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[GreenYes] Re: Ban on landfilling clothing proposed

This is an interesting note that John wrote. At first I thought the
figure that clothing comprises 8% of all decomposable waste in Norway
must be too high. Oregon's waste composition study shows that in 2002,
1.6% of our waste was textiles, and another 1.3% was "mixed
textile/material" which includes things such as shoes and belts as well
any anything else that combines textiles with some other material. Of
course not all textiles are clothing. We also include sheets, towels,
curtains, and other items made of cloth in that category. Disposable
diapers are in a separate category in our study. I don't know if you
would consider diapers to be clothing, but they made up another 2.1% of
Oregon's waste stream in 2002. The bulk of their weight was not the
textile component, but instead came from the liquids and solids
absorbed or contained within.

Then I noticed that the wording for Norway concerned clothing as a
portion of the "decomposable waste" - not the total waste. At least
50% of Oregon's waste is fairly easily compostable, but I did not
include textiles in this category since so many textiles are made from
synthetic fabrics. About 71% of Oregon's wastes include primarily
organic molecules, where "organic" is used with the organic chemistry
meaning of containing carbon. Thus, plastics and tires are in the
organic group even though neither is particularly compostable or
decomposable. If we take that maybe 60% of Oregon's waste is
decomposable, then textiles and mixed textiles together could be as
much as 5% of our decomposable waste, but not all of these textiles
would be truly decomposable, and some of the decomposable textiles are
not clothing. Disposal diapers (gross weight) would add another 3.5%
to our decomposable waste, though.

Peter Spendelow
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Reindl, John wrote:
> For your information
> A federal environmental agency in Norway has proposed banning the landfilling of clothing.
> Noting that people are buying increased quantities of clothes -- which are being discarded at higher rates than before -- the agency also notes that paradoxically, clothing made of natural fibers contribute more to the generation of methane gas in landfills than do articles made of synthetic fibers. The Norwegian Pollution Control Agency (SFT) is proposing that this ban go into effect in 2009 and is primarily based on the global climate change impact of methane that is released from landfills. According to an article in Norway's largest newspaper, clothing is estimated to comprise 8% of all decomposable waste landfilled in the country, and the ban on the disposal of clothing would be part of a larger ban on the disposal of other decomposables.
> John Reindl, Recycling Manager
> Dane County, WI

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