[GRRN] ACTION ALERT - Tell Congress to Recycle!

Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Thu, 22 Apr 1999 21:24:44 -0400

Here's a small thing you can do for Earth Day:

Contact your Representative to Congress and
ask him or her to endorse and vote for House
Resolution 146. Introduced on Earth Day 1999,
this bill would REQUIRE the House of
Representatives to recycle!

Does it upset you that Congress does not
apply the same standards to itself that we
expect from the rest of society? Perhaps if
Congress tried recycling they would be more
likely to end the billions in welfare for waste
that undermines recycling!

H. Res. 146 was introduced by Rep. Sam Farr
(D-CA) and cosponsored by two Democrats
(Doggett - TX, Blumenauer - OR) and three
Republicans (Gilchrest - MD, Porter - IL,
Shays - CT).

To CALL your representative:
Dial the Capitol Switchboard - 202-224-3121

To EMAIL or WRITE your representative:
Go to http://www.house.gov/writerep/

Also consider writing a letter to your local

Here is the press release issued today by Rep.
Sam Farr's office. The release includes a quote
from the GrassRoots Recycling Network and
a reference to the Welfare for Waste report
(which can be downloaded at www.grrn.org ):

April 22, 1999


Says Congress Should Recycle Like the Rest of

WASHINGTON, DC -- Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel)
introduced legislation today that would
mandate the House of Representatives to
recycle its trash. Currently the House runs a
nominal recycling program that is voluntary.

"We tell the rest of the country to recycle,
yet we have no enforcement or leadership to do
it on Capitol Hill," said Farr. "My
bipartisan bill would bring us into line with
the rest of America." According to Farr
there's no reason why the House of
Representatives cannot do what every other
American does daily in their own kitchens and
offices: recycle.

Though American households now routinely
separate their trash for recycling, Congress'
own record on this is poor in comparison: The
House earned only $959 in 1996 from recycled
paper and only a grand total of $7.51 in 1997.
That jumped to $25,000 in 1998 but even that
amount pales to what could have been earned
had the House recycling program been run more
widely and more efficiently. Estimates
predict $150,000 per year or more could be
earned in the House if the program functioned

Recently, the Office of the Federal
Environmental Executive published an analysis
of the environmental impacts of purchasing
recycled content paper by the Executive
Branch. Right now the government only
purchases 2 percent of the total copier paper
in the United States. But if 100 percent of
government purchases were to contain
significant postconsumer contents, then the
copier paper industry would cut down 450,000 -
500,000 fewer trees for paper production.

A report issued April 8, 1999 by the Taxpayers
for Common Sense, GrassRoots Recycling
Network, Friends of the Earth, and the
Materials Efficiency Project, show a variety
of government programs that undermine
recycling and reuse. "There's a bedrock
consensus for recycling in America -- more
people recycle than vote," said Bill Sheehan,
coordinator of the Athens-GA based GrassRoots
Recycling Network. "Congress should be held
to the same standards as everyone else."

Chief among non-green government activities
are subsidies to industries such as the timber
industry that encourage the production of
virgin paper and other materials rather than
investing in recycle products. Over $811
million per year goes into timber subsidies
designed to support the paper and related

"The resources we could save and the money we
could earn if we recycled would have a
rippling effect in the wider economy," said
Farr. "Congress ought to set an example."