[GRRN] sustainable recycling markets

Patricia Imperato (imperato@prc.org)
Fri, 26 Mar 1999 18:19:34 -0500

A group of us in the recycling choir are planning a summit for the PA
Dept. of Env. Protection to identify initiatives that the state should
undertake to help improve the sustainability of recycling markets. We
recognize that one state can't do it alone but we would like to use some
of the surplus from the $40+ million collected annually in our state
Recycling Fund to make some inroads to increase the use of recycled
content materials by all sectors; convince manufacturer's to use
recycled feedstock, improve collection efficiencies (especially plastic)
and increase capacity of processors and end-users in close proximity to
our urban recycling programs. Our group has excellent in-state resource
people including municipal recycling coordinators, processors,
non-profits, and DEP recycling and market development staff.

We've gotten burned in the past with public/private partneship programs
that didn't produce promised results and financing R&D that couldn't may
the transition from pilot to mass production. We certainly recognize
the global market issues.

A Task Force of multiple state agencies, including Commerce and
Economic Development did develop an action plan in 1995 that has had
limited follow through. We are trying to kick start an effective action

We are familiar with Clean Washington, Chelsea Center, NERC, MACREDO,
BRBA, and NRC programs and have checked out their excellent websites..

Can any of you identify programs that have REALLY been successful or
have the real potential for success that we could model. We'd like to
have some success cases to present. The summit (really a think tank)
will be in late June for a limited audience of do-ers.

The group is willing to think outside the box. We've discussed
mandating content legislation knowing we'd need multi-state support;
taxing packages that cannot be readily recyclable (look out Coke and
Miller etc.); and banning non-recyclable products/packaging for use in
state-funded buildings, including sports stadiums, universities, and
state offices. Even if we only succeeded in making the plastic
industry and others come to the table to develop workable solutions, we
would feel we were getting a good start.

You can answer me directly at imperato@voicenet.com or through GreenYes
if you think your response is of benefit to the GreenYes audience. I'm
not trying to elicit massive dialog on what to do (our group has had a
lot of discussions). Rather, I'm looking for information resources as
to what COULD work or why something specifically could not work.
Governor Ridge has a sustainable community environmental agenda. We
all know that stable recycling markets is a vital component to that
agenda. We have an opportunity to direct some significant funding but
want to present a practical plan.

I appreciate your help. I know that this is the $64K question that we
would all like the answer.

Pat Imperato
PA Resources Council
610-353-1555 (fax: -6257)