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[GreenYes] Fwd: new SWANA Waste Policy
Although it's not for Zero Waste, it does have some good policies, including product stewardship, market development, and financial incentives for recycling.


From: "Peter Anderson" <anderson@no.address>
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 10:44:03 -0600

Pushing the Envelope on Waste Reduction and Recovery
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA)
January 10, 2003

This document was approved by the SWANA International Board of Directors at their 2002 Annual Meeting in Long Beach CA. It was developed with input and contributions from SWANA's eight Technical Divisions and was drafted by John H. Skinner, Ph.D. Executive Director and CEO

Executive Summary

This document sets forth SWANA's strategy for significantly increasing the rates of municipal solid waste reduction and recovery in North America and makes a series of policy recommendations that would remove barriers to and provide incentives for achieving higher levels of waste reduction and recovery. It is intended to be a living document designed to communicate, stimulate discussion and solicit comments on the ideas and concepts presented. Accordingly it will be widely distributed to Federal, State and Provincial legislators and policy makers, local governmental officials, solid waste management professionals, the media and the general public. The document will be modified in the future based on the commentary received

In developing this strategy, SWANA supports a comprehensive integrated solid waste management approach that incorporates a broad range of source reduction, materials recycling and energy recovery activities to reduce and recover value from municipal solid wastes. SWANA believes that there is significant opportunity to increase reduction and recovery levels by working across the board and encouraging reduction and recovery in many forms, wherever it can be achieved in an environmentally and economically sound manner. Furthermore, since there are technical, economic and budgetary constraints to increasing waste reduction and recovery levels, SWANA believes providing a broad range of solid waste reduction and recovery options will allow market forces to work to increase reduction and recovery rates in the most economical and efficient manner.

The document first reviews the most recent US EPA data on solid waste generation, recovery and disposal along with the trends in this data over the past two decades. Based on this data SWANA concludes the following:

· Even though the economy grew dramatically over the last decade, the per capita waste generation rate has actually leveled off and remained steady since 1990. This suggests that waste generation continues to increase primarily because the population is increasing and not because of an inherent increase in wastefulness by consumers and industry.

· The overall reduction and recovery rate in the year 2000 was over 50 percent when all forms of source reduction, recycling, composting and energy recovery are included. In year 2000, 30 percent of the solid waste generated was recycled or composted, 15 percent was recovered through waste-to-energy systems, and waste generation was reduced at the source by nearly 20 percent.

· Over the past decade the quantity of municipal solid waste disposed of in landfills has actually declined by 9 percent, even though the total waste generated has increased due to population growth. This fact alone testifies to the outstanding success of municipal solid waste reduction and recovery programs in North America.

The document then presents several projections for future solid waste reduction and recovery levels. SWANA concludes that increasing the overall reduction and recovery rate to 65 percent over a ten year period would be and ambitious goal that would require a 28 percent increase in reduction and recovery over current levels while holding per capita waste generation rates level. This probably cannot be achieved without new incentives to encourage across-the-board increases in recovery and reduction levels.

The document concludes with the following policy recommendations that would build upon past successes and create incentives to reduce waste and achieve higher levels of solid waste recovery:

Recommendation 1: Encourage more extensive product stewardship by product designers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

Recommendation 2: Expand efforts by Federal, State and Provincial governments to develop markets for recycled materials and recovered energy.

Recommendation 3: Provide financial incentives for investments in recycling, composting and the use of recycled materials.

Recommendation 4: Include waste-to-energy and conversion technologies in renewable portfolio standards and green power programs.

Recommendation 5: Encourage the recovery and use of landfill gas by reinstating federal tax credits and through renewable portfolio standards and green power programs.

Recommendation 6: Support technology transfer and research and development efforts that have the potential to significantly increase waste recovery rates, as well as work to reduce the barriers to their implementation.

These recommendations will provide the guiding principles for SWANA and its members to use in advocacy efforts with policy makers, legislators, regulatory agencies, industry and public interest groups.

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485

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