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[greenyes] searching for zero waste community
Recycle Scene April 2003
March Report

I spent the month of March searching for zero waste community.  

We started in Washington, DC at the GRRN Board of Directors meeting and I 
continued in on to Fresno and San Bernardino, CA, Penang Malaysia, back to 
San Diego, CA and on the final days of March, Naples Florida.  What I found 
was a global family of campaigners struggling at home, wherever that is, 
against untrained bureaucrats, corrupt politicians and bad economic 

I learn at the GRRN Board of Directors meeting that our proposals for zero 
waste communities has not been funded, but we are looking for new 
possibilities.  We are deep in snow in Washington, DC at the beginning of 
March 2003, It is continuing to snow after one of the heaviest snow falls in 
recent history.  Debbie and I see the Smithsonian, walk from the White House 
to ILSR, and then meet with the GRRN board for several days.  Take back is on 
top of our agenda and Dell is the target, Extended Producer Responsibility is 
a priority, an anti PVC campaign and a zero waste communities training 
workshop is next.  Some of us are going to Penang for the Global Anti 
Incineration Alliance (GAIA) Conference.

I return to California before Malaysia to work with counties implementing 
programs that will reduce discards by 50% from what was measured in 1990.  In 
this State, the local jurisdictions, the State, the recyclers and composters, 
are almost on the same page. The State of California sees zero waste as a 
design point, a goal.

Malaysia was amazing.  The Malaysian recyclers, anti incinerator activists 
and concerned environmentalists hosted and attended our conference.  They are 
unhappy with the governments attempt to build a garbage incinerator in 

We were at friendly hotel on a beautiful tropical island with the view of the 
Bay, a full moon, hills and mountains with lush green vegetation and palm 
trees.  The cultures of Malaysia, Asia, India and England join together in a 
tropical paradise where a version of English is the second language.  

There were 120 people from 27 countries at this event and English was the 
conference language.  The attendees were campaigners from all over the world 
concerned about the harmful discarding of waste in the environment.  We 
confirmed that we were against all incineration and landfill.  We were for 
well planned and well organized communities that are aiming for zero waste.  
I redefined in my mind the three R's to: Reduce; Redesign products and 
packages for reuse, repair and recycle and; Regulate and require producers of 
products and packages to take them back.

I spoke about recycling municipal discards. The workshop included examples of 
zero waste organizing in India, South Africa and the Philippines.  In another 
meeting we heard about wildlife around the world starving due to ingesting 
plastic carelessly discarded into the environment and mistaken for food.  
This is the beginning of a worldwide campaign.

During the middle of the conference the war on Iraq was begun and there were 
expressions of anger and tears.  We stopped and talked about what we were 
doing and what was important and all agreed to continue our work of planning 
for a world of zero waste communities.

In the end we were brothers and sisters together.  We were campaigners and 
resisters working for our children and our children's children.  In my 
opinion, we were working for the efficient use of energy, resources, and 
people and using economic principles that include trees, women and children 
and the true value of labor in the analysis.  I can see the petrochemical and 
waste industries as our opposition.  

Back home is San Diego and I sit on the citizens advisory committee to the 
local governments on integrated waste management.  At our March meeting I 
pushed zero waste as a goal for our Siting Element, which is under review.  
We agreed, after some discussion of the following recommendations: a 75% goal 
with an economic and social analysis as to what programs will get us there; 
no new landfills in the interim; ban organic materials from all local 
landfills; and enforce a uniform generator based recycling ordinance.  I was 
off to Naples Florida. 

Once again a government is making bad economic decisions.  In this case 
Collier County, FL is considering a waste to energy system without a waste 
characterization study.  Local organizers with state funding invited zero 
waste experts to a two-day community workshop. The result is a third party 
critique of the existing system, a zero waste plan, and an organization to 
work toward that plan.

I am now home in Southern California.  I plan to stay in this time zone for a 
while, and work on the CRRA Conference program for our annual conference.  
This year we will be at the Convention Center at the Airport in Ontario, CA, 
from July 20-23.  Our theme is "On The Road To Zero Waste, Choose To Recycle 
More." (  Let me know if you want to help.

Richard Anthony, resource conservation and recovery specialist, member of the 
Board of Directors of The Grassroots Recycling Network, The California 
Resource Recovery Association and Keep California Beautiful.  

Here are the conference links
<A HREF="";>CRRA 2003 Conference Sponsorship Information (pdf)</A> 
<A HREF="";>Attendee</A> 
<A HREF="";>Exhibitor Prospectus</A>(pdf) 

Richard Anthony Associates
3891 Kendall Street
San Diego CA 92109
858 272 2905 (P)
858 272 3709 (F)

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