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Re: [GreenYes] recycling plastic number 5's and 6's. -Why makeit at all?
I appreciate the reasoning and sentiment, but we can't go back.  The weight
and breakability of the glass places it at an economic disadvantage.
Furthermore, recovery costs are driving glass out of the MRFs which must
adjust their operations to reduce costs.  Our best bet is to use technology
to solve our problems.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Wayne Turner" <>
To: <>; <>; <>
Cc: <>; <>
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2001 2:58 PM
Subject: Re: [GreenYes] recycling plastic number 5's and 6's. -Why makeit at

> For all of us 'boomers' who recall the days when there was no such thing
as plastic packaging for sodas and other beverages, this problem didn't
exist.  That's because the glass bottles that contained sodas had an
intrinsic value on them that was determined by the marketplace.  It was
actually less expensive for the bottlers and much more sustainable to pay a
small fee, typically 2 cents in my time, to get the bottles back and reuse
them.  I personally recall summers when I collected bottles and redeemed
them for some spending money.  Place an intrinsic value on anything, even
waste, and you'll be amazed at how creatively people will recover it to
extract the value.
> The advent of plastic bottles, with their low or negligible intrinsic
value obviated this system for the bottlers.  It became cheaper and more
profitable to simply use 'one way' packaging, thus placing the burden of
disposal on the consumer (i.e. the taxpayers).  I certainly don't recall a
hue and cry from the public demanding plastic packaging (bottles).  What
this created was a huge subsidy for the bottlers in that taxpayers
shouldered the burden of the end-of-life for the plastic bottles.  Now, as
taxpayers, we're expected to continue to shoulder that burden by putting in
place recycling programs that cost taxpayers more than it cost the bottlers
to reuse their glass bottles.  The plastics industry (i.e. the petroleum
industry, i.e. the oil industry) is not going to place an intrinsic value on
the plastic bottles based on market price because it's cheaper to produce
from virgin materials than post consumer recyclables.  It's much more
profitable to extract and produce tha!
> n take-back and produce.
> Instead of adding layer upon layer of new policies and subsidies, I'd
prefer to see us take an approach that peels back some of the layers to
times when systems were simpler, more sustainable and the costs associated
with producing the products and packages rested solely with the producers
themselves.  Then, we as consumers, can make a choice to purchase based on
the cost and performance of the product without having to concern ourselves
with the end-of-life issue.
> B. Wayne Turner
> City of Winston-Salem
> Utilities Division
> phone: (336) 747 8418
> email:
> >>> "Paul Goettlich" <> 12/12/01 01:37PM >>>
> For real solutions to the problem of plastics recycling, the appropriate
> question(s) must be asked. In this case, a more appropriate question would
> be "Should plastic be made in the first place?"
> As a complete and final solution I like the first "R" best-- to reduce,
> accomplished on an easy-to-follow national reduction plan, the goal being
> complete elimination of plastic.
> It's an ambitious goal, however, the first part of the plan is to reduce
> amount of plastic one buys by substituting nonplastic products wherever
> possible. Don't purchase those items that are made of plastic or wrapped
> plastic. This is not easy for consumers who were born after the advent of
> plastic, and find it indispensable--actually addicted to it. We lived
> well before plastic, and we can do so after plastic has been eliminated.
> We must omit one plastic product from our households on a regular
> until all are banished. For a start, store all food in glass or ceramic,
> plastic containers or wrap. Ask your supermarket to stop wrapping foods,
> especially fatty foods like meats and cheeses, in PVC. Demand that
> corporations such as Coke and Pepsi actually reuse their plastic
> There are so many ways to accomplish this reduction plan.
> Educate people to the fact that there is no recycling of plastic. A more
> appropriate definition of what is being done with discarded plastic is
> "extremely limited reuse" before it finds its way to the landfill,
> incinerator, or less developed nations such as India where the same thing
> happens with it. If consumers were made aware of this fact, they would see
> that plastic is an environmentally unsustainable material and not a wise
> selection. A good way to begin this education is to let them know that NOT
> ONE of the thousands of plastic milk jugs they dutifully place in the
> "recycling" bin each week is made into a new plastic milk jug.
> To approach the problem of plastic recycling from the other end--the
> cause--have Industry assume its fair share of product responsibility by
> legislating the elimination of all externalized production costs. This
> include the full environmental damage caused by its production, use, and
> disposal. And I mean ALL externalized damage associated with it, including
> the cancers, birth defects, mental disabilities, sexual abnormalities,
> caused by violence, road rage.... and so on. If all the damage associated
> with plastics were included, and made part of the manufacturers
> responsibility, it not would be produced, thus ending the world's plastic
> recycling dilemma in very short time.
> I'd like to assemble a list of other ways to reduce the use and production
> of plastic if people would send their ideas in.
> Paul
> Paul Goettlich
> PO Box 517
> Berkeley  CA   94701
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Sarah I. Wolpow" <>
> To: "Stephan Pollard" <>
> Cc: "The Eden Sterling Company" <>;
> Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 9:30 AM
> Subject: Re: [GreenYes] recycling plastic number 5's and 6's.
> > I sometimes wonder about the cost/benefit of mailing things out to get
> them
> > recycled. Trucking is such a huge source of pollution, it may be better
> > environmentally to simply landfill the plastic rather than burn fuel to
> get it to
> > a recycling plant... Any thoughts?
> >
> > Stephan Pollard wrote:
> > > Same goes for us folks in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  We'd be
> if
> > > responses to Ben's email could be shared with the group.
> > > Also, is there anything we can do with 4's?
> > > Stephan
> > > The Eden Sterling Company wrote:
> > > > Hello. My name is Ben Randolph. I am new to this list. We strive in
> our
> > > > household to recycle as much as possible. Here in Cincinnati, Ohio
> can
> > > > find no place that takes plastics marked with a 5 or 6. We want to
> know if
> > > > there is someplace we could mail these plastics to that would
> them.
> > > > We don't have that many, but over 3-4 months they would add up to be
> quite a
> > > > lot. Or if someone knows of a place in Cincinnati that we might have
> > > > overlooked.
> > > > Peace,
> > > > Ben Randolph
> > ******************************************
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