GreenYes group wrote:

>
> GreenYes
> http://groups.google.com/group/GreenYes?hl=en
>
> GreenYes@no.address
>
> Today's topics:
>
> * The Death of Recycling - 1 messages, 1 author
> http://groups.google.com/group/GreenYes/browse_thread/thread/
> 9f0809a2a0bbdb42?hl=en
>
> ======================================================================
> ========
> TOPIC: The Death of Recycling
> http://groups.google.com/group/GreenYes/browse_thread/thread/
> 9f0809a2a0bbdb42?hl=en
> ======================================================================
> ========
>
> == 1 of 1 ==
> Date: Tues, May 1 2007 1:39 pm
> From: "Pat Franklin"
>
>
> Pete,
>
>
>
> Very interesting article....he/she makes some valid points about
> Zero Waste
> and recycling. I fought the Zero Waste concept myself for years. I
> use to
> say to Bill Sheehan, then ED of GRRN, "Bill, how the heck to you
> think we
> can get to zero waste, or even "darn close" if we can't even get the
> beverage container recycling rate back up to 50% and beverage
> containers (on
> a tonnage basis) are the single most valuable segment of municipal
> solid
> waste?"
>
>
>
> But I've come to embrace Zero Waste. For me it's a question of
> moving the
> ball further away from 100% wasting, with a goal of getting as
> close to zero
> waste as possible. At this point in time, for beverage containers
> at least,
> we're a long darn way from zero waste. In fact we're at 77%
> wasting. I'd
> like to see the needle move from 77% wasting to 48% wasting, which
> is where
> we were about 15 years ago. But I wouldn't want to stop there.
> Why not
> push the envelope.
>
>
>
> Frankly, I think we all owe a debt of thanks to the author of the
> article
> below. The article is worth a read, and some serious thinking
> about the
> legitimate issues he/she raises. For example:
>
>
>
> * Backhauling trash from an event in a remote location to a
> trash bin
> in another area is NOT Zero Waste. It is just moving a lot of waste.
>
>
>
> * Collecting stuff for recycling is not really recycling if
> you are
> just passing junk along to a mill who has to screen it out and
> dispose of
> it.
>
>
>
> * In many areas, achieving a certain "diversion" or recycling
> number
> has become so important that what recycling or diversion "is" has
> become
> irrelevant.
>
>
>
> Thanks for passing this along Pete.
>
>
>
> Regards,
>
>
>
> Pat Franklin
>
> New email address: PatFarrellFranklin@no.address
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address]
> On Behalf
> Of Pete Pasterz
> Sent: Friday, April 13, 2007 11:56 AM
> To: greenyes@no.address
> Subject: [GreenYes] The Death of Recycling
>
>
>
>
>
> I have to say I'm surprised that there have been NO postings on
> greenyes
>
> in reaction to the "Death of Recycling" posting from John Reindl
> over a
>
> week ago. I expected it to stimulate MUCH philosophical discussion on
>
> this, a premier list of Zero Waste advocates....
>
>
>
> Below is an example of reaction [attribution intentionally removed] to
>
> the Palmer article on another listserv I belong to...there had been a
>
> string of reactions prior to this posting from today, all taking
> offense
>
> with some aspects of Palmer's assertions or attitudes, and many by
>
> extension, taking offense to Zero Waste and its advocates.
>
>
>
> Any reactions?
>
>
>
> Pete Pasterz
>
>
>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>
>>>>>>
>
> ORIGINAL MESSAGE:
>
>
>
> I have to say, I hate the Zero Waste movement and will resist any
>
> efforts to align either RecycleMania or CURC to it.
>
>
>
> First, it is promoting a concept that is impossible by the laws of
>
> physics. No process is 100% efficient. Thus, any process shall
> produce
>
> waste. Period. There is NO zero-waste process in nature. It is a
>
> question of what happens to that waste that is the issue.
>
>
>
> Second, I have witnessed several folks promote "Zero Waste Successes"
>
> that are really "zero waste frauds." Backhauling trash from an
> event in
>
> a remote location to a trash bin in another area is NOT Zero
> Waste. It
>
> is just moving a lot of waste. Not putting out trash barrels for an
>
> event, only to see the trash littered around campus or thrown into
>
> existing trash dumpsters to make them overflow is NOT zero waste.
> It is
>
> only creating headaches for the grounds and custodial staff.
> Diverting
>
> 50% of waste from an event is impressive, but not Zero Waste.
>
>
>
> Third, is that our existing recycling & diversion rates are already
>
> suspect. Collecting stuff for recycling is not really recycling if
> you
>
> are just passing junk along to a mill who has to screen it out and
>
> dispose of it. This is an especially troubling issue with single-
> stream
>
> programs shipping stuff to China. I have heard reports of as much as
>
> 40% of that material being landfilled as contamination (China is
> without
>
> a native paper industry and so desperate for fiber that they don't
> seem
>
> to mind, but is this really recycling?). Is this really recycling, or
>
> is it exporting trash? If I told you I was going to ship 40 tons of
>
> trash to China for them to landfill, folks would demonize me.
> However,
>
> if I ship 100 tons of single-stream recycling to China, knowing
> that 40
>
> tons of that will have to be screened out and landfilled, I am then
>
> lauded for doing an exceptional job? In many areas, achieving a
> certain
>
> "diversion" or recycling number has become so important that what
>
> recycling or diversion "is" has become irrelevant. And now, we are
>
> going to chase another unattainable number, further risking that
> how we
>
> achieve the number is meaningless, as long as we achieve it?
