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[GreenYes] Zero waste goals alone are not enough


Pat Franklin's recent posting both compliments and condemns the Oregon Bottle Bill Task Force for its recommendations.  As a Governor's appointee to that body, I suggest that Pat reconsider her criticism that the recommended 80 percent redemption rate in the Task Force's final report to the 2009 legislature doesn't represent zero waste for beverage containers.  Pat needs to do a little research before making such comments.
 
Too many zero waste advocates see a governmetally-adopted 100-percent no-waste goal as a major achievement.  In many cases, it is not.  I've seen way too many communities adopt such a zero waste goal, and then do absolutely nothing to try to acheive it.  Yet, in many of those communties, zero-waste advocates claim victory, when in fact, they are getting snookered.  Goals without programs are merely words.
 
In Oregon, we aim to raise the mandated redemption rate in steps towards zero beverage waste.  The plan is to attain the 80 percent goal, then raise it to 90 percent and require that this level be attained.  We'll then move it higher again.  That is a politically viable way of not getting snookered and to realistically attain zero waste.  In other words, we have a well-defined strategy to attain the goal, and not just have the goal by itself. 
 
I'd also encourage folks to read the Task Force's final report in which the beverage industry and grocers have agreed to fully fumd and manage the recovery system, at no cost to the consumer or taxpayer.  In other words, true product stewardship.  
 
Jerry Powell
Resource Recycling
jpowell@no.address

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