[GRRN] Bottles vs. Cans

Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 20:29:20 -0500

[Two messages posted on another listserv]


We have run into the same problem here at the University of Arizona,
This past year the University negotiated a multi-million dollar, 10 year
contract with Pepsi and no one involved considered "recycling" in the
contract. Profits appear to be the only motivation for the increase in
plastic. Many of our vending machines have been replaced for machines
dispensing only plastic and the remaining machines we have been told
will eventually be replaced. No thoughts were discussed on what to do
with the plastic other than Pepsi offered trash containers for the empty
plastic bottles but no one thought about what to do with the plastic
after that. Needless to say most of the plastic is going to the
landfill as Tucson is still very much in the dark ages when it comes to
recycling. Big business is not going to back down when they can create
a larger profit from plastic so it appears the recycling efforts will
have to refocus on plastic and create a recycling market within that

Our recycling effort has concentrated on recycling aluminum within our
18 residence halls. The money earned from recycling aluminum has been
returned to the halls and they are allowed to use it for programming
within their hall. There are also competitions among the halls as to who
can recycle the most pounds per resident. We have even used conduct
cases to assist with our recycling effort. They get the dirty job of
removing contamination and crushing cans before they go to the recycling
center. As plastic takes over our program must re-evolve to include
plastic. Plastic occupies more space and long into the future mankind
will be digging up the plastic we are throwing away today! I know
plastic can be as successful as aluminum but there needs to be a effort
put forth from business and law makers to assist and prevent as much
plastic as possible from being dumped. This is just the tip of the

Debbie Hanson
University of Arizona
Project & Environmental Coordinator

-----Original Message-----
From: OFEE List Server [SMTP:list-users@ofee.gov]
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 1999 10:28 AM
To: Debbie Hanson

Kennedy Cheri L DLVA <KennedyCL@NSWC.NAVY.MIL wrote:

Does anyone know why (other than profits) the Naval Exchange
has begun switching from aluminum beverage cans to plastic
ones in their vending machines? I'd like to know whether they
considered the environmental impact of this decision. Aluminum
is much easier to recycle. We don't generate enough tonnage to
recycle plastic at my activity, without having a facility to operate
out of. [I'm still running my program out of 40 cubic yard closed
top containers.] The Boy Scouts have traditionally provided the
labor to collect and recycle aluminum here, thus they get the
proceeds. Switching to plastic bottles is slowing taking it's toll
on their proceeds and increasing the tonnage being landfilled.
(Not by a huge noticeable amount, but I still feel it should have
been looked at.) I submitted this question to the Naval Exchange
web site, but I never received an answer.

Has this switch affected anyone else?

Cheri L. Kennedy, CD287
Solid Waste Program Manager
Naval Surface Warfare Center
Dahlgren Division
17320 Dahlgren Rd
Dahlgren, VA 22448-5100
Phone: 540-653-2342
Fax: 540-653-2339