>
>
>
> Fourth, despite all of the money that has gone into promoting zero
> waste
>
> over the past few years, I have a basic question that has never been
>
> answered. The question is now 2 decades old from a little old lady
> here
>
> in Western Mass. Back almost 20 years ago, during the rush of the
>
> modern wave of recycling, there was a meeting in the hill towns around
>
> Northampton. Experts from DEP, EPA, and the environmental community
>
> were promoting how recycling and waste reduction was going be so
>
> successful that it would eliminate the need for landfills. A
> little old
>
> lady dumbfounded the panel and crowd with a basic question: "what
> do we
>
> do with condoms?" In the age of AIDS, you are not going to promote
> not
>
> using them. As many strides as have been made in making them thinner
>
> and more sensitive, you cannot waste-reduce them. You are not
> going to
>
> reuse them. And in almost 20 years of doing this all over the
> country,
>
> I have yet to find a market that would even consider recycling them.
>
> Her point and mine is that there is always going to be waste. I have
>
> posed her question to Zero Waste "experts" all around the country. I
>
> have received lots of eye-rolling. I have received either snickers or
>
> condemnation about how much of an a-hole I am. But I have never heard
>
> her question answered.
>
>
>
> I am all for continued process improvement. I am all for sustainable
>
> manufacturing processes that incorporate life-cycle-design,
>
> cradle-to-cradle concepts, designing for recycling, etc. I am all for
>
> green purchasing practices and think we all have a long way to go on
>
> that front. If we want to promote those things, count me in!!!
>
>
>
> However, if we just want to jump on a Zero-Waste bandwagon because
> it is
>
> the latest buzz word, count me out. I don't want to threaten to
> take my
>
> ball and go home, but it may eventually come to that.
>
>
>
> Our current success with the public perception is tentative at
> best. We
>
> have a RecycleMania competition with more holes in the rules than a
>
> colander (for example, I would love to count the Red Sox box score
> with
>
> only David Ortiz's stats, or love to say, well David Ortiz hit 233
> home
>
> runs for his career so let's assume everyone on the roster does that).
>
> We have a CURC organization that after more than a decade has
> struggled
>
> to gain traction with anyone on campus other than Recycling
> Coordinators
>
> (not APPA, not Nacubo, etc.). We have constant challenges to the
>
> "recycling is good" message that we seem stunned by and seem like
> we are
>
> not fully ready to discuss and defend other than with outrage. And
> now
>
> we want to distance ourselves even more from reality and the
> mainstream
>
> by linking Zero Waste to our efforts? I think we really need to
>
> re-evaluate that idea.
>
>
>
> Some folks have discovered bits of the history of the zero waste
>
> movement. Here is some more general info (at the risk of being
>
> stereotypical). Before recycling was "accepted" and incorporated into
>
> daily life, recycling experts were mostly advocates. All very natural
>
> in the evolution of any program. They did a good job. However, when
>
> recycling became accepted, it changed the need from advocates to
>
> managers. Some folks made that transition. Some were not able to and
>
> had not ability to be anything other than an advocate. Unfortunately,
>
> rather than taking the advocacy to more of a watchdog role (such as to
>
> prevent questionable reporting numbers, or to ensure that buyers
>
> followed existing green procurement policies), they could only be
>
> advocates. And what better to ensure that you will always have a
> career
>
> as an advocate than to get people to commit to trying to achieve
>
> something unattainable (zero waste). They keep their role of only
> being
>
> "pure" and "never comprimising", and sneering at those with a lesser
>
> commitment than they have. Fine for them. Just not a black hole
> that I
>
> want to see all of our hard work and success over the past 20 years
>
> sucked into.
>
>
>
> DISCLAIMER:
>
> E-mail correspondence to and from this address may be subject to
> the North
> Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> --
>
> No virus found in this incoming message.
>
> Checked by AVG Free Edition.
>
> Version: 7.5.446 / Virus Database: 269.4.0/759 - Release Date:
> 4/12/2007
> 7:58 PM
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ======================================================================
> ========
>
> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
> Groups "GreenYes"
> group.
>
> To post to this group, send email to GreenYes@no.address or
> visit http://groups.google.com/group/GreenYes?hl=en
>
> To unsubscribe from this group, send email to GreenYes-
> unsubscribe@no.address
>
> To change the way you get mail from this group, visit:
> http://groups.google.com/group/GreenYes/subscribe?hl=en
>
> To report abuse, send email explaining the problem to
> abuse@no.address
>
> ======================================================================
> ========
> Google Groups: http://groups.google.com?hl=en
>


--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "GreenYes" group.
To post to this group, send email to GreenYes@no.address
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to GreenYes-unsubscribe@no.address
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/GreenYes?hl=en
-~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---




[GreenYes Home] - [Date Index] - [Thread Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]