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RE: [greenyes] Worthless Workshops in Sacramento

While I agree that recycling conferences can be high-priced (not all
are), and many require travel, it seems that most organizations have
stipends or reduced fees for volunteering. Sometimes other grants are
available from state sources or agencies (ex.: Calif. Dept. of
Conservation grants can be used to attend the upcoming CRRA conference).

Suggestion: copy the 1-day format of the Northern California Recycling
Association. "Recycle Update" is a regional meeting so travel is kept
to a minimum, the speakers get 10 minutes each, and all attendees stay
in the same auditorium. It happens every year and provides lots of info
for minimum cost (about $60, includes breakfast and lunch). It's also a
zero-waste event, so very little environmental cost as well.

Heidi Feldman
Public Education Coordinator
Monterey Regional Waste Management District
Tel.: 831/384-5313 FAX: 831/384-3567

-----Original Message-----
From: Helen Spiegelman [mailto:hspie@no.address]
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2004 10:59 AM
To: greenyes@no.address
Subject: Re: [greenyes] Worthless Workshops in Sacramento

There's some important stuff here we need to deal with and it's probably
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
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
some went on to become quasi-businesses and corporations (viz Jerry
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,
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
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
(and their Environmental Affairs Departments and associations/lobby
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
different sectors of the recycling "industry" together. I have been
involved with RCBC since the 80s and experienced much of the evolution,
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
the fees we charge for the conference -- to speakers as well as to

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

now, we hear, even government bureaucrats whose departments are passed

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
>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
>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
>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
>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
>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
>Try going out in your community and working on the issues first hand -
>it's much more worthwhile.

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