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RE: [greenyes] Composting vs. Landfillling

Along the same lines of justification....

I spent the Holiday week at my brother's house, in Austin, TX. He had some tough questions for I'm the family "recycling expert." He showed me the Recycling Requirements from his hauler.....the hauler does not collect glass, because "glass is made from silica, the most common element on the earth...the vast majority of serious MRF injuries are from degrades the value of all other recyclable commodities...and (my personal favorite)limited recycling resources should be spent on recycling non-renewable materials such as paper and metals."

Having "educated" my family vociferously in the past on the benefits of recycling all commodities, whether renewable or not, my brother wanted to know why the commodity that he has the MOST of (glass) is now a banned recyclable, and what the heck all those greenies are doing by calling paper a non-renewable resource? (I have to note that James Watt was one of my brother's heroes, several years ago). I was flummoxed, floored and befuddled (and it wasn't JUST because we were adding to his glass recyclables stream!).

I am appealing to more learned, or perhaps up-to-date, recyclers for answers for him. I admit that when I'm in Bakersfield, CA, I'm perplexed that in a state with a 50% recycling requirement, there is no curbside recycling, but I was able to justify that by the difficulty in getting recyclables to market, over the mountains. I realize that TX is an energy-generating state, so the typical reasons for glass recycling (energy efficiency) have less stroke...but I admit that the silica argument was a show-stopper. Perhaps in TX, where much of the state is arid, truly DOES consider paper to be non-renewable?

HELP, please! My family reputation is in tatters! I'd proudly told them about Minneapolis recycling successes in the past year....but now my family also doubts my professional expertise, since I'm not up on Progressive Recycling Thought!

Susan Young
Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling

-----Original Message-----
From: Aluotto, Jeff [mailto:Jeff.Aluotto@no.address]
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 7:26 AM
To: 'greenyes@no.address'
Subject: [greenyes] Composting vs. Landfillling

I know this has been a frequent topic of discussion on this list, but I was
hoping someone might have some information I could use. With bioreactor
landfills (or landfills that attempt to pass for them) becoming more
commonplace, I believe that those of us putting public money into yardwaste
and organics composting programs will come under increased pressure to
justify the reasons for doing so. The argument is typically posed as "Why
spend thousands of dollars on collecting and composting yardwaste and other
organics, when the stuff is useful as a means of producing energy from
landfills and biodegrades quite easily?".

Many organizations such as NRC have done a good job promoting the financial
and environmental benefits of recycling. Does anyone have any information
that does the same for composting? I know Peter has posted some good info
on the relative inefficiency of gas collection systems - but I was wondering
if anyone had any sort of life-cycle assessment on composting vs.



Jeffrey W. Aluotto
Hamilton County Solid Waste District
250 William Howard Taft
Cincinnati, OH 45219
513-946-7719 phone
513-946-7779 fax

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