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[GreenYes] Population and Waste
> Rise in population hurts management of waste
> SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California experienced a heralded decade of recycling
> and waste management in the 1990s, but that success is being overtaken by
> population growth. California's population is expected to reach 40 million
> by 2010, with 18.5 million people living in metropolitan Los Angeles' five
> counties. Where all their trash will go is anyone's guess.   "California's
> pounds per person of disposable waste is still above average nationally,"
> said Mark Murray, director of Californians Against Waste. "We were the
> worst in 1990, and we continue to be pretty bad." 
> Experts widely consider California a pioneering waste manager with some of
> the nation's strictest standards. But a state senator and the state
> auditor say its reputation is built on misleading statistics derived from
> formulas aimed at skewing results.   Officials at the state's Integrated
> Waste Management Board, the agency that monitors garbage, say they have
> kept 140 million tons out of landfills since 1990. They say they have
> shredded millions of tires and recycled more than 61 million gallons of
> engine oil a year. Figures show that California diverts 42 percent of its
> trash to curbside recycling bins, hometown recycling centers and mulching
> firms in contrast with 33 percent nationally, according to the U.S.
> Environmental Protection Agency. 
> But Democratic Sen. Gloria Romero, whose Los Angeles-area district
> includes the nation's largest landfill, said the reported 42 percent
> diversion rate from landfills is bogus.   "I am certainly convinced that
> the number doesn't matter," said Romero. "I can give you a handout that
> shows you any number you want or any number that makes the agency feel
> good."   State Auditor Elaine Howle, in auditing a system where perceived
> success or failure depends entirely on statistics, used the word "flawed."
> She questioned calculation methods whereby cities count yard sales in
> their hometown newspapers and, for every three, tally up a ton of diverted
> trash. They count more for thrift stores. 
> In her audit, Howle said inaccurate diversion figures from local
> government make it hard for anyone to "project California's future needs
> for landfills."   Waste board spokesman Chris Peck said such shortcomings
> come from the 1989 law that required cities and counties to divert a
> fourth of their trash from landfills to recycling centers and compost
> piles by 1995 and half by 2000. Many haven't met the 2000 deadlines and
> have asked for more time. Government officials hope to improve on those
> changes with efficient electric cars, tires that last longer, and a
> larger, more aggressive recycling industry. Romero plans to introduce
> bills to give the waste board new authority and steer it toward
> alternatives to landfills found around the world. 
> "There's the reality of death and taxes," she said, "and I would throw
> garbage in as well."
> Bruce Maine
> Research Director - Sustainable Design Services
> LEED Accredited Professional
> HDR Architecture
> 402.399.1198
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