At 03:28 PM 7/19/2007 -0700, Dan Knapp wrote:
As a reuse and recycling
operator, I'd like to comment:
I agree with Helen that information is important, but information can't
carry the recycling ball to the goal line. Somebody's actually got to be
out there doing the work of competing for these refined resources, taking
responsibility for disposing of them legally and properly as resources,
not wastes. Otherwise all is for naught.
OK, first, with reference to the title line: Neither this or
competing bills passed in Delaware. We didn't particularly support
any of them--they were crappy bills--but the real reason is that the
wasters in Delaware--represented by the Delaware Solid Waste
Authority--are smart and better organized and politically
effective. They are really good at pretending to promote
"recycling" while actually keeping it to token levels.
Lots of people in Delaware's enviro and regulatory establishments feel
more recycling is needed. But somehow they just can't bring
themselves to recognize reality, tell the truth, and get beyond pathetic
attempts to cut deals with the wasters.... Frustrating to us, and
maybe not that different from what' described below??
I saw that quite vividly in
Canberra in April of this year. Here in Canberra is a government entity,
ACT NoWaste, that for 11 years ostensibly operated under the goal and
banner and public relations campaign of No Waste by 2010, only to fail to
build the resource recovery park that Revolve, the ACT's contracted
landfill scavenger company gave them in a plausible plan on a silver
platter in about 1992. These Revolve people, many quite well-educated,
were walking around daily on Canberra's discards, and they knew how
unscrambling them and marketing them should be handled because they were
in constant communication with the actualities of the rapidly
differentiating disposal system at that time. So their plan would have
worked, had it been implemented.
ACT NoWaste said it would champion the idea of a zero waste facility to
replace the landfill, and it even went so far as to hire a couple of
engineering companies to draw up a more finished version of the Resource
Recovery Park that Revolve had recommended. I worked on the last
iteration of that RRP plan during trips there as guest of ACT in 1995 and
1996. I thought they were sure to build the RRP after my last visit there
in 1996. They had the site, the operators, the plan, and the money to
build it. I couldn't think of anywhere else that combined all those
Unfortunately, that's as far as it went. The zero waste reuse, recycling,
and composting complex never went beyond the idea phase because the waste
managers staged a comeback and took over.
The result 11 years later: the government-owned and privately-operated
landfill operator has already filled a substantial portion of the upland
valley Mugga landfill started in, and very soon the landfill will spill
out into the broader valley below. Aerial photos in my computer show a
collection pond below the whole projected 4 cell complex, and the
collection pond drains into a small creek running through a seasonal
wetland. And all this quite willful and unnecessary pollution in a region
that gets less than ten inches of rain a year, where every drop of water
is far more precious than in places more generously endowed with wet
Now the weed-infested never-bullt Resource Recovery Park site sits below
the massive bowl being scooped out of an upland meadow at a public cost
of millions. Now the ACT NoWaste people rig up winner-take-all schemes
that pit one recycler against another and seed conflict, not cooperation,
among the resource competition. Now the ACT NoWaste people say the
compost operator can't charge a tipping fee. Only the landfill gets to
charge tipping fees; this is directly contrary to effective recycling
practices elsewhere. Now the ACT NoWaste has hooked its profit-oriented
solid waste burial scheme to the ACT government's finances in such a way
as to make ACT dependent on wasting for its revenues, and complicit in
ACT's business interference against wasting's competition.
Meanwhile, above the big new plastic-lined garbage bowl is the next new
cell of the landfill that NoWaste has already scheduled in a publicly
guaranteed expansion of waste capacity, cell upon cell, said to extend to
2050 at least.
Two years ago, ACT NoWaste did quietly drop the "by 2010" part
of the goal, but it was still printed on their trucks in April 2007.
They did put money into advertising and public information promoting
recycling and even reuse, and it never occurred to them to change their
name to something more appropriate, like MAXWaste by 2010, but they've
surely acted as though that was their goal.
So far they have succeeded. And they've used knowledge, false knowledge,
all along as a screen.
The unbuilt infrastructure, including the entrepreneurial network of
reuse and recycling disposal businesses, is the missing element in the
Canberra infrastructure, in my opinion, and so I differ with Helen on
this point. It's the same everywhere, including Berkeley, so far as I can
determine. All too much of our current mrf infrastructure produces
inferior resources because of collection "efficiencies" that
create contamination and resource downgrading.
Urban Ore, Inc.
A reuse and recycling company in Berkeley, California since 1980
On Jul 17, 2007, at 12:54 PM, Helen Spiegelman wrote:
My conclusion is that it is inconsistent to ban disposal without, at the
same time, mandating recycling. And also these measures have no effect
The missing element, I found in a survey of disposal bans in British
Columbia a couple years ago, is PUBLIC INFORMATION. Most of the rules
exist on the books only, but do not become part of the community culture
because the public doesn't know about them.
Our regional government is expanding and stepping up enforcement of bans
- and committing resources to public information about the programs. Here
we have a lot to learn from the state of California, which is really good
at catchy TV ads. Darryl Young showed audiences in Australia some great
ads promoting the CA bottle bill. It has to be really catchy and at the
same time preachy: like anti-smoking campaigns?
