Re: [GRRN] Congressional Recycling Effort

William P. McGowan (
Fri, 2 Apr 1999 08:39:24 -0800 (PST)

For anyone who has tried to set up a large institutional recycling
program, the story of recycling on Capitol Hill is an old one. Just like
any other large bureacracy, Congressional staffers and the department
which maintains the Capitol porobably were not consulted at all before
recycling bgean, and probably recived dribs and drabs of information
about recycling thereafter. the one place where my company had the
greatest success was a large public utility based in Sanb Francisco that
decided it was going to be "green." When the program was kicked off,
the CEO of the company sent out a letter supporting the program and
suggested that anyone who had a problem changing the way they threw their
garbage away could call a sdpecial number and talk to the company
recycling liaison officer--the phone number went direct to the CEO's
office. Needless to say, the program was a great success.

Another problem with institutional recycling programs in D.C. on Federal
property is that I believe that all workers must be paid a "living wage,"
which is close to $13 an hour for basic laborers. If this is true, then
collection costs are likley to exceed total program revenue.

The bottom line is that it is liklely that no one really thought out
recyclig on capitol

Just some thoughts--

Bill McGowan
UCSB History
Rincon Recycling

On Fri, 2 Apr 1999, RecycleWorlds wrote:

> fyi
> 02:01 PM ET 04/01/99
> Congress Resists Recycling Effort
> Congress Resists Recycling Effort
> Associated Press Writer=
> WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nearly a decade after recycling began on
> Capitol Hill, many congressional offices still aren't separating
> the paper and aluminum cans from the lunch trash. Even the House
> chairman who oversees environmental issues on public lands has
> turned his back on the effort.
> Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said his office separated recyclables
> only to see the effort go to waste because of sloppy practices.
> ``At the time, the garbage was being separated by our office. It
> was later then placed in the same garbage bag by the cleaning
> folks, and it didn't seem as if it was being recycled,'' the
> chairman of the House Resources Committee said through a spokesman.
> Even high-grade white paper, the most lucrative product to
> recycle, isn't being widely sorted. For instance, the House earned
> $25,000 for that recycling in fiscal 1998 _ far short of the
> $150,000 that could be earned if 60 percent of the product was
> sorted, according to the chamber's former recycling coordinator.
> Recycling advocates are frustrated that some on Capitol Hill
> ignore the program entirely while others recycle halfheartedly.
> It's the byproduct of an institution where the 535 lawmakers set
> the rules for each individual office and committee.
> ``The most stubborn bureaucracy in America is Congress itself,''
> said Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., a recycling supporter. ``There's
> never been an attitude that we should have to do that. No one is
> responsible inside an office. Some offices take it seriously and
> some don't.''
> The recycling difficulties are the latest example of a Congress
> that is having trouble following the laws and regulations that
> apply to the rest of Americans.
> Last week, The Associated Press reported that inspectors
> appointed to ensure Congress obeys the same workplace safety rules
> as corporate America found numerous violations, including
> unprotected workers digging through contaminated trash, high
> concentrations of Legionnaires' disease bacteria in one building
> and improper storage of flammable chemicals.
> Many U.S. cities and counties, as well as the executive branch
> of the federal government, require recycling. But Congress has kept
> its program voluntary. The recycling effort is under control of the
> architect of the Capitol, whose 2,000 employees maintain
> congressional buildings.
> ____________________________________
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> RecycleWorlds Consulting
> 4513 Vernon Blvd. Ste. 15
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