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[greenyes] RE: [CRRA] Comments on White Paper #4

Yes, I agree with Liz, especially about the first point. Lower garbage
rates are not allowing for enough economic incentive for providers to offer
separate food waste collection and marketing services, for instance.

Regarding the issue of waste prevention education, not sure this is best
done by haulers at this point. I think that we need a local
government/non-profit collaborative/possibly business leaders effort on this
one and it should be based on quantitative objectives. Will be talking a
little about this at the upcoming NRC presentation.

Rory Bakke

-----Original Message-----
From: Elizabeth A Citrino [mailto:lcitrino@no.address]
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 7:33 PM
To: gaia-members@no.address; zwia@no.address;
crra_members@no.address; greenyes@no.address; RicAnthony@no.address
Subject: [CRRA] Comments on White Paper #4

Two thoughts -

I would like to see this paper include two additional points -

The impact on properly priced disposal fees as a participation incentive in
reduction and recycling programs (could be included in the PAYT section, or
as a stand-alone); and

the importance of including waste prevention in an effective education
program, particularly in regard to business success.


Liz Citrino

----- Original Message -----
From: <RicAnthony@no.address>
To: <gaia-members@no.address>; <zwia@no.address>;
<crra_members@no.address>; <greenyes@no.address>
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 5:35 PM
Subject: [CRRA] White paper #4: Beyond 50% Waste Diversion thru Reuse,
Recycling& Composting

GRC is circulating portions of a White Paper for your review and comment
are being prepared for the International Dialog for Proper Discard
Management. GRC welcomes your suggestions before the event about how well
each portion
of the White Paper addresses the overall topic of the paper. Please reply
this listserve with comments to share with all and replace the subject with
"Comments on White Paper", or comment directly to me at Ricanthony@no.address,
cutting and pasting this document into WORD, and using the Tracking tool to
send suggested specific markups of this draft document that we should
in before distributing it on August 26, 2004. Please send your comments in
no later than Friday, noon PST, August 20, 2004.

Thanks for your input to developing a clear direction for the new Zero Waste

White Paper the Proper Management of Discards in the New Millennium
Fourth of a series of papers for discussion;

Beyond 50% Waste Diversion through Reuse, Recycling & Composting

By Brenda Platt
Institute for Local Self-Reliance


Recycling came of age in the 1990s. The number of curbside recycling
programs climbed to 9,300 and the national recycling rate approached 30%.
policies have spurred recycling around the country. Mandatory recycling
requirements, pay-as-you-throw trash fees, buy-recycled campaigns, minimum
recycled-content legislation, grant and loan programs, and recycling market
zones encouraged both the supply and demand for recyclable materials and

Private sector initiatives have been remarkable too. Many businesses
their waste and redesigned their products and packaging with materials
efficiency and cost cutting in mind. Some even adopted zero waste goals.
technology available to utilize recyclable materials has never been better.

Technological developments, citizen activism, and public policies have laid
the groundwork for a zero waste and sustainable future. Twenty years ago,
solid waste planners thought at most 25% of the waste stream could be
recycled. Today more than 100 communities report 50% and higher waste
levels.[1] A number of individual establishments -- public and private
sector --
such as office buildings, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and supermarkets
have approached 90% and higher levels.

Keys to residential program success include:
Targeting a wide range of materials,
Composting yard debris,
Designing programs for convenience,
Using pay-as-you-throw trash fees,
Requiring resident participation; and
State initiatives and policies.

Targeting a Wide Range of Materials

Accepting a wide range of materials is vital to reaching high waste
levels. Communities with high recycling levels recover 17 to 31 different
types of materials. Paper and yard trimmings are especially important.

Reusable items are also important to target. Durable goods, textiles, and
wooden pallets make up 23.3% of the municipal waste stream (nationally only
16.7% of the 53 million tons are recovered).[2] Reuse organizations such as
Materials for the Arts (New York City), LA Shares (Los Angeles), and Urban
(Berkeley) accept a wide range of reusable items from furniture and
electronics to
books and clothing. LA Shares has expanded from its warehouse operations
into web-based matching and is moving significantly more materials as a
A growing trend in many communities is "swap shops," where residents can
leave or take reusable items. And some vanguard communities, such as Saint
Minnesota, have added reusable household items to their curbside recycling

Composting Yard Debris

The number of composting facilities that process yard debris has grown from
under 1,000 in 1988 to over 3,800 today. Nationally, yard debris represents
12% of municipal discards. But, of course, it can account for much more of
community's residential discard stream, especially in communities with large
lawns and mature trees. Composting yard trimmings is an essential element
striving for zero waste. A study of 18 waste reduction record-setting
communities indicated that in 11 of these, composting yard trimmings
accounted for half
or more of all residential waste reduction. Composting levels alone ranged
from 17% to 43% of residential discards generated.[3] The best composting
programs target a wide range of yard trimmings and offer service year-round.