At 08:14 AM 7/17/2007, Pete Pasterz wrote:
I don't agree that bans
and collection mandates necessarily lead to the same outcome...here in
North Carolina, we have several banned items, but voluntary provision of
recycling services by local communities, and voluntary citizen
participation. Those municipalities that don't provide service, or that
provide inferior programs have a majority of the banned items still going
to landfill. Even in Mecklenburg County, which has [had] been an early
leader in recycling and education programs, more materials, including
banned ones like aluminum cans, go to the landfill than the MRF. If
there were some [any] enforcement of the bans, this may have the
desired effect of directing the materials to a recycling stream...or to a
roadside dump, depending on the incentives given to the
So, the combination of
bans and voluntary programs is not optimizing recycling here. I'm not
sure that mandates would necessarily change this, without also a
framework for a better focus on economic and intrinsic incentives to
generators. The financial incentives don't necessarily need to be
PAYT-type rewards/penalties, or RecycleBank coupons; they could also be
product/packaging costs which reflect their impacts...
Cabarrus County, NC
mailto:GreenYes@no.address] On Behalf Of Helen
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2007 6:40 PM
Subject: [GreenYes] Re: Recycling to be mandatory? Compromise bill
may bevoted on soon in House
I am interested in the dualism of "mandatory recycling" and
"disposal bans" which lead to the same outcome. Does anyone
have experience that compares the effectiveness of the two
At 08:52 AM 6/21/2007, Reindl, John wrote:
This is great news ! Wisconsin
has had mandatory recycling in place since the early 1990's and, while
not perfect, it has worked very well. Without mandatory recycling, I
doubt that we would have the economies of scale for either collection,
processing, or marketing.
Dane County, WI
- -----Original Message-----
mailto:GreenYes@no.address]On Behalf Of
- Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2007 10:17 AM
- Subject: [GreenYes] Recycling to be mandatory? Compromise bill may be
voted on soon in House
- Published: Jun 19, 2007 - 11:19:49 pm EDT
- Recycling to be mandatory? Compromise bill may be voted on soon in
- By Drew Volturo, Delaware State News
- DOVER -- Lawmakers pushing two separate curbside residential
recycling bills have reached a compromise on legislation that would be
mandatory and charge a $3 per ton assessment on solid waste.
- The measure, a combination of two bills that had their supporters and
detractors, was being shopped around Legislative Hall Tuesday and could
find its way to the House of Representatives floor for a vote soon.
- "We have been doing voluntary recycling for several years and
can't get much above 15 percent (participation among residents),"
said Rep. Pamela S. Maier, R-Newark, who is sponsoring the compromise
- "I don't want folks to be afraid of the word 'mandatory,' which
always raises red flags."
- Rep. Maier originally sponsored a bill that would mandate curbside
residential recycling, while Gov. Ruth Ann Minner backed legislation
calling for voluntary recycling and setting up a $3 per ton assessment.
- The compromise measure incorporates many of the tenets of the
Minner-backed legislation, including the assessment, which would create a
fund to help with startup costs associated with recycling programs, and
the establishment of recycling goals.
- Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control John A.
Hughes said his department could live with the mandatory recycling bill,
but he prefers the original voluntary measure because it would be more
palatable to legislators and residents.
- "We agree with getting recycling started, planting the
seeds," Mr. Hughes said.
- "We will reach the point when the majority of people see how
well recycling functions and the costs are balanced out by large-scale
- Then, Mr. Hughes said, adopting a mandatory system would be less
- He noted that his hometown of Rehoboth Beach has implemented
voluntary curbside recycling through Delaware Solid Waste Authority and
many of his neighbors already have signed up for the program.
- Mr. Hughes said he is concerned that mandatory recycling might not
pass, and the voluntary proposal might end up on the cutting room floor
- Clean Air Council community outreach director James Black said he
would have preferred a mandatory recycling bill without the assessment,
which is estimated to cost the average household 38 cents a month.
- "Mandatory recycling is not as much of a problem as it used to
be because people realize to reach the goals we set, it has to be
mandatory," Mr. Black said.
- "It's better to have a compromise bill now because every year we
wait, the trash in the landfills is going to pile that much
- But Delaware Solid Waste Authority CEO Pasquale "Pat"
Canzano said not establishing the assessment while requiring recycling
creates an unfunded mandate, which often is difficult to meet.
- "(The bill) provides the ability for public and private entities
to apply for grants for recycling programs, which should increase the
amount of recycling," Mr. Canzano said.
- Under the legislation, a recycling fund would be established and
financed by a $3 per ton assessment on all solid waste -- excluding
recyclables -- collected and/or disposed of in Delaware.
- That money, Deputy DNREC Secretary David Small said, would be
available to private companies, municipalities and community
organizations as startup funds for recycling programs and could be used
to purchase equipment, such as a truck or recycling containers.
- Once a local government reaches a recycling rate of 30 percent, it
would not be assessed the $3 a ton surcharge.
- "At some point, around 30-40 percent recycling, towns would be
saving enough in tipping and disposal fees to cover recycling
costs," Mr. Small said.
- But how would the mandatory component of the legislation be
- Rep. Robert J. Valihura Jr., R-Wilmington, a sponsor of the original
voluntary recycling bill and co-sponsor of the compromise measure, said
there are mechanisms in place to ensure the program's success.
- Refuse brought to a landfill already is inspected for contraband,
asbestos and other contaminants. If trash haulers start bringing in
refuse with too many recyclables, the landfills would reject the loads
and could fine the haulers, Rep. Valihura said.
- DSWA and DNREC, he said, would develop the exact process.
- The measure carries the goal of increasing Delaware's recycling from
15 percent to 30 percent recycling by 2010 and 51 percent by 2015.
- Post your opinions in the Public Issues Forum at newszap.com.
- Staff writer Drew Volturo can be reached at 741-8296
- See what's free at
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