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[GreenYes] All Bottles
Pat Franklin asks on behalf of someone from Massachusetts:

"Here is a question about 'all bottle' programs in a town
in MA.  Can anyone help this person?  If so please email
her at  (  She says,

'I am trying to find out if it is true that in Massachusetts,
in towns which accept all #'s of plastic containers for
recycling, only a few of the #'s actually get recycled and
the rest of the plastic is thrown away by the recycling
contractor/collector. Does anyone know of a person I could
speak to who knows about this issue in MA?'"

    APC wrote an article about their all-bottles proposal in Resource
Recycling (Ron Perkins and Barbara Halpin, "Breaking bottlenecks in plastic
bottle recovery," Resource Recycling (Jun '00), at the end of which they
conceded that the 3-7 resin bottles in bales not shipped to China are
discarded and not recycled, either at the MRF or reclaimer.

    The article also references that they did a test of all-bottles in the
small town of Brattleboro in the northeast. I did some call-arounds to find
out what was happening to the all-bottle loads, because the increased
presence of PVC caused by all-bottles creates very very serious economic
risks for the viability of recycling PET (as little as one PVC bottle in
10,000 PET bottles could contaminant the PET and, if there is much more than
2% PVC in the PET, it can become uneconomic to optically remove the PVC due
to the problem of false positives).  Here is my file memo on the subject:
    "I called the Windham County Solid Waste Office (802-257-0272) and asked
who is in charge of marketing plastics. I was referred to Will MacDonald
(802-257-2783). He said that they positively pull PET and attempt to
visually leave PVC bottles on the reject line."  That is to say, the PVC is
not being recycled as the  public is led to believe.

    Thus, there are three reasons for rejecting all bottles:

    1.  It risks undermining the economic viability of PET recycling.

    2.  Upon inspection, APC has not provided any evidence to substantiate
its claim that all-bottles education increases recovery of HDPE and PET
anymore than any rah rah advertising would achieve.

    3.  It risks another backlash from the public when they learn that the
3-7's are being thrown out and not recycled as they have been led to

    4.  By fostering -- incorrectly -- the impression that PVC will be
recycled, it will tend to slow down the movement to phasing out PVC in
bottles, the continuing small presence of which imposes major needless
expense to insure that no PVC remains in processed RPET.


Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph:    (608) 231-1100
Fax:   (608) 233-0011
Cell:   (608) 345-0381

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