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[GreenYes] Re: Zero waste goals alone are not enough

Hello Jerry,


Mea culpa!  Mea culpa!  Mea culpa! 


Please know that my comment was most certainly not meant to condemn either the Task Force or its well thought out recommendations.  In retrospect, I should have prefaced my remark with a hearty CONGRATULATIONS for banging out a solid set of recommendations with a knowledgeable group of multi-stakeholders.  While I would like to have seen a recommendation that set dates and rates that came closer to 100 percent than the suggested 80 percent, I appreciate the fact that ½ a loaf (or 80%) is better than nothing.  When one considers that PET water bottles are recycled at about 20 percent nationwide, and presumably in Oregon too, an 80 percent goal would be a very substantial increase in recovery and reduction in plastic bottle waste.


The reason I brought up Zero Waste at all was that I sometimes get frustrated with the Zero Waste Mantra (though I support it) when I know that of all the items in the waste stream that could achieve Zero Waste (or mighty darn close—90-95% in Michigan) is beverage containers.  At the same time, aluminum beverage cans, probably THE most recyclable item, has a recovery rate of only slightly more than 50 percent. 


You (and the Task Force) done good Jerry!!  Real good!!!!  You have the power of the Task Force behind a proposal to the legislature to update the deposit law to include all non-carbonated beverages, wine and liquor containers and to let the beverage industry use the unredeemed deposits to make the collection system function effectively and efficiently.  I can live with an 80 percent recovery rate, especially knowing that you and others in Oregon will be working to raise the bar higher and higher. 


I think we are probably closer to being on the same page than not. 


Warm regards,


Pat Franklin





From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address] On Behalf Of Jerry Powell
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 8:12 AM
To: greenyes@no.address
Subject: [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

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