Re: CURC Conferences Sponsorships

Helen Spiegelman (
Tue, 22 Dec 1998 06:56:06 -0800

At 03:18 PM 12/21/98 -0800, you wrote:
>The ultimate goal of 'sponsorship' is to INFLUENCE PUBLIC POLICY.
>US EPA: The OECD Workshop on Producer Responsibility sponsored by the US
>EPA: A lavish reception and dinner in early December for 60 OECD
>participants at the U.S. Capitol was sponsored by:
> The American Plastics Council (APC)
> The Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA)
> The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA)
> The American Forest and Paper Association (AFPA)
>Coke and APC do not want legislative mandates such as recycled content
>requirements, bottle bills, or any other sort of 'producer responsibility'

There is an even more insidious strategy being used by the alliance
represented in the above list. Rather than fight concepts like EPR, they
are infiltrating the discussion groups and introducing a *sterile* EPR
concept designed to kill the movement altogether!

In 1992 the Recycling council of British Columbia (CANADA) was beginning to
publicise the existance of EPR programs in Europe, and to ask why such a
sensible approach wouldn't be effective in Canada, shifting the burden for
disposable products and packaging back onto the producers.

Within one year, the Grocery Products Manufacturers Association (which
includes basically all of the above) had come out with its own EPR model,
which they called CIPSI (Canadian Industry Packaging Stewardship Initiative).

This model of EPR *looked* like an offer for industry to take over funding
of recycling -- but on closer inspection, it turned out to be a clever ploy
to innoculate industry against responsibility, by requiring them to pay
into the system *a little bit* -- effectively protecting them from coming
down the the full-blown disease of responsibility. (Industry offered to pay
a *top-up* fee for recycling -- but left the municipality holding the bag
for collection costs, as well as for disposing of all products and
packaging that are *non-recyclable*.)

The industry people had targeted Canada's largest province first, in the
mid 1980s, when the Soft Drink producers promised to pay the *start up*
costs for municipal curbside recycling. Once these programs were underway,
the munis were shackled to the Blue Box, which turned out to be a huge
expense, and the industry support turned out to be small potatoes.

I hope that Pat Franklin, Rick Best, Peter Anderson and other GRRNers who
attended the EPR workshop in DC will post reports to this list, telling us
what they saw there.

Did you, for instance, see evidence that the concept of EPR was being
doctored with themes like *shared* responsibility -- portraying the
life-cycle of a product as a chain where everyone, including MUNICIPALITIES
(read: taxpayers) has a responsibility.

BTW, the delegation from Canada was well-represented by industry -- and not
at all by non-profit, public-interest groups (the government had no $$ to
send us, while of course the industry had plenty...)

Helen Spiegelman
3570 West 22nd Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia

604/731-8463 (fax)