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Re: [greenyes] Worthless Workshops in Sacramento

There's some important stuff here we need to deal with and it's probably a good idea to do so.

Our "industry" (recycling) has changed profoundly in a generation. It started out as small businesses ("scrappies") who were a fiercely independent lot who would have found the notion of "educational seminars" totally bizarre!

Then in the early 70s, enter the environmental organizations ("4 hippies and a truck" operations). They got into the business to save the world and some went on to become quasi-businesses and corporations (viz Jerry Powell in publishing, Canadian Derek Stephenson in consulting, Eco-Cycle in collection & processing)

Then in the 1990s, enter the government organizations -- municipal and county bureaucracies created to implement curbside recycling programs, not to mention the growing ranks of consultants who supply technical and professional expertise under contract.

With new budget allocations for recycling, enter the waste haulers (who are now competing against the "4 hippie and a truck" operators for contracts with the local waste authorities ...

With the threat of EPR on the horizon, enter the Brand-Owner Corporations (and their Environmental Affairs Departments and associations/lobby groups) who are now positioning themselves as patrons of recycling...

I am on the Board of an organization (Recycling Council of BC/RCBC) that defines its niche as being a "multi-stakeholder" group bringing all these different sectors of the recycling "industry" together. I have been involved with RCBC since the 80s and experienced much of the evolution, as well as sifting through the archaeological evidence of past phases.

I am not charged with designing the program for RCBC's annual conference -- and event that features "educational seminars" for all the different recycling sectors. I share ARMANTROUT's feeling sometimes, when I look at the fees we charge for the conference -- to speakers as well as to delegates.

The fact is, something has made "recycling education" a high-priced commodity that only bureaucracies and corporate PR departments can afford to participate in. Scrappies need not apply -- not to mention the small start-up business innovators that are not deeply capitalized, environmental activists who are not associated with big corporate organizations -- and now, we hear, even government bureaucrats whose departments are passed over.

What voices are missing at these "educational seminars" as a result?

What are y'all's thoughts about this?


At 10:14 AM 2/26/2004, Sharon_Gates@no.address wrote:

I have attempted to point out, in an unemotional and non-judgemental way,
that the CIWMB is making it difficult for a large portion of the
municipalities that they are chartered to serve to access their
educational offerings. California State agencies are supposed to serve
ALL of California, not just the areas close to the State capitol.

Sharon_Gates@no.address wrote:

In order to attend a workshop in Sacramento now, not only would I
have to pay for it entirely myself, but I would have to take vacation time

in order to go. To me, this seems unreasonable for something that is
directly related to doing my job. I believe my situation is fairly common
among government employees these days.


County bureaucrats will only go out to public events if they are paid
- not on their own time. Our highly paid county recycling coordinator is
currently spending her time on putting together a coloring book for
crissakes while much of our dropbox plastic is being landfilled!

I agree with C. William 100%:

C. William wrote:
Spending a day on the rear-end of
a garbage truck or a recycling vehicle will teach everyone more than 99%
of the overpriced workshops/seminars. Most of the big buck consultants
at the workshops/seminars have never spent a day collecting what they
profess to know all about.


All the stupid conferences and recycled content
pencils in the world are wasted taxpayer dollars and next week's landfill.
Try going out in your community and working on the issues first hand -
it's much more worthwhile.

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