Re: [GRRN] Recent Betsy Hart opinion essay on recycling

Cindy Shea (
Tue, 09 Nov 1999 15:22:50 -0500

Dear Greenyessers,

Does anybody know how much mileage a Betsy Hart opinion piece is likely to get? In general, I feel that "responding to the other side" generates more publicity for the "opponent" than they would otherwise get.

I think a well crafted opinion piece tied to America Recycles Day and the economic, environmental, and social benefits that accrue from recycling would be a more productive pursuit. I've ordered the ILSR report on cutting the waste stream in half, but haven't yet received it. My guess is that it contains lots of pithy quotes that could be used to make the point FOR recycling. For those that do see Betsy Hart's essay in print, I suggest offering a counterpoint essay to the same publication that does not rebut each assertion, but offers a compelling reason
to continue, expand, and improve local recycling programs.

Is anybody working on a good editorial for America Recycles Day that could be more widely distributed?

Cindy Pollock Shea
Contributing Editor
Florida Sustainable Communities Center

"Roger M. Guttentag" wrote:

> At 09:44 AM 11/09/1999, Gary Liss wrote:
> >Roger,
> >
> >I think all those on the GreenYes listserve have an obligation to respond to Betsy Hart's essay, not just DISCUSS it among ourselves. I am concerned that this essay may get picked up by other news organizations and repeated around the country like the John Tierney article was.
> =================================================================
> Dear Gary:
> It is my hope that a good quality discussion among ourselves will help us to craft better responses to the Hart essay. Otherwise Greenyes devolves into a glorified digital intercom. My concern is that we don't send either a "how dare you write this crap" response or long winded snoozers that no news service will bother picking up. We need to look at the style as well as the substance of Hart's essa for guidance. It is appealing because it has a short, conversational tone with lots of easy to follow and very quotable (though misleading) statements like:
> "there are more trees in the United States today than at any other time in this century"
> "if Americans continue generating garbage at current rates, it would take 1,000 years before the total refuse pile would fill an area 35 miles square and 100 yards deep."
> "Picking up a ton of recyclables (forget the expense of processing it)can cost three times as much as picking up the same amount of garbage."
> and the creme de la creme:
> "aggressive curbside recycling programs are almost always significant revenue losers. And that has real consequences now: less money available for better schools, safer roads, more police or improved social services."
> Frankly, I think the other side writes better on many occasions than we do on this topic so I think we do need to discuss how we can do better in responding.
> Roger M. Guttentag
> 610-584-8836
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