Designing Programs for Convenience

Residents are more likely to participate if set-out requirements are
uncomplicated and recyclables collection is frequent. Providing adequate
also improves convenience. Curbside as well as drop-off collection gives
residents more recycling options.

Using Pay-as-You-Throw Trash Fees

The U.S. EPA reports 4,032 communities charge pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) fees
for trash, in which residents pay by bag or can for the amount of trash they
out at the curb for pick-up. Such fees are a direct economic incentive to
reduce trash and recover as much as possible. These systems are not a
innovation; in fact, Richmond, California, implemented PAYT fees in 1912.[4]

Recent growth in programs, though, has been spurred by the success of PAYT
fees in encouraging recycling and waste reduction. Research indicates that
PAYT trash fees contribute to waste prevention and when combined with
curbside collection and drop-off programs for recyclables, the highest
recycling rates are achieved.[5]

Requiring Resident Participation

Local requirements and mandates encourage participation. Many, if not most,
of the recycling record-setters ILSR has documented have some type of local
ordinance requiring residents to source-separate or banning set-out of
designated materials with their trash. A study of more than three dozen
found that 14 of the 19 programs with recycling participation above 80% were
mandatory programs.[6]

State Initiatives and Policies

State policies in particular have been effective in increasing recycling
levels. Many of California's record-setters, for instance, began or
their programs in response to the state's 50% recycling goal.

Perhaps it is not surprising that the top waste reducing states --
California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York,
Washington, and Wisconsin -- rely on a mix of strategies. These states have
recycling goals ranging from 30% to 65% and have one or more of the
policies: mandatory recycling, landfill bans, public sector grants, tax
minimum-recycled content requirements, buy-recycled programs, and/or
container deposits.

State Recycling Goals and Requirements Have Helped Increase Recycling: At
least seven states have recycling goals that include requirements for local
governments to individually meet the state goals. These include California,
Jersey, and Wisconsin, states that are home to many community waste
record-setters. New Jersey's "Statewide Source Separation and Recycling Act"
mandated residents and commercial and institutional generators of municipal

solid waste recover materials for recycling. In 1986, the year before the
legislation passed, the state's municipal recycling rate was 12%. By 1991,
only five
years later, the rate had reached 39%.[7]

Disposal Bans Have Spurred Recycling: Some landfill bans, such as those
targeting batteries and mercury products, serve to keep hazardous materials
out of
landfills. Other bans on materials such as yard trimmings, paper, and
containers were designed to encourage recycling. Indeed, they have been
effective mechanisms. The 22 states with yard debris bans are home to 49%
of the
U.S. population and 74% of the country's yard trimmings composting sites.[8]

Creative Funding Mechanisms Have Boosted Recycling-Based Industries: By the
1990s, 37 states had developed special funding mechanisms such as tax
tax exemptions, loans, and grants.[9] Pennsylvania has awarded
$40 million in funds to companies and local government to expand recycling
markets and economic development opportunities. More than 100 Pennsylvania
companies now manufacture products with recycled content. New York's Empire
Development Environmental Management Investment Group has had similar
success. In California, the state's Recycled Market Development Zone
program has
made dozens of loans worth millions of dollars. As a result, hundreds of
have been created at businesses that recycle more than 2 million tons of

Minimum Recycled-Content Legislation, Requirements and Goals Have Helped
Build Markets for Recovered Materials: Minimum recycled-content
requirements, and goals have supported markets for recycled-content goods.
example, California's newsprint law requires that by January 2000, at least
of newsprint used by state printers and publishers have at least 40%
post-consumer paper content. In 2002, California's publishing and printing
reported using 921,257 metric tons of recycled newsprint. This surpassed the
's 2000 goal, accounting for 56% of total newsprint used.[10]

Beverage Container Deposits Have Been Highly Effective: Although many
beverage container deposit bills (popularly known as bottle bills) were
enacted to fight litter, the bills have also been a boon to recycling.
Recovery of beer and soda containers is higher in deposit bill states than
in the
rest of the country. In non-deposit states, approximately 38% of beer and
containers are recovered. In contrast, 78% are recovered in states where
containers have a refund value. Containers collected through deposit bill
systems account for between 5% and 15% of total municipal materials
recovered in
those states.[11]

Buy-Recycled Programs Have Increased Demand for Recycled Products: In 1986,
only 13 states and a handful of cities and counties had some sort of
buy-recycled policy on the books. Five years later, the other 37 states had
suit and more than 250 local jurisdictions had formal buy-recycled policies.
The U.S. EPA's federal guidelines for buying recycled products have been
critical to effective state and local buy-recycled programs. They have
other jurisdictions to readily implement the guidelines. They have provided
industry with a clear definition of products that are acceptable, and thus
helped increase production of recycled products that meet the standards.

A Word on Cost-Effectiveness

Many factors contribute to cost-effective programs. One key is treating
reduction as a primary waste management strategy, rather than as an add-on.
High diversion levels can reduce costs in two major ways: (1) by
reducing landfill or other disposal costs, and (2) by eliminating some trash
routes and their associated costs.


Readily available strategies and policies have already helped many
communities achieve 50% and higher waste diversion through reuse, recycling,
composting. Almost all the record-setting waste reduction communities the
for Local Self-Reliance has documented indicate they can do better. How?
Increasing participation, improving the recovery rate of materials already
collected, and targeting additional materials such as food discards and
items, to name a few.

[1] Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Waste Reduction Record-Setters
Project. For more information on this project see ILSR's web site at
[2] U.S. EPA, Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2001 Facts &
Figures, EPA530-R-03-011 (Washington, DC: October 2003), available at
[3] Brenda Platt and Kelly Lease, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Cutting
the Waste Stream in Half: Community Record-Setters Show How,
(Washington, DC: U.S. EPA, June 1999) p. 14, available in PDF format at
[4] U.S. EPA, Unit-Based Pricing in the United States: A Tally of
Communities (U.S. EPA PAYT Web page at
[5] Robin R. Jenkins, The Economics of Waste Reduction (Brookfield, Vermont:
Edward Elgar Publishing Company, 1993); and Marie Lynn Miranda, et. al., "
Market-Based Incentives and Residential Municipal Solid Waste," Journal of
Analysis and Management Vol. 13 (1994), pp. 681-698; and Lisa A. Skumatz,
Ph.D., Nationwide Diversion Rate Study: Quantitative Effects of Program
on Recycling and Green Waste Diversion (Los Angeles: Reason Foundation,
pp. 12-3.
[6] Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Composting Options: Lessons from 30
U.S. Communities, EPA530-R-92-015 (Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental
Agency, February 1994), p. 63.
[7] New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Solid
Database Trends Analysis (1985 through 1996), (New Jersey DEP Web page at
[8] United States Census Bureau, State Population Estimates and Demographic
Components of Population Change (Census Bureau Web page at; and Jim Glenn, "The State of Garbage in America,"
BioCycle (April 1999),
p. 64.
[9] National Recycling Coalition 1998 Market Development Directory: A Guide
to State and Regional Market Development Programs Version 3.0 (Alexandria,
Virginia: National Recycling Coalition, 1998).
[10] California Integrated Waste Management Board, Recycled-Content
Program (Public Resources Code Sections 42750-42791) (California Integrated
Waste Management Web page at; and California
Integrated Waste Management Board, January 29, 1998
News Release: Waste Board Fines Printing Service.
[11] Container Recycling Institute, The Ten-Cent Incentive to Recycle
(Arlington, VA: CRI, February 1997), p. 2; and Pat Franklin (Executive
Container Recycling Institute, Arlington, Virginia), personal communication,
August and November 1999.

August 26 - 27, 2004 - Global Recycling Council: International Dialog on
Proper Discard Management in the New Millennium, San Francisco, CA.
August 28, 2004 - GRRN Zero Waste Network Action Conference, Oakland , CA
August 29 - September 1, 2004 - NRC Congress & Expo, San Francisco Moscone
September 1 - 3, 2004 - Deconstruction & Building Materials Reuse
Conference, Oakland CA,
September 2, 2004 - National Recycling Market Development Roundtable,
Oakland, CA, Register online at:

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